National Self Care Week 2021: BCA’s tips to help put yourself first

Catherine Quinn, chiropractor and President of the BCA, shares her top tips to give yourself some love this National Self Care Week (15th – 21st November). 

If the last 18 months have shown us anything, it is the importance of self care and making time to look after ourselves. Whether you’re a mother or father trying to find some time for yourself between work and school runs, a student trying to balance your wellbeing with assignments, or simply looking to incorporate more self care into your everyday routine, here are BCA President Catherine Quinn’s top tips to put yourself first and prevent burn out – which can lead to wider health issues such as, muscle ache, stomach discomfort and heart-related issues.

Catherine’s quick and easy steps towards better self care:
  1. Start small – Our daily routines can be exhausting and the thought of adding exercise in can become even more overwhelming. My top tip is to start by incorporating movement into your day in smaller, bitesize chunks. Many of us often set unmanageable goals for exercise. When we don’t achieve these goals, which are far reaching to start with, this then impacts our motivation, making us less likely to create new positive habits for our wellbeing. It’s great to set longer term intentions but start small. Over time this will become almost an automatic habit and you can build it up from there!
  2. Get up, get moving – Exercise and physical activity has been proven to improve your mood. Not to mention, your back and body love to stay active. Try and move around every 20-30 minutes, whether at home or at work. If you don’t want to or can’t go full throttle with high endurance-based activities, look for smaller opportunities to exercise during the day. Why not walk to the shop instead of getting the bus, or go out on your lunch break instead of eating at your desk? Another top tip is to always stand up when you take a phone call and use hands-free technology when you can.
  3. Fresh air will do a world of good – It’s important to ensure you get enough daylight, particularly throughout the winter months. Vitamin D is an essential part of maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing – and the NHS supports the use of Vitamin D supplements, especially if you’re spending more time indoors. Getting enough sunlight can help to improve your sleep and general mental health, as well as keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy – it’s a win-win!
  4. Pamper time – After a long, busy day, try to find some time that’s just for you – whether it’s reading your book or enjoying the sunset in the garden. My moment of peace is always a relaxing bath. If you’re having a long soak, make sure you have a regular stretch and move while in the tub. Many patients agree with me that a nice hot bath can ease off some of the daily muscle aches we all experience, so make sure you are set up for the ultimate unwind!
  5. A great night’s sleep – It’s all too easy to scroll through your phone from bed, and before you know it, an hour has gone. Try and protect the hour before you go to bed as your personal wind down time. Avoid blue light tech – most phones have a night-time mode, which changes the screen light and stops notifications coming through. Again, the main thing is about consistency and sticking to similar timings each night, so you train your brain for your new routine.