Welcome to your MCI Wellbeing Blog for August!
This month we are talking about self-care.
Self-care doesn’t have to be sitting on the beach in Hawaii with a face mask on, waiting for your massage at 3pm. Real self-care is about taking actions for your personal growth and development. Whilst there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ to self-care, the common thread for all self-care efforts is that it involves a commitment to one’s well-being.
Here are 4 ways to exercise real self-care:
- · Self-care means setting boundaries and being able to say ‘no’. Be accepting of who you are. It is important to recognise your limits and know how much you can take on before your ‘resilience balloon’ pops.
· Self-care means taking care of your body. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you feeding yourself with nutrient-dense food and keeping hydrated throughout the day? You are in control of your life. Self-care means integrating health into your daily routine to help you feel more energised.
· Self-care means having alone time. Whether it be going for a walk, going to the gym, or enjoying a book with a hot cup of tea, engaging in alone time without technology (for even 20 minutes a day) can help you to calm your mind and re-focus.
· Self-care means giving thought to a challenging work situation. Have a think about what you can do to make your work life a little less stressful. Are you working unsustainable hours? Are you taking sufficient breaks? It might be worth approaching your employer/supervisor to discuss ways to make your work-life more enjoyable.
Ways to reduce stress
Stress is a natural response by a human when faced with challenging situations. Stress can be a positive influence and can motivate us to get things done. Symptoms of stress can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behaviour. Being able to recognise common stress symptoms can help you manage them.
Here are 5 ways to reduce stress:
- 1. Exercise
Exercise prompts your body to release feel good hormone like endorphins which can help you feel less stressed. It does not have to be a full workout, walking around the block or go for a run or a 10-minute yoga flow on you tube. (Link)
- 2. Breathe
Stress can affect how you breathe. Taking a few deep breaths can help you slow your breathing and heart rate, relax your muscle, and calm your mind.
- 3. Mediate
If you haven’t tried mindfulness, meditation or relaxation exercises yet, there’s no better time to start. Scientifically proven to help decrease and manage stress, and promote mental wellbeing, these tools are useful for when you’re experiencing stress and as prevention tools in times when you’re feeling well.
Try this out: Imagery
Find a quiet place where you know you will not be disturbed. Now either sit or lie down and take a few very long deep breaths. Inhale on the count of 3 and exhale on the count of 5. Repeat this about 5 times.
Now imagine that you are lying on a white sandy beach and the sun is just setting. There is a warm breeze. The sun’s setting rays fill you with a lightness of spirit and the entire beach is a beautiful orange. You can hear the waves in the background. You close your eyes and listen to the waves and the lapping of the waves. It is so soothing. There is no one else around just you and the beach. There are some sea gulls flying around and this makes you smile. You are feeling completely at peace with yourself. For this moment all is beautiful in your world. You feel a love for yourself and everything around you. You stay in this moment for a few minutes listening to the sea gulls, the waves, and the smell of the sea and the warmth of the sun on your skin.
Stress can kick in when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks that need to be done or deadlines that must be met. Writing a to-do list or time management strategy can help you focus on seeing each task through to completion.
Ways to practise self-care
Some tips for self-care include:
· Eating healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly.
· See friends to build your sense of belonging. Consider joining a support group to make new friends.
· Try to do something you enjoy every day. That might mean dancing, watching a favorite TV show, working in the garden, painting or reading.
· Find ways to relax, like meditation, yoga, getting a massage, taking a bath or walking around the corner.
Self-care ideas in lockdown
Declutter your space
Tidy space, tidy mind! Lockdown is a perfect time to clear out your closet and get rid of that shirt you haven’t worn in years. Declutter your home and give yourself more space to relax.
Cook something new
Pull out a cookbook and make something you haven’t cooked before.
Learn a new skill
Always wanted to pick up a skill but never had the time. Lockdown is the perfect opportunity! Whether it’s learning how to sew or learning a new instrument.
Breathe in, breathe out…. Meditation is a really great way to relax physically and mentally. Take a few minutes out of your day to sit in a quiet place, clear your mind and practice mindfulness. Jump onto headspace for great resources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1Ndym-IsQg
Find a quick yoga and stretch routine each day:
Find a quick breathwork pattern to follow to calm the nervous system:
Daily self-care checklist
Tips of self-care from the mentors:
Switching off and binging a couple of episodes of a good show, guided meditation on headspace or youtube, pilates workouts, painting, playing with Bella, reading a book.
Talking with a loved one, Virtual games nights and catch ups with friends.
Pilates, Reading, Walks to the beach (especially at sunrise with my daughter). Family time. Alone time.
Morning walks, sleep-ins and coffee in bed on the weekends. Phone calls with loved ones. Putting my phone on 'Do Not Disturb' at bedtime. Cooking. Reading. Listening to music that reflects my mood. Watching old comfort TV shows. Doing a facemask with a wine.
I go for long walks and either talk to friends/family or listen to audio books.
I set aside 1-3 hours on a Saturday morning as me-time where I don't have to do anything.
I watch movies while doing the washing up.
I limit my time on social media to a few hours once a week.
I practice being kind to myself.
Spending time in nature, reading, listening to music, watching favourite TV shows and at the moment because there is no dining out having favourite meals delivered.
I play with fury friend Gregory and spoil him with Chinese made toys (Kitty cat)
Saying NO :)
Exercising my body each day
Breathwork to calm my nervous system
Disconnecting from technology when I can
Clean the house
Talk to loved ones, especially ones who are going through a tough time. I love taking my headphones on a sunset walk and making calls to those I love.
Spending time with my son, playing in the park and going for walks. During the lockdown I have also spend sometime cleaning out my cupboard and reorganising.
Need assistance as a student at MCI?
Do you require assistance with your studies at MCI? Do you need a role play partner? Be reminded, to please reach out to your mentor. Finally, you always have the option and are encouraged to interact with other students by joining the MCI Student Facebook page.
If you would like to talk to a MCI Wellbeing officer, please click below:
All the best!
The Team at MCI