We know how important self-care is for our emotional and physical well-being. We know that it looks different to everyone and can be as simple as taking a long hot bath or practising yoga. Medshield recently consulted with medical doctor, Dr Tamsin Malengret and counselling therapist, Jacqui Morgan about how each practises self-care at home. All people can apply the advice shared for their mental-health improvement, self-care and stress management at home.
“Although stress is universal, our experience thereof is not and subsequently how people cope will differ,” says Dr Tamsin Malengret. “It is important to figure out what works for you and to then be disciplined enough to implement it,” she says.
“Personally,” says Dr Malengret, “I keep my mental health in check by making sure that it is a priority in my life. I know what I need to do to keep myself mentally well, so I incorporate these activities into my daily life and schedule: exercise – running, yoga, group exercise classes, getting outdoors, cooking, baking, meditation, socialising and reading. Fortunately for me, almost all of these activities can be done at home. The important thing is to be disciplined in doing them.”
Counselling therapist Jacqui Morgan recommends doing everything mindfully – including simple, everyday tasks like brushing teeth and bathing, but with increased awareness. Read: How To Practise Mindfulness For Mental Health for more advice from Jacqui on this excellent stress-management technique.
Jacqui further recommends the following at-home go-to methods for managing stress and anxiety that you can work into your everyday routine – or see them as doses of self-care!
- “Stop multitasking – Do one thing at a time. Giving yourself permission to focus on one thing at a time increases your cognitive output on tasks while conserving mental energy. Whereas bouncing between screens and tasks leads to interrupted flow of thought and the coordination of motor planning and output becomes more effortful.”
- “Get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes, at the very least three days in the week. I’m not a fitness expert and may well be under prescribing exercise, but just doing this improves my overall mood and state of mind, plus it gives me a sense of agency and accomplishment, which improves my overall confidence.”
- “Do the opposite. If you are feeling isolated, reach out to a friend. Social connection is important to our overall functioning. If you’re feeling angry, watch something that fills you with gratitude. If you’re afraid of failing at something, lean into it. Overcoming bite-sized challenges every day helps to build mastery, which boosts our sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.”
- “Be purposeful about doing one pleasant thing for yourself every day. This could be as simple as enjoying your senses with a scented bath or sitting quietly with a cup of tea and being mindful of its soothing warmth. During your self-care time, notice any distracting thoughts you have, but don’t judge them or allow any negative thoughts to rob you of the permission you have given yourself to enjoy some time out.”
“Nurture the little you. There exists within all of us our ‘vulnerable child’ side. Check-in with that little you and provide protection – having healthy boundaries with others, protecting good sleep hygiene – and nurturance, like eating healthily, playing and moving your body.”
About Our Experts
Counselling therapist Jacqui Morgan graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a master’s degree in counselling psychology. She gained clinical experience working with survivors of brain injuries at Headway Clinic in Hyde Park. Since then, Neuropsychology has become an academic interest of hers. Jacqui’s approach is largely informed by a psychodynamic perspective and works at Morgan Practice in Johannesburg
Growing up, Dr Tamsin Malengret was always passionate about the community and helping people. She completed her medical degree at The University of the Witwatersrand before returning to Cape Town to practise. She has a passion for psychiatry and while working at Lentegeur Hospital has recently joined the University of Cape Town as Registrar in the Department of Psychiatry.