Today we’re talking self-care. Are you still with us? The term ‘self-care’ can sometimes turn people off. It can conjure up images of meditation, self-help groups or self-indulgence, but, when we refer to it as ‘taking care of yourself’ it all seems a bit more ‘normal’. And that is exactly what we are talking about – looking after yourself (or practicing self-care) by doing things that preserve or improve your physical or mental health. This will be different for everyone and here we take a look at a range of ideas that can help make you feel happy and healthy! Now what’s not to love about that?
Take Some Time For Yourself
If you lead a busy life and are in demand from work colleagues, family members and friends, it’s important to make some time for yourself. This in itself can be challenging – we often lead overscheduled lives and even when you get a few moments to yourself, mobile devices tend to mean we are contactable no matter what.
If possible, try and free up some time in your schedule where you don’t have a task to do or someone else to look after. Start small and see what happens – even 15 minutes out of your day to do something that makes you happy can make a huge difference to your mind-set. You might choose to make a cup of tea and read a book, curl up in front of the TV or go for a brisk walk or relaxing stroll.
At this time of year we can find ourselves rushing from our homes, to our cars, to our offices and barely spending any time outside. When it is cold and wet outside it’s not always very inviting, but studies have shown that being outside in nature can lift our mood and help us feel calm and better able to concentrate. We love our beaches and our countryside, and it is what inspired us to create our delicious teas – they taste as good as the Dorset sunshine and countryside make you feel!
Here in Dorset we are lucky enough to have 100 miles of coastline and being near the sea is something that has long been associated with health and well-being. Time and time again we meet people who tell us that they just need to step foot on the beach and they feel instantly calmer and happier! It may be the rhythmic sound of the crashing waves, or the seagulls soaring overhead. It may also be that coastal air is charged with healthy negative ions. Research suggests this improves our ability to absorb oxygen and may make us feel more alert! There’s a lovely article on Sainsbury’s magazine all about the benefits of sea air!
One of the biggest trends we have seen locally in the last couple of years is cold water swimming. Even in the chilly winter months there are groups of hardy sea swimmers heading to the shore and wading into the bracing water. Some wear wetsuits, others just cossies and trunks. There are numerous health benefits being recorded by cold water swimmers, but the one we love most is the natural high you get! It activates endorphins and makes us feel good!
If you fancy giving it a go, then check out the Bluetits Chill Swimmers! They’re a social swim community with flocks all over the country (and further afield) and here in Dorset there are several local groups meeting all along the coast from Milford-On-Sea to Lyme Regis. Not only will you get to experience the feel-good factor of an icy sea dip, but you’ll be also soaking up those negative ions and meeting other ocean-lovers who might even become life-long friends! Now that ticks a lot of ‘self care’ boxes! We wrote a blog post al about wild swimming last year – check it out for some top tips and don’t forget to pack a flask with you favorite Dorset Tea to help you warm up afterwards!
We often talk about exercise in relation to physical fitness but according to Mayo Clinic, ‘regular exercise can help to increase self-confidence, improve your mood and help you to relax’. One of the things we love is their comparison to exercise and meditation. Stick with us here. A fast-paced bout of exercise can lead you to forget about any irritation as you focus on your physical movement instead. And as you shed your daily tensions by getting active, ‘you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you stay calm, clear and focused in everything you do’.
What is key is finding ways to get active that you love. Whether it’s a swim at your local pool (or the sea), a long beach walk or a run around your local neighbourhood, make sure it’s something you enjoy.
We love the range of dance classes available at Bournemouth’s Pavilion. Whether you are looking for something classic – think tap, jazz and ballet, or up for trying something new and fun like belly-dancing, urban street or Latin fusion, they really do have something for everyone! Not only will you be getting a great load of exercise, you’ll be learning something new and meeting new people!
And if you do head to the pavilion and are in need of refreshment after your exertions then why not take a 5-minute stroll to Urban Garden. Tucked away in Bournemouth gardens, this laid-back bar and restaurant has lots of space indoors and out. Surrounded by plants and foliage it’s a unique place to enjoy a bite to eat and a lovely cup of Dorset Tea!
Try Something New
Learning something new can leave you with a real sense of achievement which can be great for your self-esteem. But we’re not talking high level qualifications or committing to yearlong courses (unless you want to of course). We love the term ‘micromastery’ which basically means focusing on a mini-skill.
And if you are short on ideas then we bet we can find something that you haven’t done before – studying seaweed! Our charity partner, the Marine Conservation Society needs your help! They are running a joint project with the natural history museum to study and record seaweed species, which allows them to monitor the impact of climate change. Volunteers are being asked to choose a 5m section of coastline to survey and complete the results online. You can read more about the Big Seaweed Search here.