Sometimes when people hear the term “self-care”, I can see their eyes roll. Like many words in the well-being industry, from resilience to mindfulness, strategies for holistic health get thrown around but might not always be understood.
Although many people think of it as a spa day or a pedicure, self-care is about participating in daily restorative acts that help you get back to centre, especially if you’re going through a difficult time, or helping someone who is. It’s also in the little things:
- Taking a warm bath
- Changing your bedding
- Having an early night
- Reading a favourite book or magazine
It all counts.
Self-care and setting healthy boundaries with yourself, family and friends are important. Here are some ideas of how to take care of yourself all year round:
• Create positive space as much as possible, keep your mental health and wellbeing in mind. Take walks in nature, or just get some fresh air standing by the back door. Do what feels manageable, without feeling overwhelmed.
• Plan things for yourself that help bring you a little sparkle. Self-Care is in the little things: planning your favourite meal. Changing your bedding. Putting fresh towels out. It all counts.
• Be gentle with the things you say to yourself.
• Make sure you don’t run out of your prescribed medication. Make any calls needed to your healthcare providers, so that you know their opening hours and treatment arrangements over the Bank Holidays
• Have a list of numbers of people you can call if you’re struggling – talk to your doctor if you’re struggling, or Samaritans are on 116 123, 24/7. Samaritans now also have a self-help app that promotes kindness to yourself.
• Know your ‘walk-away points’ e.g. decide how you’ll know when it’s time to leave. Think about your resilience and how healthy (or unhealthy) it is to stay in situations that feel uncomfortable. Know your early warning signs of anxiety, so you can take positive action when needed.
• Get comfortable saying ‘no’, and not explaining yourself. You can say things like “Thank you, that doesn’t work for me”.
• Practice a form of relaxation before going into crowded, busy or noisy places. Try focusing on your breathing and allowing the breath to relax your body. Notice the coolness of breath as you breathe in, and the warmness of breath as you breathe out.
• Remember, organising events like birthdays and Christmas don’t have to be perfect. Good enough is enough.
If you know someone who is struggling, don’t wait for them to come to you. Reach out, ask them how they are. Then ask again. Drop them a text message, or give them a call to show you care. Be in your mate’s corner.
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©️ Delphi Ellis 2018, updated 2020.