Google self-care and you’ll find articles and images that tell you that self-care is NOT self-ish! You’ll find analogies relating to empty cups, broken phones and even wedding cakes…

I would like to say, quite simply, that self-care is giving yourself the time to do the things that make you happy, bring you joy and improve your health and wellbeing. There!

So, let’s talk about what makes you happy and improves your health and wellbeing. In class and on the Facebook group, members often talk and joke about the things that are lacking in their lives, and I listen! So here goes…

Self-care for better sleep

Many of you find it difficult to take time to unwind and relax, and I’m grateful to you for choosing your time with Ad Astra for doing just that, but I know that some of you still have difficulty sleeping.

Way back in 2021 I ran a sleep masterclass, looking at how to improve our sleep. In the sleep blog that came after it there are 12 things to do if you’re struggling, the number one tip being:

Go to bed and get up at the same time EVERY day.

This can be really difficult if you work shifts, have an active social life or do things differently at weekends, but it’s worth persevering with, trust me!

Self-care for men

Quick! What do you think of when we say self-care? Possibly a woman in a bubble bath, a woman getting her hair done, a woman laughing with friends… BUT, self-care is for men too, and it’s not at all girlie! 

Men typically find it difficult to share their feelings, in fact International Men’s Day uses the themes of ‘Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity’ and ‘Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys’ every year to support men into sharing more.

There’s absolutely no reason why taking time out for yourself, getting together with mates or even writing a journal shouldn’t be for you men too.

Self-care for menopause and manopause

Some of the self-care practises for menopause and manopause include getting enough sleep, which we already know is easier said than done sometimes, but taking long brisk walks in the daylight and gentle exercise such as yoga and Pilates are great ways to try and promote healthy sleep.

Talking therapy can also be immensely beneficial to help with mood changes and anxiety. So again, talk to each other, talk to your classmates, talk to the trees if you have to!

You may consider some herbal remedies such as ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng) that is said to help men regulate cortisol levels (one of the stress hormones), while simultaneously building testosterone, or chamomile, lavender, valerian or St John’s Wort – all available in local shops – but take advice from the experts first!

Quick tips for self-care

These activities won’t cost you much, except maybe a little time, which is the whole point of self-care anyway:

  1. Try to get a good night’s sleep – make it a priority
  2. Drink lots of water – try adding a cupful before every meal
  3. Go for a brisk walk – get as much daylight as possible
  4. Take a relaxing bath – a warm bath before bed causes the body to drop it’s core temperature more rapidly, aiding sleep
  5. Say no to something you don’t want to do – The world won’t stop turning!
  6. Listen to your favourite music – dance and sing and really get into it, or sit quietly and clear your mind
  7. Watch your favourite film – one that brings out your emotions
  8. Make something healthy yet delicious for dinner – find a recipe, go to the shop specifically for that recipe, and maybe cook together
  9. Make a list of five or more things you like about yourself – self-affirmations are really hard to do, but brilliant for your mental health
  10. Spend time with loved ones – on the phone, Facetime, writing letters, or best of all, in person.

I hope this blog has helped you think about how to add self-care into your life, and realise that you don’t need permission to do it!