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We live in a fast paced world that makes demands on us on a 24-hour basis. From work, to friends, to family, there’s no one that can’t get a hold of you whenever and wherever they like.

And, whilst this has its benefits, it also has its downsides; namely, it can damage our productivity and ability to think innovatively. Being switched on 24-hours a day is exhausting. That’s why self-care is about more than just going on a last minute mini-break, or buying yourself something nice. It is a dedicated daily commitment to looking after yourself on both a physical and mental level.

1. Exercise

It will come as no surprise that an important element of self-care is exercise. This doesn’t have to mean forcing yourself to run if you hate cardio, or making yourself go to a spinning class. Instead, find an activity that adds value to your life and that brings you joy. It may be getting off the bus early and walking the last stop every day, or taking up yoga either at home or in a class. There are plenty of ways to exercise your body that will make you feel calmer and more connected to yourself. Setting up a savings Step in order to save whilst you walk or run is also a great way to further boost your "feel good" feeling, as you can measure your success in savings.

2. Get away

You don’t need to spend money on a vacation, but removing yourself physically from the place or situation that is causing you stress is imperative. Try to leave work on time and go home, or spend time in a space that makes you feel calm. Alternatively, put in your music and go for a long walk with no particular destination. By removing yourself physically from a situation you can gain perspective on the problems you associate with it. Movement also helps stimulate endorphins and improves blood flow.

3. Go spicy!

An estimated 275 million people globally currently suffer from anxiety. If you are feeling anxious or stressed, some research points to spicy food as being the key to boosting those endorphin levels. Make a spice date once a week and cook yourself a chili or your favourite curry.

4. Sleep in clean bedsheets

According to a poll by the Sleep Foundation, 7 in 10 respondents reported getting a better night’s sleep in freshly scented sheets. Cleaning your bedsheets every one or two weeks could significantly improve your quality of sleep and therefore improve your productivity during the day.

5. Cook together

Eating a balanced diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For many, cooking is a soothing activity, and is a creative process in its own right. It is also said to be beneficial for cognitive function and helps create goal-oriented thoughts and actions. However, if you are not a natural chef, then order yourself food that you love to share with friends or family, or spend time with your loved ones whilst they cook.

Human contact is necessary for maintaining your physical and emotional health, and taking the time to be together and talk about nothing except the food and the process of cooking, will help you disconnect from your daily anxieties.

6. Be thankful once a day

There are many different incarnations of this advice, usually recommending that you keep a daily gratitude list or journal. However, even just taking time out of your day to think about one thing in your life you can be grateful for can be more than enough to change a negative or damaging thought process into a better one.

You don't need to spend a lot of money to take care of yourself.

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