I read an article the other day about how ‘we’re doing self care wrong’. It was a bit of a click-bait title to be honest (isn’t everything online at the moment?) but the content did make a point. The gist of the article was that the idea or ‘trend’ for self-care isn’t as simple as take a bath, meditate and have an early night. It’s a little more individual than that and what it’s really about is learning what you need and being able to either communicate that or make it happen for yourself (or a bit of both).
It’s easy to see the various articles, posts and instagrams showing self care is as simple as a bubble bath or a cup of coffee. Which you know what – it might just be that simple. Or it might be leaving your toxic job and starting a new career over. It might be saying no to social plans for a week because you just want some time alone, catching up on sleep and doing life-admin. It might be going on a shopping spree and finding yourself a fresh style. It might be making an appointment with a counsellor. Booking a spa day. Or just a bubble bath and an early night.
I could go on listing various endless ways you can find ways to practice self-care. But that’s not the point of this post. The point is more about firstly – self-care is important. But secondly – self care is TOTALLY individual. The internet has this special way of putting a sort of silent pressure on you to try and make you feel like you have to follow certain trends, do things a certain way or that everyone else seems to have their lives totally together. The big challenge with self care is to see through all the noise and work out what self care truly means to you and take those steps to make sure it happens.
Time off from the internet
One way I’ve ‘practiced self care’ in the last year or so – although I was doing it before I knew it could fall under that ‘title’ – is to actively take time away from the internet on a regular basis. In general I don’t spend as much time on social media or computers in general at weekends. It means I feel I have more of a life/work balance between my blog/online life and my weekend/personal life. There’s a lot of pressure on bloggers/instagrammers/you tubers etc to be online all the time but once I realised that it’s actually ok to take time away and the internet will still be there when you get back I felt a lot happier in my self. So now it’s something I actively try to do regularly.
It can also be a great thing to do to go through your feeds and maybe clear out any accounts you find that don’t make you feel good. Don’t feel you have to follow people because of internet politics or an obligation. Follow the ones you want to – you might LOVE following someone on twitter but perhaps their Instagram maybe gives you a case of the FOMO or comparison joy-stealing. That’s ok. Do what feels right for you to feel good.
Make pampering a priority
I know I said at the start about self care maybe not being as simple as a bubble bath. But it can be. It can be that quiet night in. Pampering, scrubbing, and moisturising yourself into a smooth and silky version of yourself. All those little things of looking after yourself can make all the difference. I don’t know if it’s just me but I know that things like having my nails done (have definitely become gel nail convert in 2017) just make me feel good immediately. It’s one of these sorts of ‘small things’ that I really want to make sure I make a priority as I move into life as a mum, because I know how it makes me feel – so I know it’s important. Even if it does seem frivolous.
If your diary is jam packed with juggling work/kids/life already then maybe doubling up a social plan and a nail appointment – meet a friend for catch ups over a manicure. Or pick up some good overnight beauty products like a hair or face mask that you can apply before bed and sleep in. Minimal time commitment, but lovely to wake up with skin with some TLC
Make time for life admin
Sometimes when I’m feeling a bit frazzled or overwhelmed it comes down to feeling disorganised and not having a handle on the various spinning plates in my life. When I have one of those ‘to do’ lists that eternally get pushed down the priority order. Sometimes for me a bit of ‘self care’ is as simple as making time in my diary to make these small things that might not have deadlines or clients chasing me for but I get that satisfying feeling of ticking off the list and feeling like my life is in order. What better way to self care than feel like my life is in order – making me feel a whole lot more ready to tackle other ‘bigger’ projects and you-know… life in general. So take a couple of hours, or an afternoon and chase those outstanding invoices, book that dentist appointment and feel like you have your sh*t together like the fully functioning, organised adult you are.
Speak to someone (or don’t)
Now, please definitely note I am in NO WAY an expert on self care or any form of mental health and wouldn’t want to give any sort of formal advice at all. I’m not a professional and if you feel you need help then please, please DO speak to your doctor or a mental health professional. Which is what I’m trying to get to – if you feel you’re struggling to put your finger on what you need. Or perhaps have that niggling feeling that the help you need is the sort a professional can deliver then please do this. Or even call a trusted friend and chat to them about whatever you feel you need to. Or if the opposite is the case and you just want some time on your own – then take a night to yourself.
Whatever it is that self care means to you, the first step is working out what that is and the second step is making it happen. Whatever form it takes I hope it is exactly what you need and gives you those warm and fuzzies of feeling good and ready to take on the world.
If you do feel you want to talk to someone further then Mind has a series of contact numbers that is a great place to start: mind.org.uk/contact