Self care is talked about a lot when working in a caring profession but I believe it is important for us all, we live in a stressful world full of pressures and outside influences. I studied counselling and psychotherapy for 3 years and learned a lot about self care for me personally and I’ll be sharing some of my tips
1 – Preparation
Being prepared for the day or week ahead is so helpful in caring for yourself. We all spend so much time rushing around to get things done, if we do things in advance to help us in the days ahead it alleviates that stress. It may take up a few hours of one day but in the long run it’ll do you good. Cook in batches, iron your clothes for the week ahead or do a weekly shop so each day you don’t have the panic and stress of day to day routines.
2 – Me Time
Me time is just that, time for me. I personally need time alone, i need time to watch my embarrassing TV addictions or read a book in peace, or cook, I hate to cook with people around I like it as a relaxing creative time no interruptions. Lighting candles in the evening is a treat for me, it creates a relaxing atmosphere for me and really does make me that bit more content. Ask yourself what you enjoy doing alone, maybe a bath? A Walk or run? Or maybe it’s just eating a meal with no distractions or interruptions, which I hear for mothers is their favourite thing to do. Whatever it is you choose to do alone, go for it, try and do something a couple times a week just for you.
3 – Get creative
This can be anything that gets your mind going in a direction of imagination and creativity. For me I write or I cook. I cook without planning, I will go into the kitchen grab a few things and whip up something… I’m not saying it always works out well, but at least I enjoy the process. Other ideas for this would be; reading a novel, painting, drawing, playing music, building something… anything that you enjoy as a creative activity will be great for inspiring you and calming you down and making you feel happy.
4 – Kind thoughts
We criticise ourselves so much on a day to day basis that we don’t even realise most of the time, all the thoughts that float in and out of our heads that are just not being fair to ourselves. A good technique to be kind to yourself is every day write down, say out loud or even just in our head think of three positive things about yourself and try to think of new things each day as much as you can. Think of your day before and compliment yourself on what you achieved. There’s always more then 3 we just need to be nicer to ourselves to find them.
5 – Block out negativity
This seems obvious but it’s very hard. There are negative things we have to deal with all the time but its how you manage them, I try to say once I’ve sat down to have my dinner no more negativity, so anyone that you have negative associations with you stop communicating with, you try to do positive things for yourself and the people around you, even try some of the other self care techniques. I remember one of my lecturers telling me, he’d watch the 5 O’clock news on a particular station and then he wouldn’t engage with the news again until the following day, his take on it was it was good to be informed and keep up to day but there is no point in having all the negative news swimming around in the back of your mind too much throughout the day.
These are my tips for Self Care, but I think it’s important to mention that sleeping well, eating a balanced diet and doing some form of exercise weekly will help your overall health and well being, but adding in one or two of these self care techniques used on a weekly basis should help you to maintain and improve your positive mental health and deal with all those daily stresses that we realistically all could do without.
Thanks for reading.