7 Small Changes To Try This Week

Small change, big difference.

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1. If you have 3 minutes: Make your Instagram account a soothing space.

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You may have noticed the "save" function on Instagram – if you're like me, you have accidentally saved some odd photos, due to fat thumbs and pocket-fumbles. But I've been using "save" to hang onto my absolute favourite dog pictures, meaning that if I'm feeling blue, there are many boops and woofs waiting for me, only a second away.

2. If you have 5 minutes: Try power posing.

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I fully accept that power posing sounds like nonsense, and if you're feeling rubbish, it's not going to change your life. But if you need a little boost, why not give it a try?

Julie writes: "Want to instantly improve your confidence? Give power posing a try. The first power pose is standing with your hands on your hips, with your chin tilted slightly up and with your chest out. The second power pose is to stand with your arms in a V above your head (like you just won a race or something), with your chest out and chin up. Do it before a big meeting or interview, or simply start your day with a pose or two."

3. If you have 10 minutes: Lose yourself in your work.

Loryn Brantz/ BuzzFeed

This article in the New York Times makes a fantastic point that a) not everyone has the luxury of being able to take long baths in the name of self-care (if that works for you, go for it!) and b) some anxious brains find succour in business, rather than rest.

"Chilling out just doesn’t work for me the way work does. I’ve never found a relaxation technique that relaxed me. I like yoga, but when it’s time to lie still in corpse pose my brain always starts to spin. Give me too many empty hours and I’ll see, if not women in the wallpaper, then danger around every corner — bankruptcy in my computer and death in the fridge.

"Far better for me to put my mind to use. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term 'flow' for the state of 'being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.' In a state of flow, he says, 'the ego falls away.' This is the best description I’ve come across for the feeling I have when I’m immersed in writing or reporting. I remember finishing a daylong project in Iowa City last year, ahead of the Iowa caucus, and realizing that all the worries that had entered the city with me had been pushed aside by the voices of the people I talked to, by the process of fitting them all together. To work, for me, is to care for the self by putting the self aside."

Follow the author, Anna North, on Twitter.

5. If you have 20 minutes: Make a wellness action plan.

Haejin Park/ BuzzFeed

Mental health charity Mind advocate creating a Wellness Action Plan. Essentially it's a cheatsheet for any mental illness you may have – what being well looks like for you, any warning signs that you may not be well, and any actions that may help you feel better. For example: "When my anxiety is minimal, I'm chatty and happy to make plans. When I'm have a dip in my mental health, I'll be withdrawn, snappy, and cancel a lot. I need space, and you should encourage me to rest."

Mind encourage you to share this plan with your line manager at work, but if you don't feel comfortable doing that, you could share it with your partner, housemates, or parents.

6. If you have 30 minutes: Read Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be by Gemma Cairney.

Pan Macmillan

Chelsey writes: "This lovely new book from Gemma Cairney is a must read for anyone trying to get their life together and cut themselves a break at the same time. Gemma’s book provides bits of wisdom on everything from breakups to work troubles to body image, and keeps a really encouraging and creative approach throughout. Get it here.

"For something shorter, read this lovely essay by YA author Alwyn Hamilton about how nerding out online helped her gain confidence as a reader, writer, and friend."

7. If you've got 30 seconds: Watch this video.

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This is a weekly series! Got a self-care tip you’d like to suggest? Let me know in the comments or tweet me.