Lately I have noticed on Twitter and through blogs that a lot of people are struggling with self care, whether that’s finding an activity that works for them or they are unsure where to start. Firstly I will give my two pennies worth on what self care is to me and then give you a list of different things you could try, as always I will try make the list as accessible as possible.
Self care is a funny one. We all do it without even realising it every day. We get up in the morning and we brush our teeth and wash ourselves – this at the most basic level is self care. What we are referring to in this post is the time you put aside for yourself, to relax, unwind and take care of your mental health. Often people feel guilty for taking this time, there’s always something “more important” they should be doing, but let me tell you from experience this is important. It’s important to stop burnout and to keep you feeling good.
The other struggle people seem to have is that they don’t know where to start and what constitutes self care. Before I provide a list of ideas I just want to say that different things work for different people and some of the things I mention below as self care ideas such as working out or cleaning, may actually be triggers to some people so please only do what you’re comfortable with. I’ll break the lists up into “Active Self Care” and “Restful Self Care”.
Active Self Care
- Cleaning your room – This gives you time to think and there’s no better feeling than going to sleep in a bed with nice clean sheets surrounded by a clean environment.
- Going for a walk/run – When you’re stressed out getting outside can be such a big help even without moving around. Adding the movement is optional of course but sometimes it helps to clear the mind.
- Go out with friends – I know what you’re thinking “self care isn’t a team sport”, but it can be. If you are really wired, stressed out and know that being by yourself is going to make you feel worse it is excellent self care to recognise and acknowledge that and make a plan to circumvent it.
- Play video games – I’ve included this in the active section as although usually this is a sedentary activity it can get you pretty pumped up and wake you up.
- Stretch/Yoga – If, like me, your anxiety causes your body to tense up, stretching is a great way to relieve all that tension.
Restful Self Care
- Allow yourself worry time – Scheduled worry time can help so much throughout the day. It doesn’t stop bad thoughts from popping in to your mind but it makes it easier to cope with them by deferring them to be dealt with later during the allotted time.
- Read a book – As a distraction technique this one is great if you are at a point where you can still focus on something and concentrate. Immersing yourself in a good book can really take you away from all your worries.
- Treat yourself to a favourite snack – There’s no reason to attach guilt to this like so many do. You are allowed to eat food that you enjoy.When using this as self care you can be mindful of the flavours and textures and focus on that as you enjoy the snack.
- Watch something funny – As many of you will know this is my go-to self care if I’m anxious, particulately if I’m heading towards full blown panic. The laughter helps to calm me down and watching a film or tv show acts as a great distraction
- Have a bath – Another of my go-tos. I don’t know what it is but there is something very calming about being in the water. It gives you an opportunity to relax and think over your day plus make plans for tomorrow.
- Do something creative – This could be writing down your thoughts and feelings, drawing, colouring in, making something. Just a way to channel how you’re feeling in to something positive. On my body positive journey there have been times when I’ve found it useful to write a letter to myself.
Do you have any self care tips? Leave them in the comments below.