How to practise self-care effectively

After over a hundred days of the most recent lockdown restrictions, we now get a taste of what it will be like once the Level 5 limits are lifted. For certain people, the reduced constraints will be enough to accommodate their mental and emotional needs for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, these eased restrictions alone are not enough to alleviate the effects the pandemic has had on the lives of some people.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t feel alone: many people are in the same boat. Don’t let yourself fall by the wayside. Taking good care of yourself is critical to the success of your mind’s recovery, and practising self-care is a perfect way to do so. Self-care is described as the daily habits that help you care for and nurture your health and well-being.

Practising self-care is difficult enough at the best of times, with most of us getting too stressed or burdened by our demanding lives to have time for ourselves. Throw in a global pandemic and it’s easy to see why some people are now finding themselves at their wit’s end. Plus, it’s not enough to eat the best foods and spend half your life in the gym to be truly well. Emotional, physical, and social well-being are all essential components for your body’s overall well-being.

Setting Self-Care Goals

Participating in self-care recovery can appear overwhelming and insurmountable at times, but writing down some of your core priorities and goals can help you overcome these emotions. These goals can be short-term and easy to achieve, or you can start thinking about more significant, longer-term goals that you want to reach eventually. It’s helpful to break them down into gradual steps that you can follow over a period of time, be it weekly or monthly. 

Remember to constantly compliment yourself on your accomplishments; attaining goals, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can become a representation of your hopes when first beginning this journey. And do consider “How do you eat an elephant? Just one bite at a time!”.

Once you’ve set some self-care aims for yourself, you’ll need to plan out what you’ll need to do to achieve them successfully. Be specific on why you set these targets and how they will affect your life after reaching them. Your goals will change over time, so remember not to be too strict on yourself if things don’t immediately go to plan.


Social Self-Care

Your desire to sustain close relationships in your life has a significant impact on your mental health, so one of the most challenging aspects of the pandemic is that certain people’s emotional self-care really necessitates social interaction with friends and family. Investing time and resources into developing and maintaining close relationships with others is the easiest way to sustain these relationships, so when your day-to-day life gets hectic, it’s difficult to find time for friends, and it’s easy to ignore your relationships.

There is no specific amount of time you can spend with your friends or working on your relationships. Everyone’s social needs are a bit different. The trick is to find out your social needs and make sure you have enough flexibility in your day to meet them.


A proper night-time routine

Sleep has a significant impact on how you feel mentally and physically. Not getting enough sleep will lead to serious health problems. However, stress and other distractions will disrupt your sleep. What steps do you take to incorporate rest into your self-care routine? Begin by considering your night-time schedule. Are you often eating or drinking something right before going to bed? If this is the case, it’s vital to avoid anything with sugar or any other substance that’ll keep your body awake.

Stress reduction should also become an essential part of your sleep routine. If you’re dealing with work-related or day-to-day stress, consider how you can unwind after a long day or relax more on the job; do you like to read? Or maybe take some late-night strolls? Find out what makes you feel relaxed and put it to good use. After that, ensure your bedroom is as comfortable as possible for you to sleep in;  distractions such as a TV, laptop, or smartphone should be avoided. Cutting out devices an hour before sleep also helps your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Andrew Huberman’s podcast on sleep and the mind was a great help for me in resetting my sleep schedule.


Organisation is key

Getting organised is often the first step toward being a healthier version of yourself, and it helps you determine just what you need to do to improve your wellbeing. A simple adjustment, such as putting a diary or schedule on your phone, will help you keep track of all your responsibilities and commitments while keeping your life more coordinated. You should also designate a spot to store keys, purses, bags, and jackets, so there’s no flustered search when you’re getting ready for the day. If you are working remotely and find it difficult to get out of your pyjamas during the day, prepare your clothes the night before so it feels like less of a daunting task come morning time.


Finding spare time can be difficult for all of us. It is, however, essential to schedule daily self-care time. Moments of solitude will make you think about the right ways to go on with your life while still keeping you focused. Friendships will also make you feel more connected and comfortable. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for overcoming lockdown fog, but the more self-care time you can fit into your schedule, the more you’ll be able to appreciate, expand, and succeed in your life.

Sean Barrett
Sean Barrett

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