Gift yourself some self-care this festive season

Shirley Walker, The Seasoned Coach shares her tips on essential self-care to help you out in the run up to Christmas!
When facing uncertainty, it’s a good idea to ensure you take time to look after yourself and find ways to manage through the difficulties that you encounter.  When you have no control over what is going on around you how do you cope? What do you do to get through and stress less? How do you keep your feet on the ground and not feel totally overwhelmed? Here are 4 easy ways to take better care of yourself. 
Tip 1 
Now some might say gratitude is an airy fairy, tree hugging practice but believe me it works. It’s so easy to be negative and it is very much a default position for many of us, but what about the good stuff? Despite all that is going on what is good in your life today? What can you be thankful for? It may be something really small but that’s sometimes where you have to start. Did you have a good night’s sleep? Was the sun shining today? Did someone make you a cup of tea? Did you have a good chat with a friend? Focus on the small simple things unless something great did happen. 
When you are expressing gratitude, you are using positive emotions that improve your mood, make you feel better and happierLike anything you have to keep doing it. Very little changes overnight, it’s only through a consistent effort that something becomes useful. 
So at the end of each day try to find three things are you grateful for.  
Tip 2 
For many of us our normal routine may be disrupted so it’s about finding a new routine for the time being. Aristotle said ‘We are what we repeatedly do’ So how do you start your day? When you get up in the morning what do you plan to do?’ 
So how do you start your day? When you get up in the morning what do you plan to do?’ Is it something that you enjoy doing or things that you have to do? Or do you have no idea how you are going to fill your day? 
Because of all the uncertainty around we need some predictability in our life and a routine can help achieve that, it gives us some control because we are then making the decisions about what happens to us even if they are small decisions and that can give us some comfort.  It could be that you plan to get up at the same time every day, have your meals at set times, schedule exercise and things to do. I find making lists and putting things in my diary helps to give my day structure, it doesn’t have to be too rigid and you should allow for down time as well. It’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve each day, remember there’s always tomorrow. Routine gives you focus and actually helps reduce stress as you have less decisions to make. So what new routine are you going to embrace? 
Tip 3 
It can be really difficult stay positive and we need all the help we can get from the people around us 
So who in your life encourages, supports and uplifts you? Is it family members, friends, colleagues? 
We are very much affected by the people around us. They can change our mood, they can bring us down or lift us up.  
Think about the people in your life and how they make you feel. Are they like- minded people who make you feel good, boost your self-confidence, keep you going and working towards your goals? Or are they always negative and complaining and can’t seem to find the good in anything. One way to measure this is to check how you feel after being with someone you regularly spend time with. If a 1 is very negative and a 5 is very positive how do they make you feel, what score would you give them on that scale. It might be an idea if you can to limit time with those that score low.  
Remember it’s you that gets to choose who you spend time with. 
Tip 4 
So how do we escape all that is going on in the world, how do we quiet our minds? One way is through mindfulness, it’s a really good stress reliever and can help keep anxiety at bay.  Mindfulness is about being aware and paying attention to what is going on in the present moment, doing things without distraction. 
There are countless ways you can do this, I recently bought a book that has weekly practises for a year, that’s 52 different activities!   I started meditation during lockdown and I found it really helped and I’m only doing I0 minutes a day but it’s enough to make a difference 
It can be as simple as really concentrating on doing one thing at a time with no distractions, no phones, no noise, no one else around. If you are focusing on one thing then you are less likely to be overwhelmed and that helps settle the mind.  
So pick one thing, say making a cup of tea or coffee, notice all the sensations as you are doing it – what do you see, hear, feel, smell and taste? You could even do this exercisxe when going for a walk. 
Some say mindfulness slows down the aging process of the brain, so that’s a bonus and if you can make it a daily practice then you are more likely to notice some benefit.  
So how are you going to be mindful today? 
The Seasoned Coach can help to provide support for you and your staff through one to one coaching.