This blog is going to be slightly different from my last one; it’s going to be more of a conversation.
There is a lot of talk and advice given out, about self care. But what actually is it? And how easy is it to do? If you look at the internet there are endless options!
Well, the literal translation of self care, is looking after yourself. But there is a catch, which bit of you? If you go to the gym every day or run 5km before breakfast, is that self care? Keeping yourself fit and healthy is important. But this feels a little bit one sided to me and possibly a little obsessional? A bit too much focus on the physical? Surely we are a combination of both our physical and mental health - physically and emotionally balancing. Thinking of ourselves holistically, our mind and body combine as one. I for one need my mind and body to both be healthy to enable me to function as I expect to (and need to).
Can I suggest that self care is a conscious decision to take care of our mind and body - our physical, emotional and mental health? Taking care of ourselves, will enable us to care for others (an act of caring which most of us want to do). There’s a lot to be said for self care; it maintains a good relationship with yourself and others, helps prevent burnout, helps us be more effective.
Learning about our self care and what works for us, is also understanding that some of our current coping strategies aren't so healthy - be honest, do you any of the following?
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol • Smoking
Biting your fingernails
Withdrawing from family and friends
Is any of this familiar to you? And if it is what do you do instead? Looking after your eating and making sure that you get enough sleep for you are important aspects of self care. Research from the Sleep Foundation, says that we need 7 - 9 hours’ sleep a night. And any other self care? Anything positive which fits in with your way of being. These are ideas which might appeal.
Breathing for relaxation
Listening to music - whatever your genre, soft or loud and then dance like no one is watching!
Exercising (within reason, gym marathons are not required)
Going for a walk
Taking a bath
Spending time with friends
Sitting outside and relaxing
Hobby - drawing, baking, DIY
Cuddle your pet
OK, I can hear you say, this idea of self care sounds all well and good, but how am I supposed to fit it in? It was this thought, which led me to think about doing a blog on self care. I had asked myself, the exact same question. And the answer that I came to? One step at a time. Baby steps.
OK. So how to make time for some self care?
Learn to say No. And that’s OK. You don’t have to go in to lengthy explanations, just say No.
Boundaries - what are OK with? Distance yourself from the stuff that makes you unhappy or you simply don’t want to do.
Create some routines. Whether as part of your morning routine or part of settling for the night. Perhaps some doing some stretches in the morning.
Start small and take one step at a time. Decide how many times a week you are going to do something - it may be starting at once a week and build up from there. And that’s OK. Be kind to you, if it doesn't come off - don’t beat yourself up. Life happens. Tomorrow is a new day.
Put your needs first - a big ask but again start small.
Have I fitted anything in? Yes. I have changed my morning routine and learning to say what I need. It’s an ongoing process for us all!
If I can help with anything, please do get in touch and we can look at your concerns together.