Self-care: balancing mental & physical stress

Part 2 of my 2-part “balance” series

So last week I focused on how to strike the right balance between work, sport and social life in the first post of my “balance” series entitled “Hitting the ground running”. If you haven’t already checked it out, then I recommend having a browse before or after reading this one because they lead nicely on from one another (and it’s also a 2-part series, so it wouldn’t make sense not to  😉)

Today however, the main aim of this post is to highlight the importance of self-care,  especially during the busy back-to-school/ work period, and how to incorporate it into your daily life. I already wrote a post about How to manage stress a while back, therefore I’m going to try and not repeat myself, but it’s an incredibly relevant topic and there will inevitably be some overlap #sorry.

whilst running is great and I love it, its good to find both mentally and physically relaxing forms of self-care

What do I mean by “self-care”?

I think that there’s a small stigma surrounding the term, because many people associate it with weakness, idleness or attention-seeking, however it really is crucial for anyone’s mental and physical well-being because it basically prevents the body from breaking-down under the constant strain of everyday-life. Self-care is really just that, taking care of and prioritising yourself during that essential “me-time” that you should take out for yourself on a daily basis. It entails pausing your busy schedule for a brief – but unrushed – amount of time and checking in with your body, whilst not distracting yourself with any outside worries. Being in the moment, relaxing and concentrating on yourself for once.

as you all know, I love a good infographic 😉

How can you benefit from it?

I was talking with a friend last week about our summers, and how we’d really noticed the strain of not having any alone-time for extended periods and how it had made us snappier, moodier and more irritable. You may have noticed it yourself when on holiday with a close friend who you never argue with, but towards the end of that week feeling somewhat claustrophobic and tense. This is completely normal, and very few people can survive long stretches of constant company (by this I mean doing almost everything together), because of the simple fact that as humans we need to be alone sometimes. Taking the time out to solely focus on yourself, even if it’s only 15 minutes, can make all the difference for your mental health.

I also want to emphasise the fact that although running and other sports are great ways of relieving mental stress, they significantly increase the physical strain you put on your body which contributes to overall stress-levels, which is why it’s important to balance the mental and physical stress you put on your body by incorporating various forms of self-care into your routine.

sorry for the lack of my own images, but its quite hard to show self-care through photos plus I quite like this)

Ways to incorporate it into your daily routine

When you’re not on holiday, it can be pretty difficult to get those crucial minutes of you-time in, but I want to highlight a few ways aside from the stereotypical (but effective!) meditation:

  • Mindfulness/ other form of meditation (starting with the obvious)
  • Yoga, or any other low-intensity exercise that won’t add too much physical stress
  • Walking
  • Colouring-in (trust me on this one, it’s so therapeutic)
  • Reading something for pleasure
  • Art
  • Listening to/ practising music
  • SLEEPING (this is definitely my favourite form of mental & physical relaxation 😂)

… and many more! For me, 30-minutes of me-time spent reading a good book is probably one of my favourite ways to wind down and forget about any outside-stresses in my life. Whilst some people don’t enjoy their own company, it’s a life-skill in my opinion to have the self-discipline to incorporate self-care into your daily life, and there’s a big difference between being alone an being lonely.

and finally…

In this day and age, it can be easy to disregard your own problems because rather than stressing about where your next meal is coming from, you’re worrying about a work deadline or your university application (aka me right now). We can be made to feel like our issues are inadequate, but the truth is all problems, no matter how big or small, need to be addressed and dealt with, and this can be made so much easier if you incorporate a self-care regime into your life.

I hope you’ve found this post useful, and if you do manage to implement any of these tips then please let me know how it goes!

Have a great week,

Emma ♥♥

4 thoughts on “Self-care: balancing mental & physical stress

  1. Linda says:

    I’ve absolutely loved your two part series!
    Definitely can’t agree enough with how important self-care is, even though I often struggle with realising when I need a break..I tend to want to get all work done right away because knowing I still have work to do stresses me out so much and I can’t relax before I’ve finished everything..
    I also really agree with having to be alone sometimes, being around people can get so stressful at times!
    Reading and colouring in are definitely great ways to wind down ! The thing I do most though has to be listening to music, mostly on my way to/from school – it’s perfect, because it combines music as well as being outside, at least for part of the way 🙂

    • Fruits and Routes says:

      I’m so glad you liked it and thanks for your lovely comment, Linda! I find listening to music so soothing too, but I haven’t in a while so need to start again 🙂

  2. Hannah says:

    I’m a bit late reading this, but I’m honoured that our conversation helped inspire you to make this post because it’s so important and I forget to take time for myself wayy too often✨✨ Love this xxx

    • Fruits and Routes says:

      Aw love you Han – our convo was so good for me too because often I forget how much talking helps 💖💖

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