SELF CARE – WHAT IS IT AND WHEN DO I NEED TO DO IT?
January 12 2020
It seems like I can’t get away from the phrase ‘self care’ at the moment. I sometimes think it’s said so often that it sort of sounds like a fad or some expensive unattainable thing that only popular instagrammers can seek. However, as I have learned, this is not at all the case.
Self care is not something you can purchase online in a carefully put together package (although some companies may disagree!), it’s something that you carefully put together for yourself, by yourself, based on what makes YOU feel good. Only you can design this package because deep down, you’re the only one who knows how to soothe yourself.
As an introvert I get overwhelmed when I spend too much time socialising or if I’m around lots of people for too long. When I was younger I used to force myself into spending more time with others because I thought it was good for me. Only now, as I have learned more about myself, have I realised that it’s completely normal to need time alone to rest and recuperate. It might be the ‘only child’ in me, but I like not having to socialise for an hour or so a day (or longer if I can!)
RECOGNISING THAT YOU NEED MORE SELF CARE
The first step to creating your own go-to self care rituals is to recognise when you need self care. What are the warning signs? You may want to write these down.
Check in with yourself every week, or even every day, to ask yourself how you are feeling. I like to address how I’m feeling at least once a day using the app Daylio. Daylio is like a mood diary that gives me push notifications to remind me when I need to add an entry. It takes less than a minute to fill it in and you can customise your activities and moods to suit you. I have added activities such as yoga, writing, cooking and beauty appointments so I can be more accurate with my tracking. You can then see how your mood is based on what activities you’ve been doing and potentially spot something that could help you to feel more accomplished. If I’ve been feeling worse than usual for more than a couple of days, it’s time to take action and do some self care.
Once you’ve realised that you need to take some time out to look after yourself, it’s best to do it ASAP rather than wait until you feel even worse. I find if I leave it too long I end up getting anxious and I find it hard to control my racing thoughts.
Taking action straight away also removes the risk of you falling into a cycle. There have been many times where I’ve just laid in bed wallowing in my negative thoughts instead of getting up and doing something to counteract it. I’ve learned from CBT that behaviour is the easiest thing you can change to counteract negative feelings, so get up and do some self care when you know you need it.
The key with self care is to do it little and often so you can be consistent and balance out your feelings. I know that if I’m going to have a big day socialising that the following day/evening I’m going to need to keep free for myself to recharge.
SIMPLE SELF CARE IDEAS
Here are my favourite self care rituals that keep me going and make me feel comforted. This isn’t absolutely everything, but these are some activities that work for me.
Of course, you may not relate to all of these because everyone is different. But maybe you could write your own list of what you can do when you need to comfort yourself?
Spray your favourite fragrance – something that reminds you of a good time or being calm
Spend time alone with no distractions. Tell everyone in the house to leave you alone for a bit
Express yourself by being creative. Drawing, writing, photography etc.
Cuddle a furry friend
Read your favourite book or watch your favourite film
Watch something that makes you laugh. Gordon Ramsay cheers me up
Make yourself a tea. I love chamomile tea for calming down at night, or peppermint during the day
Embrace the smell of lavender. Spray some lavender pillow spray at night, or mix some 100% Lavender essential oil with some baby oil and rub on wrists/chest
Do some extra body care or skincare
Make yourself a comforting home cooked meal. Vegetable soup is nutritious and delicious
Write down how you’re feeling and then throw the paper away
Write a list of things you’re grateful for and keep the list to refer to later
Write a list of things you’ve done to help others in the past week see how you’ve helped them
Drink lots of water
Have a bath or hot shower and put on some comfy loungewear
Do let me know what your self care rituals are in the comments! I’d love to hear what you do to make yourself feel better.
*PLAYS SELF CARE BY MAC MILLER*