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#SelfcareSundays: Making time for yourself

15 Nov 2015

Welcome to #SelfcareSundays: a space at gal-dem promoting love, positivity and good vibes. Yero talks about the importance of self-care and looking after number one through practising mindfulness for our first segment of weekly self-care techniques.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way a medical practitioner with any psychology qualifications – just an extremely busy gal who gets anxious and needs a (public) weekly reminder to make time for myself.

My favourite days are those when I’m walking downstairs for the first time, it’s 6pm and the door is still locked. And I don’t feel guilty about not feeling guilty about this because I don’t have anywhere to go, or anywhere to be. I just have myself to think about. However, these are also some of my trickiest days. We live in a society where we’re constantly on the go, we’re always anticipating our next step and we’re never in the present. We sleep with our smartphones right next to our heads for an alarm to wake us up the next morning and get on that daily grind. So how do we switch off when we have some downtime?

The weekdays are exhausting, whether it’s through physical or emotional exertion, trying to tackle interning with university and still having a social life or even just…being. We can end up feeling anxious and lonely. This is why we need to look after ourselves, to give ourselves respite to recharge and feel rejuvenated for the week ahead. ‘Mindfulness’ means being aware of oneself, acknowledging surroundings, thoughts and feelings and being in the moment, and is promoted by the NHS to improve mental wellbeing.

A great technique for practising mindfulness is through mindful meditation, which means being aware of one’s stream of consciousness (Tara Brach has some excellent free podcasts if this is of interest to you). If you want to introduce mindful meditation in to your routine, you can also download various meditation apps for iPhone and Android such as ‘Omvana’ giving you instant access to meditation guidance.

To be able to reach out and help other people, you need to be whole in your self. If you feel like you need some alone time, do not feel guilty. Whether that means heading to the gym or tuning out and spending some hours binge-watching Netflix (by the way, I suggest Aziz Ansari’s ‘Master of None’) – and it’s OK to do both.

Social media and new technologies have amazing advantages, such as keeping us up-to-date on current affairs. However, there is a downside to them as we can suffer from information overload, unattainable goals based on comparing ourselves to other people’s online persona, thus thwarting our downtime and losing a significant amount of time to focus on ourselves. It can be therapeutic to log off and silence the pings.

Sometimes the people around us don’t have the time to look after us, so who else is gonna do it for us? That is most definitely a thought we must keep in mind.