Note: There is a difference between self care and caring for yourself in crisis. Personally, self care is all the things I do when I’m well to help keep me that way. They’re particularly helpful when I am having a bad day, I’m in a bad mood, I’m tired, etc. They are not the same as care in times of crisis and should never replace that care. If you need medication and therapy to help you cope with a mental health/emotional difficulty you should absolutely continue with those.
Last year ‘self-care’ became a bit of a buzzword, almost a trend but that doesn’t mean it should be brushed aside as something trivial. Looking after yourself is important so here are five ways that I practice self-care…
1. Reading – Firstly, I’m a nerd. I love to learn new things, it makes me happy. For some people active learning ends with school or college. For others it’s a lifelong persuit. I read to learn new things. I also read simply for pleasure, to escape in to a new world of live as someone else for a while! *An added benefit to reading is a book club and the community they bring either IRL or online – if you’re looking for an online group try the Rick O’Shea Book Club on Facebook, it’s full of lovely welcoming people who are always up for a chat and Rick hosts RSBC events around the country throughout the year too!
2. Spending time with loved ones – An hour spent watching Designated Survivor with my mam, a trip to Lidl with my dad for whatever gadget he’s spotted in the catalogue, meeting a friend for a coffee and a catch up, going for dinner with my boyfriend. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. To be surrounded by love & to give that back, to know that there are people who care about me and to spend time doing something I enjoy with people whose company I enjoy is so cathartic.
3. Spending time alone – On the flipside, I need time alone. As much as I love being with those I love, I also need time to recharge by myself. I’ve mentioned before that I am introverted and I think this would be the case even if I didn’t have social anxiety disorder. I need time to do nothing and I try to make sure that I get that time!
4. Having a bath – My favourite way to relax! Sometimes I combine this with 1 and read while I’m in there! No distractions, just chilling out. I like my water a little too hot, my bubbles mountainous and my fingers and toes resembling prunes by the time I get out! Bonus points if someone else thinks to run a bath for me or gifts me any kind of bath products. A million things from Lush are on my wish list, along with a bath tray!
5. Cuddles with my dog – For several years we had a revolving door of strays that my sister would bring home for a few weeks until a new home was found. Once my sister moved out the dogs stopped and I spent years trying to convince my parents to let me have one of my own. It took until I was 19 but they eventually caved! We went to Dogs Trust where there were loads of beautiful dogs looking for forever homes.
The dog we came home with is a Collie crossed with, well, something? He’s been an absolute joy. He never fails to put a smile on my face with his antics. He’s cheeky, he likes his comfort and he rests his head in my lap when he wants something. He’s perfect.
Why do you do to look after yourself? Share your tips, you might help someone out!