It’s been said by someone much wiser than us that our first and last love is self-love.
And with World Health Day coming up, we can’t think of a more appropriate phrase that’ll put you in the right mood to take care of yourself, stay healthy and celebrate 7 April with pride.
It can be incredibly easy to neglect self-love, as we focus on other areas of life – such as work, study and relationships. Quite often, keeping ourselves fit and healthy (mentally, physically and emotionally) comes right at the bottom of our priority list – leaving us feeling tired and drained.
So, to celebrate World Health Day, we’ve collected some tips that’ll help you to take care of yourself both physically and mentally, put a stop to the bad habits and stay on top of the things we all have to deal with sometimes.
We all read inspirational posts about world leaders and tech gurus just catching a few hours of sleep a night, and still thriving. But this simply isn’t realistic for 99% of people – the body absolutely needs its eight hours of sleep.
If it doesn’t get enough, then it won’t be able to rest up and recharge. The same goes for your brain; sleep allows the brain to store and process memory. So, not only will you be in a foul mood, you won’t be able to remember anything from the previous day’s lectures, either.
Plenty of sleep means you’ll be less tired throughout the day too, which will help you concentrate on the things that matter. If you’re staying in for the night, be sure to plan an evening routine that can help you wind down and wake up refreshed the next day. Swap bright lights for more neutral lamps, switch off your phone, do a bit of calming yoga. Whatever makes you comfortable really; it’s all about staying consistent with the good habits.
If you’re the kind of person who needs a little help getting to sleep, Pzizz is a great app – creating ‘dreamscapes’ to gently lull you off to sleep.
For many people, the last thing they want to do after a long, tiring day is spend hours in the kitchen preparing their dinner as well as lunches for the coming days. However, the alternative of ready meals or takeaways is likely taking its toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. By cooking fresh, balanced meals – you will be feeding your body exactly what it needs to thrive.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of lean protein like chicken, turkey, tofu and beans; lots of leafy greens like kale and spinach, and some whole grains to pair them all with. This will give you and your body plenty of feel-good nourishment and energy to fuel you through the day. It might be tempting to go for sugary, calorie-heavy snacks, but a proper diet will help out both your metabolism and mood.
And delicious food doesn’t need to take hours and hours of preparation. The BBC Good Food site has a great selection of recipes which can be readied in under 20 minutes.
Likewise, make sure you’re getting plenty of water, too. Keeping yourself hydrated is important and will also help to cut down on your caffeine intake which, in times when you’re stressed out as it is, can spike feelings of anxiety and worry if you’re prone to such feelings. When you have exams, lectures and presentations to deal with, the last thing you want is the jitters. Also, if you’re on a night out, alternate your alcoholic drinks with H2O: your head will thank you in the morning.
Amongst the coursework, social events and lectures, you’re left with little time to yourself. Don’t forget to pencil in some space in your schedule to devote to you. When you have nothing to do, fill it with something that you find fun or relaxing. Whether it’s reading a novel, doing some painting or listening to music, dedicating some time to yourself is a self-care essential. You’ll appreciate the solitude and prove you’re self-sufficient when it comes to free time. Enjoying your own company might take some time to get used to, but it can be super rewarding to invest in some ‘me time’ when your schedule allows it.
Why not head to a spa? Take a break from your normal life and get properly pampered with a relaxing massage or a face-mask. Treating yourself is underrated; getting into the habit of little rewards like this is hugely beneficial to your self-esteem and puts your mind at ease, so it’s well worth setting the time aside for it. SpaFinder is a great little site to help you find local spas where you can enjoy some ‘me time’.
If you’re stressed out or feeling down, then a messy environment could be having a negative effect on your psychological health. How many times have you been in a bad mood that’s only made worse by the stack of dirty plates and the piles of clothes cluttering up your room? We know it’s boring, but making a habit of keeping your living space clean and tidy is a simple yet highly effective piece of self-care.
If you’re feeling low, it might be difficult to bring yourself to tidy up. Focus on one area first if it feels like too much effort to clean your entire room. It’s productive and gives you a much nicer environment to relax in. A clutter-free living space is a positive start to a more positive, healthier you.
If you need a little inspiration to start cleaning, the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is the perfect place to start. It’s also a strangely relaxing show to watch, helping you wind down after a busy day.
When we’re living a million miles per hour, it can be difficult to stop, reflect and relax. Thoughts about school and work deadlines, upcoming presentations and our career progression can cause us to fret, often unnecessarily. Meditation lets us focus attention entirely on the present moment, allowing thoughts to pass without judgment.
It takes practice, but it’s a powerful technique that can improve your well-being by relieving stress, aiding sleep and improving mental health. If you’re taking your first steps into meditation, the Headspace app is a helpful companion – providing a daily course to introduce you to meditation.
If you’re really struggling, then that’s OK. Life can be stressful sometimes. Luckily, there are many services and resources dedicated to helping during any tough times you might be experiencing. Talking to someone can help you better understand yourself and current situation, and it could be the first step towards a healthier you.
Here is the NHS’s guide to mental health services that are available throughout the UK. Your university or employer may also be able to help you locate resources which could really support your mental wellbeing.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend your student days, Nido Student can help. Head over to our homepage for more information about all our locations.