Mental Health

What ‘self care’ means to me

The words ‘self care’ get thrown around a lot these days and often associated with long soaks in the bath or a boujee face mask. And whilst they are parts of self care in a sense, to me self care is much less superficial and a little less easy to summarise.

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Self care to me is strong boundaries; saying no to the things that don’t bring you joy and at times having to be selfish in order to protect your mental well being. It’s not making plans when you know you don’t want to or saying to someone, I’m not really in the right head space to continue this conversation. It’s muting friends on social media, who you don’t want to offend but you don’t have the energy to look at their new post about how much weight they’ve lost.

It’s also stimulating your brain by carving out time away from social media, to get lost in a book, a gritty true crime podcast, learning to play a new instrument or my favourite guilty pleasure: arrow words and cross words.

Self care is communicating and saying “I feel like shit” out loud. There is sometimes power in saying it a loud. It’s accepting your emotions and not trying to bottle them up or trying to rush get through uncomfortable feelings quickly or deny that they exist.

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Sometimes self care is just brushing your hair, showering or cooking a meal that isn’t take out with one vegetable when you’ve spent a week feeling like looking after yourself in any capacity is like climbing a mountain.

Journaling for me is a massive part of self care. Delving into emotions and past and present feelings and I wrote this list based around CLANG, something I spoke about in my things therapy taught me post. The days I journal, I notice a huge difference in my temperament. I recognise it’s not for everyone but writing has always been very healing for me.

I think essentially self care is finding those things that ignite joy and enhance self love that protect you physically, mentally and even spiritually.

As we draw closer to the end of another lockdown and gloomier days and Christmas where the expectation is often to be jolly and merry, when sometimes, you just are trying hard to exist, I thought I would share some self care ideas that came to me when I was journalling the other week. In case they help anyone else in anyway or inspire you to create your own self care list that you can crawl to when those days start to a feel a little hollow and your energy is waning thin.

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Self care ideas

Connect: talk to someone about what’s bothering you or just have some form of communication

Learn: read something, play piano, do a puzzle/crossword, watch something educational

Active: yoga, go for a walk

Notice: meditate, mindfulness

Give: give your time, give to charity, be there for someone else

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