National Youth Week (4-14 April) is an important time to celebrate and support the talents of our young people. Our allied health professionals and life skills co-ordinators at Healthfind are big on supporting our young job seekers to upgrade their self-care.
Why is self-care important?
Self-care is an important investment in taking care of yourself so you are better able to enjoy good health and actively manage or prevent ill health. It’s important for young people to develop self-care practices early so these practices become healthy habits that serve them throughout their lifetime.
Self-care doesn’t have to be an action item – it can be about freeing up space for things that matter and establishing larger aspirations.
Young job seekers transitioning from school to work or entering the workforce for the first time can find the new world of work overwhelming. The good news is that proactive self-care can help young people respond to stressors better.
We can all undertake self-care daily through our food choices, exercise, sleep, and medical care.
Here are 10 self-care tips for young people to help them sustain their wellbeing long-term.
Tip #1: Relax, unwind, self-soothe
Relaxation is a state where you feel calm and able to manage day-to-day life. Relaxation reduces stress and the symptoms of poor mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Suggestions to unwind and self-sooth include:
- Listening to music
- Taking a bath or a shower
- Reading a book
- Watching a funny movie
- Downloading a meditation app
- Playing boardgames
- Practising mindfulness or deep breathing exercises.
Tip #2: Exercise daily
Even 20 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity can boost your general health and mental health, says the Heart Foundation. Physical activity and exercise can have both immediate and long-term health benefits.
When it comes to getting active, try:
- Going for a walk or a run
- Working out – lifting weights
- Riding a bike
- Doing yoga or stretching exercises
- Engaging in a local club sport.
Tip #3: Drink plenty of water
Water is vital for a healthy body. Did you know that water improves digestion, regulates body temperature and lubricates joints so you can move better?
Staying hydrated can bring a good dose of brain power and vitality to your day. It also helps your kidneys regain balance and assists to prevent and treat headaches.
Tip #4: Eat healthy and nutritious food
A healthy diet includes a good balance of foods from the five food groups every day:
- Vegetables and legumes (beans)
- Grains and cereals
- Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans) tofu, nuts, seeds
- Milk, cheese, yoghurt or alternatives
Nutrients from healthy food keep skin, teeth, and eyes healthy as well as supporting muscles and boosting immunity. Nutritious foods have also been found to strengthen bones and lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Healthy diets support the digestive system to function, aid in brain development, assist with healthy growth, and help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Tip #5: Get a good night’s sleep
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Sleep helps your body and brain function properly and renew. A good night’s sleep can help improve your learning, memory, decision-making, and even your creativity. Having insufficient sleep has been linked to a higher risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and poor mental health.
Tip #6: Set goals and make plans
Start with a small, even micro goal to achieve a small win for the week. It may include creating a budget, making a ‘to-do’ list, updating your resume, handing in a certain number of job applications a week, or preparing for job interviews. To make sure your goals and plans are clear and reachable, using the SMARTER goal template can be an effective tool:
- Specific – What do you want to achieve?
- Measurable – How will you know when you have accomplished this goal?
- Achievable – Is this goal realistic?
- Relevant – Is this goal worthwhile?
- Timely – When is the deadline for this goal?
- Evaluate – Continuously evaluate your goals to help make sure you achieve them.
- Readjust – Don’t be afraid to change your goals as time goes on to adapt to changes in your life.
Tip #7: Stay connected with other people
Human beings are social beings. That doesn’t mean that we all like to be around other people all the time; it means that quality relationships with other people are good for our mental wellbeing, happiness and sense of security.
Try and overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness by engaging in social activity with people who are a positive influence on you. You could try:
- Sending a message to an old friend
- Calling a family member
- Doing a video call with someone you love
- Trying a random act of kindness
- Sharing an online activity
- Getting involved in helping your local community.
Tip #8: Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit substances
The benefits of avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit substances include saving money, improved motivation, greater concentration, better memory, stronger relationships, and enhanced mental health. If you are struggling with overuse of these substances, reach out and ask for help – Healthfind can provide both counselling services and referrals to support and assist in gaining control over substance misuse and addiction.
Tip #9: Keep a clean home environment
You’d be surprised how even a small upgrade of your living environment can make you feel better and improve your motivation. It doesn’t need to be a big or expensive undertaking.
Some key tasks to keeping your home environment clean are:
- Start with cleaning your bedroom
- Take out the bins
- Do the dishes
- Do the laundry – fresh linen, towels and clothes
- Clean the bathroom/toilet
- Clean the fridge and oven
- Tidy a desk
- Clean the garden.
Tip #10: Practise good hygiene
Good personal hygiene is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting or spreading infectious diseases such as COVID-19, colds, and the flu. Washing your hands with soap thoroughly and showering/bathing daily removes germs that can make you ill. Good personal hygiene is also important when you’re presenting yourself socially and in the workplace.
Healthfind is a no-cost counselling, support and referral service to Jobfind’s job seekers to support them on their journey to a job.
At Jobfind, we take a holistic and customer-focused approach to enriching the lives of our young job seekers. Speak to your Employment Consultant about our diverse range of Healthfind services and learn how we can support you on your journey to positive self-care and gaining sustainable employment.