by The Mind Faculty
In this "hustle" culture, we are taught not to prioritise ourselves. We ignore our body when we are tired, forcing ourselves to work harder to buy things we can't afford to impress people we don't even know. Many of us have forgotten the importance of self-care.
Self-care is about creating time for ourselves to check in with how our body feels and doing something that honours our well-being. If we do not make time to touch base with ourselves, we can experience burn out or feel lost as we become disconnected from our emotions and the things that bring us joy.
It is important to incorporate self-care rituals that bring us home to ourselves. These are rituals that are easy to incorporate into your day because self-care should not translate into additional stress. You may face some resistance from your ego ("it's only a few minutes, what good is it going to do?") because the ego craves what is familiar. However, it's important to show up anyways.
Here are our favourite self-care routines you can do today:
10 Deep Belly Breaths
Most of us breathe from our chest. These shallow chest breaths are characteristic of someone in their fight of flight response. We can use deep belly breaths to switch off our fight or flight response and switch on our rest and digest system.
This is because belly breathing activates our vagus nerve - the bundle of nerves that run from our gut to our heart to our brains. The vagus nerve listens to the way we breathe and send a message to our brain and heart, reducing our blood pressure and dropping our heart rate.
If you are new to deep belly breathing, you can start by placing your hands on your stomach. Inhale until your stomach pushes against your hands. Inhale for a count of 3, hold for a count for 4 and exhale for a count of 5.
Set a reminder for yourself throughout the day to take a breath break. This is great for those who suffer from anxiety.
Stretch for 5 minutes
Sitting in a chair all day is akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes. Take some time to stretch at your desk and allow your blood to circulate throughout your body. It keeps your muscles strong, flexible and healthy, reducing our risk of injury. It also helps you to switch your focus to your breath and your body, giving you respite from your day.
Sit in the sun for 15 minutes
Many of us don't receive enough Vitamin D. Unlike its name suggests, Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is crucial for most of the systems in our body. A lack of Vitamin D has been linked to depression, anxiety and a whole host of mental health challenges.
Spend your next lunch break basking in the sun. Even better, organise a hike with your friends this weekend.
List down 5 things you are grateful for
The grass is always greener where we water it. Every day, write down a list of the 5 things you are grateful for. When we acknowledge the good things in our life, it can enhance our mood, make us more empathetic towards others and even strengthen our immune system. As we get into the habit of being grateful, we are rewiring our brain to become happier, creating a lasting positive change within ourselves.
Drink a glass of water upon waking up
Sometimes, we need to start small. Leave a glass of water on your bedside table and drink upon waking up. This helps to rehydrate your body after 6-8 hours of sleep, and fires up your metabolism for the day. It is an easy to accomplish step that can help you to set up the building block of your self-care practice.
The Mind Faculty is a mental health therapy clinic in Kuala Lumpur. We offer psychiatric, psychological and counselling services. Whether you are struggling with a mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety, or you are simply looking at improving your mental well-being, we tailor our services to suit your individual needs.