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Looking After Your Physical Health

Being physically well acts as a buffer against stress and makes it easier for us to manage our emotions. Here are some tips for putting self-care into practice: 

Get active

Regular physical activity maintains energy and improves mood. Try to fit in around 20 minutes of daily exercise – anything you like. If that sounds too difficult, start with small goals like parking the car a little further away from your destination, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or doing some light stretching before bed.

Sleep

Research studies suggest that a lack of quality sleep is related to a range of emotional difficulties. If your sleep is poor, try following some of these suggestions:

  • Aim for around eight hours sleep a night
  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule, even when you are having difficulty sleeping
  • Wind down with three relaxing activities before bed (e.g. have a shower, drink herbal tea, read a book)
  • Limit the use of screens prior to bedtime
  • If you are lying awake for longer than 20 minutes, get up and do something (that is not too stimulating), as you don’t want your bed to become associated with stress and staying awake. When you feel sleepy, get back into bed and try again

Click here for a tip sheet on sleep and wellbeing.

Healthy diet

Eating regularly is important for maintaining steady blood sugar levels and giving us energy. There is a strong link between food and mood, so try to eat the amounts and kinds of foods that help you feel good in the long term. For a better understanding of what a balanced diet looks like, visit the Eat for Health website

Treat physical illness

Keeping up to date with health checks and preventative health care are important, as well as taking any medications as prescribed by your GP. It is easy to overlook check-ups with your GP when life is busy and you are supporting your loved ones, however looking after this aspect of your physical health helps to keep you emotionally and physically resilient.

Avoid substance use

Alcohol and other drugs may seem to have a ‘numbing’ or stress relieving effect, but they can increase our vulnerability to negative emotions. Try to use other strategies to cope with difficult experiences or emotions, such as exercise, relaxation, spending time with family or friends, or other pleasant activities you enjoy.