Little Ways To Help Improve General Wellbeing

I've never been good at putting myself first. For years, my Dad has responded to my actions of putting others first with "don't be a martyr, Soph", and Stewart has even devised a 'Martyr Points' system within our relationship. For example, I'll get 5 Martyr Points for letting him have that chocolate bar I've been desperately eyeing up all day because I know it will make him happy. We turn it into a running joke, but in reality, these small ways of putting others before yourself (whilst seemingly insignificant) can often leave you feeling quite deprived- especially if there isn't really anyone to give back to you.

I kind of had an epiphany last year when I quit a job that was making me ill- the first significant time in recent years that I've gone 'fuck it, I'm doing this solely for me'. I wrote a post about my musings (which you can read here), but since then I have been making a conscious effort to give back to myself, be kind to myself in whatever small ways I can, and try (where possible) to put myself and my own wellbeing first. Although I've still got very far to go and it's definitely 'work in progress', I've been reflecting recently on the small, everyday ways I've been trying to look after myself and my mind and thought I'd share in case it might help someone out there!

1. Listen to your body

This one is almost going back to basics. Your body (and mind) definitely give you signs and signals to slow down, and it's so important to listen to what you need. If ignored, you could end up damaging yourself (with both physical and mental symptoms arising). A small way I've started doing this is with taking time out after work. Beforehand, I would push myself to go to the gym after work around 5 days a week- even if I was exhausted, I would drag my butt to go and do a workout. Sure, they say you never regret doing a workout and exercise does make you feel good, but I realised that I needed to pay attention to what I really wanted. Now, if I get in and think that I just need an evening to slob out, I will ditch the gym and do this. Time out is vital to help your mind and body re-charge.

2. Learning to say 'no'

Blue may have sang that 'sorry' is the hardest word to utter, but for me, it's 'no'! Whether it's a classic case of FOMO regarding a social situation, or a friend that really wants a favour from you that you just don't have the energy for, I just feel far too guilty saying no to people. I take on extra work, go out of my way to try and help out, and generally accept things that leave me thinking 'why the hell did I say 'yes', I don't have the time for this!'. Sometimes, my mental health just isn't up to scratch, and I'm slowly learning that it is 100% OK to be honest with yourself and reject someone if you need to. If it's the night out with friends that gives you pangs of dread because you just can't face leaving the house, it's fine to say no and stay in with Netflix and a share bag of chocolates. People understand and, sometimes, it's just necessary. Forcing yourself to do something you don't want to isn't being kind to yourself!

3. Keep friends and family close

I've always been incredibly close to my immediate family, but it's very difficult to visit regularly when everyone lives away. I have found that keeping in touch with loved ones is so vital to how I feel- they are my main support group and without them I start to feel a bit lost and alone. There's nothing like a shopping trip with your Mum or a catch up over a cuppa with your Nan, and whilst it's difficult to do this when you live up to 2 hours away and have hectic weekends anyway, I have vowed to try and visit as much as I can. Even a text or a phone call makes me instantly feel better after a crap day, and keeping in touch and knowing that they are there is a huge help to my general wellbeing.

4. Take time out for yourself

Time is something that we never seem to have much of. You wake up, go to work, come home, exercise, prepare meals, do chores and before you know it, you're in bed ready to start the whole cycle again the next day. Much like the point about listening to what your body needs, taking some time to just focus on yourself is one of the best things you can do for wellbeing. Even if it's just for 30 minutes! I know a lot of people enjoy practising mindfullness to help with this, however, for me, it's having the opportunity to catch up with the latest episode of Silent Witness or run myself a bath filled with Lush goodies. Scent is also really important to me during my 'down time'; candles and room sprays instantly help me feel more relaxed. As soon as I light a candle, that's my indication that relaxation time is starting! It's putting yourself into a little bubble that says 'this is my time to myself'; I have found this the best way (and easiest to integrate day-to-day) to improve wellbeing and ease the day's anxieties.

5. Treat Yourself!

Much like taking some time out for you, in the past few months I've learnt that not being so harsh on yourself and knowing that it's OK to spend some money on a treat for you. I have been scrimping and saving every last penny to try and put towards a house deposit (not easy with Brighton rent...the main reason we so desperately want to come out of rental property!). Any dollar going spare at the end of the month goes straight into my savings- it's automatic and I just never thought about perhaps, just perhaps, rewarding myself with my hard earned cash. Although watching your savings grow is a fab feeling, sometimes you just need a bit of retail therapy to lift your mood. Small gifts to yourself like a bargain find in the sale, picking up a nail varnish from a new beauty launch, or even going out for lunch with a friend can put a smile on your face, and is a little way you can start to be kinder to yourself. It's important to recognise your hard work, stop and congratulate yourself once in a while and treat yourself to something you deserve.

The products featured in the photos are a lavender candle from Pure (M&S), the Wanderlust candle and lavender room spray from Crabtree & Evelyn, and the Rituals 'The Ritual of Ayurveda' bed and body mist (all fab for relaxation!).

Are there any little things you do to improve wellbeing that you would add to the list? 

Pretty and Polished

This post features press samples, however all opinions are my own. 


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