Girl, Interrupted

©JODIE GOODACRE

The Importance of Self-Care

October 17, 2016

You may be asking yourself ‘what is self-care?’ and you wouldn’t be the only one! This is a concept that was completely alien to me until a month back when I started training with Time to Change where I was first introduced to the idea. Though some of the other ‘Young Champions’ at the training had already ‘conquered’ the act of self-care, like myself there were many who were totally baffled by this idea, ‘what do you mean I have to take care of myself?!’. From a young age you are taught to always be kind to each other, to share, to be a good friend/family member - so why is it that being kind to yourself is overlooked? The problem is, I don’t believe a lot of people know how, and there are perceptions of what ‘self-care’ must involve. Common suggestions are ‘Yoga’, ‘Meditation’ and ‘watching a film’, so what if you dislike these things, it must mean self-care isn’t for you, right? No, the beauty of self-care is that it is entirely guided by you, it should be fun, relaxing, calming and not feel forced in your daily routine – you should do it because you want to and you like the way it makes you feel.

 

 

So what exactly is self-care?

 

Self-care is those actions in which we undertake to look after our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. They are acts which personally nourish us, calm us, comfort us and make us feel good. Due to the variety of personal circumstances the actual activities will vary from person to person, what may work wonders for someone may actually be detrimental to another. It is therefore in some senses a ‘trial and error’ of getting in tune with your mind and body and finding what works for YOU. This can include those acts which as seen as ‘essentials’ such as maintaining a healthy diet, keeping good personal hygiene and getting enough sleep. Though these may seem like simple and small tasks, for some such tasks can be incredibly difficult and take vast amounts of energy.

 

Why is self-care so important?

 

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day

 

Endorphin release – Many self-care activities have physical benefits, which have a direct correlation to our mental health, for example exercising, releases endorphins (the feel good hormone) that can consequently ‘boost’ an individuals mood.

 

Stop burning the candle at both ends – By taking time out to care for yourself you are able to remind yourself that your needs are important too. When you feel cared for it can lead to a sense of relaxation and contributes to overall wellbeing. Those that have a habit, I know many of us can relate, of neglecting their own needs and forgetting to nurture themselves which can lead to greater unhappiness and lack of self-esteem. Many people are also always putting others needs first and being the ‘caretaker’, this can result is ‘burning out’ and becoming so exhausted that it is much more difficult to care for yourself and others, therefore by allowing yourself time for ‘self-care’ can actually make you a better ‘caretaker’.  

 

Self-worth – Kick out the negative thoughts! Sometimes our minds can be incredibly unpleasant, they lead us to believe that our needs are not important and that we don’t matter, WE DO! By allowing time in the day for some ‘self-care’ we are fighting these thoughts, we are standing up to them and saying, “Hey, you know what, you are wrong and I am worthy”. Simple right? Unfortunately no, it is not always that easy I’m afraid, you may feel some resistance at first and your mind may fight back, kicking and screaming. The truth is practice makes perfect, the more we practice, the more we will believe.

 

These are just some examples, the list of benefits is endless! Try it out and see how it makes you feel! 

Self-Care Ideas

 

It can be hard think of ideas for 'self-care' particularly when you might be feeling overwhelmed by emotions so I have created a list of 100 starter ideas that you may like to try. 

 

  1. Write a journal

  2. Drink a mug of soothing tea

  3. Having a “positive box” filled with things that make you feel good

  4. Grab some fresh air and sunlight…

  5. …But also allow yourself a PJ day when you need it

  6. Exercise

  7. Go cloud watching

  8. Meditate

  9. Have a digital detox – step away from the technology for a while, don’t let it rule your life

  10. Treat yourself

  11. Go on a bike ride

  12. Learn to say “No” (or “Yes”) more often – vocalise your needs!

  13. Stay hydrated

  14. Write a letter to yourself and post it

  15. Play a video game

  16. Go to a comedy club

  17. Don’t compare yourself to others

  18. Travel to somewhere new

  19. Develop a sleep routine

  20. Pilates

  21. Buy a magazine

  22. Listen to some soothing or upbeat songs

  23. Start a compliments file  - read back on all the wonderful things people have said about you

  24. Read some poetry

  25. Finish the sentence “I love myself because I….”

  26. If you play an instrument try learning a new song

  27. Get some rest

  28. Complete the ‘lurker’ task that you keep putting off

  29. Do some gentle stretches

  30. Care for a plant

  31. Join a support group

  32. Create a “Today I can” rather than a “To-do List”

  33. Get a manicure or pedicure

  34. Put on a face mask

  35. Learn the basics of a new language

  36. Be completely still

  37. Wear soft, comfy clothing

  38. Play a board game

  39. Sing your heart out

  40. Get a massage

  41. Go camping

  42. Start a blog

  43. Forgive yourself

  44. Go out and take some photos

  45. Have a dance

  46. Watch funny youtube videos

  47. Go to a market

  48. Go to an antique shop

  49. Write out a list of things you have overcome or accomplished

  50. Go to a local cafe

  51. Go through your calendar and schedule “me time”

  52. Know your strengths

  53. Book a night at a hotel

  54. Watch some TV or a film

  55. Make an inspiring collage and put it on your wall

  56. Eat some chocolate

  57. Wrap up in blankets

  58. Ask for help

  59. Find your inner chef and do some cooking

  60. Learn something new

  61. Look at some beautiful pieces of art

  62. Volunteer

  63. Write a postcard and send it to a long-distance loved one

  64. Go through your wardrobe and clear out the stuff you no longer wear and donate it to charity

  65. Listen to an audiobook

  66. Cuddle something or someone

  67. Do some meal prep for the week

  68. Find a scent you find relaxing

  69. Declutter

  70. Schedule any needed check ups

  71. Learn to knit

  72. Listen to your body

  73. Rearrange your furniture

  74. Create a plan for when you are feeling overwhelmed

  75. Go to a park

  76. Allow yourself to cry

  77. East a meal in silence

  78. Write out a list of reasons why you will be okay

  79. Use your vacation time

  80. Practice mindfulness

  81. Write out a list of why you are a good, worthy and loveable person

  82. Take a long shower

  83. Get creative with some arts & crafts

  84. Spend some time in the garden

  85. Pet an animal

  86. Read a book

  87. Light a candle

  88. Watch the stars

  89. Buy some flowers

  90. Write out a list of things that makes your life beautiful

  91. Take your vitamins

  92. Look through old photos and memories

  93. Cherish your family and friends

  94. Eat Well

  95. Take a long warm bubble bath

  96. Be honest about what you need

  97. Have a quick nap

  98. Edit your social media and get rid of any negative people

  99. Yoga

  100. Just be you. Be yourself, your wonderful self.

 

Still no idea where to start with ‘self-care’? The Blurt Foundation put together a worksheet (below), which can help you to create a start up plan to look back on if you are in need of some inspiration.

 

 

I’d like to feel...

 

 

The things that comfort me are:

 

 

The top three people I enjoy spending time with:

 

 

The three people who make me feel icky:

 

 

Things I’d like to try (food, crafts, adventures):

 

 

Dreams which still play on my mind:

 

 

The teeniest of steps I could take towards one of those dreams is:

 

 

Three items I’m putting up with/could do with an upgrade:

 

 

My favourite smell is:

 

 

 

Let me know in the comments below how your 'self-care' is going and what you find works well for you! For now that is all from me, keep a look out over the next week as I will be blogging about the Stigma that comes along with 'Halloween'. 

 

I hope the rest of the day treats you all kindly. Until next time. 

 

Jodie 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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