I think it’s pretty obvious nowadays what the benefits of self-care are, isn’t it? So why do we repeatedly shove ourselves down to the bottom of the To-Do list when it comes to looking after ourselves? Why do we sit doom-scrolling through the entire internet instead of maybe popping on a face mask, or having an early night, or continuously put others first instead of watching a soppy film while we do the ironing? Is it something perhaps women are more guilty of than men?
If what we see on the outside is a reflection of what’s on the inside then perhaps it’s time to look at not what the benefits are, but what the cause of our denial is, instead.
Why is self-care so hard?
Whether it’s regular showering, cleaning our teeth, making sure we go to the doctor, having a haircut or splurging on new clothes. Self Care is a big umbrella for what essentially means – do something that’s good for your body and for your mind.
And yet while it’s blatantly obvious what we should be doing and it’s just as obvious why we should be doing it, we frequently end up going to bed way too late, not bothering to drink enough water, skipping meals, forgoing exercise.. The list of what we don’t do can often be longer than what we have done.
It’s hard to make good decisions when you’re tired. If we were going to recommend anything as a “self-care” priority, it would be to get a full 8 hours of sleep per night.
If sleep is the number one priority in the self-care regime, then staying hydrated is a close second. It leads to better decisions when it comes to food (thirst is often mistaken by our brains as hunger), it makes us sleep better, it improves our skin tone meaning we automatically feel happier.
Got a fancy new smartwatch for Christmas and want to count your daily steps to ensure you keep moving but also feel virtuous? Have you set the target as something achievable or are we all just going for 20,000 per day?! If you drive to work each day to a desk-bound job then you have no doubt set yourself up for failure. Be realistic in your goals. What can you actually achieve in the spare time you have per day? Try achieving that goal for a couple of weeks and THEN up your game.
Limit the News
While keeping informed and up to date is just basic human-ing, doom scrolling your Twitter feed and reading every inane comment on each and every post is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Stop it.
Confusing self-indulgence with self-care
While the two can seem interlinked or even mistaken for each other, recognising that self-care provides long term nourishment and strengthening of the body and mind, is key. Think of it in terms of eating pudding. To do so once is a treat, a reward, a thing that makes you happy, some self-care. To do so every night just because you can, is not.
Ideas for self-care
Wrap up warm and go for a walk
Buy yourself a new house plant or a bunch of cheerfully coloured flowers. Position them somewhere you can properly appreciate them
Do some deep breathing or meditation for 5 – 15 minutes
Start a new book (no peeking to the end, either!)
Spring clean a room, corner or cupboard
Make a cake and take it to a neighbour to share over a cup of tea and a chat
Paint your nails or pop on a face mask
Have a soak in a hot bath and an early night
Start a gratitude journal – there are a lot of small things to be thankful for
Invite a friend for dinner or make something really nice for yourself.
Eat your evening meal in a different place to your usual routine – at the table or in a different chair (one of Liz’s favourite tips!)
Take a walk instead of eating lunch at your desk – even if you work in the middle of an industrial estate in the back end of nowhere, it’s still BETTER for you than sitting at your desk dropping crumbs into your keyboard!
Finish a task you have been putting off for ages…
Make something creative. A framed picture, an upcycled piece of furniture, or have a go at doodling something with a simple biro.
Any tips you would add? Let us know!
We have a new book out! It’s a beautifully hand-illustrated book called Who Am I? You can read more about it here.
Over on our Facebook page we love showcasing the very best the internet has to offer in the form of curated articles and videos from all these sites and more, covering well thought out opinions on stress, anxiety and depression, forwarding inspiring quotes, videos on the human psyche, news in art, culture, therapy and music. If we find it useful, interesting or inspirational we will share it.
If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, addiction, panic attacks, feeling overwhelmed or just simply want to talk, please get in touch to book a one-to-one session with either Jo or Liz. Sessions are either in person or via Skype, Zoom or Teams and are completely confidential.