The word ‘habit’ sometimes comes with negative connotations, often associated with detrimental activities such as smoking or being untidy. However, if used to create an affirmative action, habits can be utilised to create a constructive routine that can be beneficial in a multitude of ways. Self-Care is something many people struggle to fit into their hectic schedules; however, a regular routine can have several benefits. You can read more about Self-Care here in our journal. This article looks at taking away the need to remember some everyday self-care actions by turning them into habits.
According to Phycology Today, the formation of a habit is the process by which new behaviours become automatic. Old habits can be difficult to break, and new (healthy) ones can be hard to develop, although it is very much possible.
So, where to start? The key to creating a habit is consistency. The same article explains that the advice from experts is to create a strategy by creating a specific and achievable goal. In doing this, you are setting yourself up for success as smaller goals are more realistic to achieve. For example, if you want to get into the habit of running. If you tell yourself, you are going to go running every day, and you begin to miss a day or two, you will feel like you’ve failed. In contrast, if you start by setting a goal to run two times a week, it is much more sustainable and achievable.
Secondly, being mindful can promote habit formation. By achieving your goal and mentally rewarding yourself for it, not only are you creating a reward system in your brain, but you are also essentially ‘updating’ it with information.
While self-care will have a different definition to those who practice it, the following contains information on simple and common self-care activities that can be turned into a habit:
The perfect thing about meditation is it’s something you can do in five minutes before you even get out of bed in the morning. Start by closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths. Not only does this have a calming effect, but it will provide your body with an oxygen boost. Next, start to clear your mind and focus on what you want to achieve on that day. It could be anything from finishing that project at work to tidying the house, as long as it’s important to you. Lastly, remind yourself how fantastic you are, and give yourself a motivational boost by picturing yourself completing your goal.
Meditation can also be practised before bed in the evening, and some people find it beneficial as an aid to sleep. Instead of focusing on what you would like to achieve, focus breathing and clearing your mind.
Even if you don’t feel like it! Reminding yourself to smile can trigger the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, according to Psychology Today. When you get out of bed in the morning, pull your face into a huge smile, to help you start the day.
An article by Mental Healthy explains that there is a link between eating a healthy breakfast and mental health. The article states that those who skip breakfast are more likely to release stress hormones, which can leave them feeling irritable and inhibits the uptake of information. Furthermore, it is widely reported by professional health organisations such as WebMD that eating a balanced breakfast can help to maintain energy for a more extended period throughout the day.
While wanting to exercise may not come naturally to some, you are more likely to get into the habit if you persist. You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym five times a week. A simple stroll or some light yoga can be part of your self-care routine and can be done in the morning or evening.
For more information on self-care and wellbeing, browse some more of our journal posts. If you would like to extend your knowledge further, Balance Holidays offers yoga retreats in France and other prestigious locations across Europe. We aim to equip you with the tools to continue your wellbeing journey long after you return home.
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