Damon Cuthbert of infrared sauna and wellness specialist UK Saunas shares a few simple tips for finding some ‘me’ time throughout the day to help keep your mind and body in check
Self-care at the office
During the work day, it can feel difficult to take a moment to yourself and breathe, leaving you with heightened stress levels which threaten to build as the week goes on. But introducing some of these self-care strategies into your work environment can help keep these emotions at bay:
- Clean your desk – keeping a clean, tidy desk can help your time at work feel less cluttered, keep you focused on the task at hand and just generally keep your mood up.
- Move often – even if it’s just up and down the stairs or to the canteen for a hot drink, there’s increasing evidence that sitting all day is bad for your health, both physically and mentally.
- Treat yourself – whether it’s a lunch to look forward to, your favourite snack, or a more exciting task, treating yourself regularly is a great mood lifter and shouldn’t be associated with guilt – enjoy yourself!
- Switch up your lunches – If you’re stuck in a lunch rut, try something new once a week or even once a month, you’ll have something to look forward to and you’ll be driven to find new recipes each time.
- Take breaks from the computer – if your job requires you to sit in front of a screen all day, try and switch up your tasks so that you’re not constantly looking at the screen. Even five minute breaks can avoid headaches, sluggishness and reduced productivity.
What to do when you get home
It can sometimes be stressful to feel like you’re doing nothing in the evenings or doing too much, so finding a balance is a good self-care practice which doesn’t need too much effort and can be built up over time. Some things you can do as soon as you get home from work to start being more mindful include:
- Make dinner – cooking is a therapeutic exercise and provides a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Cooking new recipes or old favourites is a useful way to switch off your mind and let go of any stresses from the past day.
- Be social – whether it’s talking to a flatmate, family member or even taking some time to scroll social media. Social media is often seen as anti self-care but in moderation can help you zone out and de-stress after your day.
- Plan your evening – If you don’t have any social plans, planning out what you’re going to do with your time, such as cleaning or exercise, can help you feel productive and prevent you from sitting on the couch and feeling wasteful all evening.
Everything in moderation
Many men can feel pressured into spinning every plate at once – working, exercising, maintaining your social life, family – and it’s important to remember that these plates aren’t all going to drop if left every now and then. Forgive yourself for missing a class or skipping the gym once in a while, pressuring yourself into activities you’re not feeling up to can be mentally damaging over a long period of time.
Although social interaction can help restore your mood, learning when to say no to plans or choosing plans that are more beneficial to your health is a key self-care tactic. If you feel like going for drinks won’t do you any good mentally, suggest another group activity that your friends might be interested in so you can still spend time together with less risk.
Some common self-care activities to try:
- Switching off – for many who work in front of a screen all day, spending your downtime looking at another one can be harmful. Additionally, artificial light can lead to poorer sleep, increasing levels of stress and anxiety. Set yourself the challenge of a half-an-hour break first if you struggle to stay off your phone.
- Exercise – Classic self-care practices like yoga have a range of mental and physical benefits which will keep you in shape, encourage regular routine and help de-stress you when practiced regularly. Avoid becoming too invested in your workout routine and keep everything in moderation to mitigate further pressure.
- Cooking – as mentioned before, cooking regularly is an easy therapy strategy that anyone can get involved with. You also get to chill out and enjoy the end result!
- Hobbies – whether this is exercise, reading, model making or a musical instrument, putting time aside for something you take pleasure from is essential in modern life. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get to indulge regularly, spend as much time as you have whenever you like.
What men can learn about self-care:
Self-care is typically marketed towards women and, as a result, can seem like an unmanly thing to invest in. However, self-care is a simple practice to help look after yourself and takes the form of whatever feels good for you. With media claims of a men’s mental health crisis looming, staying mindful is a step in the right direction.