“What does self care mean to you?”
To me, self care is looking after yourself as best as you can in the circumstances, especially through tough times such as stress & with long term health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
“Why is self care important?”
We have to ensure that we have the right levels of self care at the right time so we don’t cause harm to ourselves in the short term, which could lead to things such as burn out in the long term, or sometimes even worse. We also have to look after ourselves so that we can be there for others too, such as partners, friends & family.
“What does self care involve?”
Self care can involve different things for different people. There are things that we could class as simple self care such as eating & drinking the right things, getting the right amount of sleep or brushing our hair, then more complex things such as developing a workout plan to get more exercise or trying to get your work/life balance right.
My 5 self care tips for those tougher days
I have to really push myself to be kinder to myself on a daily basis, but on the tough days it can sometimes seem near to impossible. These are just 5 things that I really push myself to do on those bad days, even if I achieve nothing else (in no certain order).
- Light a candle – this may seem very simple, but the light from a candle & the smell can help relax me & as cliché as it might sound, give me more light on a situation & like there is a way out. Obviously, this wouldn’t be a good one to do if you’re planning on napping/sleeping and there is nobody else around!
- Shower – even though I sometimes wind myself up for hours even trying to find the energy to move from the same spot because I feel emotionally so heavy, feeling the warm water and applying some nice smelling shower gel can make all the difference.
- Make the bed – even if I intend on getting back in it at some point, actually making the bed & laying on top of it snuggled up in a blanket can make me feel like I’ve achieved something, even if that something is merely just dragging myself out of bed that day.
- Open the curtains & windows – I never underestimate how useful I find this one. Having natural light coming in & feeling the breeze flow over my body & fresh air flow into my lungs can make things seem a lot less bleak. It also helps me to feel more “in the world” and grounded rather than so out of it in my own head.
- Search for cute dog photos on Instagram/Pinterest – I absolutely adore greyhounds, having had them in our family most of my life. A cute greyhound picture or video can bring a smile to my face even on the days where all I seem to do is cry.
That list is not exhaustive. I could write on about lots of things, especially those that may seem small but actually make a big difference, such as making a sugary cup of tea and buttery toast to fuel my body in a way that takes little effort. There are lots of great self care tips and articles out there on the internet. I personally love searching for “self care ideas” on Pinterest & seeing all the cute handwritten & drawn collages people come up with to show what they have found works for them.
I asked others to share some of their self care tips…
I asked my lovely followers for their self care tips. Here are five of their responses:
- “Taking time out, being alone, even if its just 5 minutes just to clear your mind & focus on yourself, your own needs. Also, for me, there is nothing nicer than a hair cut, followed by a shave, shower & then some skin care. I feel so refreshed.” – Stephen (@gommy45 on Twitter).
- “For me its making sure you have things close by that can help you such as medications, bottles of juice, a blanket.” – Alannah-Jayne (@glitterygutsx on Instagram)
- “Go by feel. It’s our body, so we must listen to it. Listen to it when it says it’s time to do more, yet also when it says it’s time to do less.” – Matthew/YodaMatt on social. (I really like this one!)
- “Do something that makes you happy like listen to music.” – AJ
- “Go for a walk, listen to music, shopping or go for lunch with my Mam. Having someone there to talk to always helps me and my Mam is my best friend.” – Lisa
What self care means to YOU…
I started this post with what it means for me, now it’s time for whoever is reading this to have a little moment to sit & reflect on what self care means for them. Maybe jot down some things you know would help you on bad days, or just things in general that you know you need to be more consistent with with your self care, or ways you feel you’re really good at looking after yourself. Self care is different for every person, but it is vital that we integrate it into our day to day lives at the right level so we can help us become the best “US” that there is, & provide that safety blanket when we struggle.
What are your self care tips? Feel free to share more of your ideas in the comments.
Until next time,