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What more can I do to look after myself?

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’It’s all very well making plans to transform your life in January, but how often do these resolution stick?’ asks mental health student editor, Sabrina, as she encourages you to put more focus on ‘self-care’

Around this time every year you speak to people, and you certainly read about people, who have made New Year’s resolutions. It’s a new year! Which apparently means it’s a ‘new you’.

Now, call me a sceptic, but I can’t help but feel that such resolutions end up becoming somewhat short-lived.

People will decide to join the gym – great! Others will go vegan for a month – also great! And some will even promise to be kinder to themselves – again great! On their own, there is absolutely nothing wrong in my mind about these ‘resolutions’. What concerns me is how long these resolutions actually remain in existence.

If you’re lucky, some will keep up their resolution(s) for a month or two – but then what? What happens for the remaining 10 months of the year? There’s a reason why gyms become wonderfully peaceful at the end of February…

“Let’s try and give our resolutions a bit more love, care and affection this year”

Don’t get me wrong though, I believe making New Year’s resolutions is a highly worthwhile venture for your upcoming 2017 journey. It can be a defining time in your year to self-reflect, to self-improve and/or to just try something new. But let’s try and give our resolutions a bit more love, care and affection this year; let’s pursue one that can be embedded little by little and that surpasses the two-month mark.

What if I suggested “self-care”? Do you think you could make room for this little gem?

Being a student nurse is challenging. We are expected to work placements that can be emotionally demanding, and yet require us to deliver care and compassion to those in need at all times. Indeed, we often hear about the number of nurses that become emotionally ‘burned-out’ by their work.

Practicing as a student nurse can also be stressful and emotionally labour-intensive, and it’s important that we take care of ourselves.

So, here’s a question - how many times would you say you’ve been able to spend time with your friends and/or family in the last month? Perhaps quite a lot considering the Christmas and New Year holidays. But how about this month? And the next? It can be so easy to immerse yourself in your placements and your assignments, but how much time do you really allow for yourself?

“Everyone is encouraged to take part in a little daily self-care activity”

Fortunately, I have come across one particular ‘self-care challenge’ that appears to be rather popular with my peers at the moment – the January Self Care Challenge by Hope the Black Dog. Every day throughout January, Hope the Black Dog posts prompts on Instagram encouraging anyone and everyone to take part in a little daily self-care activity.

By following the hashtag #janselfcarechallenge, I have seen people snuggling up to their pets, reading their favourite book, drinking tea in their favourite pyjamas, decluttering their inboxes, laughing, dancing, having a nice bath and getting out and about for a walk in the park.

“I remain hopeful that such a resolution can ‘stick’ and outlive the potential month-long expiry date”

Now whilst some may see this as a temporary fad, I would like to think that by the end of it, those who take part in this self-care challenge may feel reawakened to the wonderful sense of what it feels like to have ‘me time’. I would also like to believe that these people may, at the end of it, feel more inclined to continue giving themselves this time once it has become so embedded in their routine.

Whether that’ll actually be the case is another matter. However, I remain hopeful that such a resolution can ‘stick’ and outlive the potential month-long expiry date.

Now I’d like to ask YOU, what little things are you going to do to help you unwind? Are you going to give yourself a healthy amount of time to do them? **She says walking off to make a hot chocolate**

If you want to know more about the January Self Care Challenge to help kick start your own journey into looking after yourself better, you can follow @hopetheblackdog and #janselfcarechallenge on Instagram OR follow this link: http://www.hopetheblackdog.com/2016/12/17/january-self-care-challenge/

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