Self care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.
I’m new to the concept of self care but it has been revolutionary in my recovery from borderline personality disorder and bipolar.
I used to feel immense guilt if I wasn’t running round like a headless chicken, completing tasks, getting ‘stuff’ done, doing something ‘worth while’ with my time. Even if it meant I eventually burnt out. Burnt out so much I could barley function again. I saw it as a personal weakness not to be productive every hour, minute, second of my life.
Self care, for me, has come in acknowledging, spending a day lounging around watching really bad Netflix films is perfectly okay. Treating myself to a bath is not indulgence. And doing what I want to do in that moment is not selfish, unproductive or lazy. My needs are my needs. Especially if you’re dealing with depression.
Mind have released this fantastic ‘Well-being Journal’ in order to promote self care and mental wellness. Available in shops/online.
Self care has now become a way of life for me. I even block of time in my day where I will specifically do something for myself. Spend time for myself. And the effects its had on my mental wellness is more than I could express. Occasionally, the guilt arises but I simply remind myself that taking care of my need is more worthy than anything else I could possibly do. Because if not, I’ll become emotionally burnt out.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate self care into your life:
Have a bath
This is a classic in self care. Nothing is more soothing than sinking into a warm, bubble filled bath with some music, maybe a book and a glass of water. It’s been proven that a warm bath is a fantastic cure for any feelings of loneliness, the warm water acting as a hug.
With companies like Lush creating bath products to die for, nothing screams self care like this one!
Journaling used to be an activity filled with anxiety for me, every time I attempted to journal I never allowed myself to write freely. I expected my journal to be worthy of a New York Times bestseller. (We’ve all been there.)
Until I learned to simply write whatever came into my conscious thought, without judgement. This is a great way to express difficult emotions or thought. Whenever I feel particularly anxious or weight down, a few pages of free flowing journaling always makes me feel less heavy. It’s the classic ‘getting it off your chest’ activity.
I also make a point of never reading back what I’ve written.
Read a book or watch a film
Or in other words, distraction. Taking time to escape into another world or story is a perfect example of self care. Whilst dealing with difficult emotions its hard to not become consumed by them. Indulging in a good book or film takes your mind off its obsessing and allows you to relax.
Sometimes, reading a really bad chick lit is one of the best ways of looking after myself. I can lose myself for hours in the pages.
Do something alone
I’ve recently discovered the absolute joy in doing things alone, in other words, why wait for your friend to be free in order to see that film? Take your damn self! Buy yourself popcorn and a nice cold drink and enjoy going to the cinema alone. Or the theatre, restaurant or museum.
Maybe there’s a place you’ve been dying to visit but no one to go with, take yourself!
There is so much elation in doing something by yourself, you’ll boost your self-esteem and feel accomplished.
Have an early night
Yep, get some sleep. Getting into your favorite pajamas, put some fresh bed sheets on and get a good nights rest. Its amazing what a sleep/nap can do to your mental well-being.
Clean, do some errands, get some shit done
One of the best things I can suggest in regards to self care is actually getting some shit done. If you have a pile of little tasks building up in your life, its easy to fall into the habit of sitting and thinking about it. Just do it. Action is more important than the planning. You’ll feel a physical weight off your shoulders and its always worse in your head than doing it.
One step at a time, work through that to do list.
Check out of technology
Feeling over-whelmed by social media, websites and the news is common in our technology obsessed society. I’d recommended turning off your wifi for an evening or if you’re feeling brave, a day!
Taking time away from constantly communicating on your phone, scrolling instagram and reading the news is so good for you. You can connect with the world around you, spend time doing something creative and not get caught up in negative mental talk.