I always wonder what people think when they read the words self care. Do you think it is selfish? Or incredibly important? Or does it not even cross your mind?
For me, it means anything that involves being kind to yourself. One of the main reasons I started to look after my mental health more was because I realised I was not being kind to myself, I was not thinking about myself and I was not taking time to put myself first.
A lot of having depression is being tired, overwhelmed and even small tasks can become difficult. Self care does not have to take time out of your day. The best way is to pop little bits of joy into your everyday. Normal things like taking a bath can become part of a self care routine. Self care can be so many different things. From simply sipping a cup of tea to going on a holiday with your best friend.
Here are a few small everyday self care things I do…
Staying well hydrated! Yes, I know everyone says this is important. If you’re going on a diet, if you’re feeling tired, if you’re skin is breaking out…drink more water! But it is important! When I’m at work I drink loads of water (I work in a care home, it’s about a hundred degrees) but on my days off I can go a whole day hardly drinking any water. I find myself drinking tea throughout the day and then downing water before I go to bed, which results in needed to pee all night… I am slowly trying to improve my bad habit of not drinking water at home. Drinking water improves energy, brain function, prevent headaches and it can even help with weight loss. I’ve found having jug in the fridge helps so there’s always cold water at hand. Having a glass in front of me helps too.
As mentioned earlier… baths! Baths are a great way of soaking the day away. I use either bubbles or bath salts if I’m not planning on washing my hair. (I am currently writing this blog whilst in the bath) I do find a lot of comfort in taking a bath and little extras like candles makes it feel like I am pampering myself! Bring a book, audio book or music and I could sit there for hours. And of course lather yourself in moisturiser afterwards.
Having fresh flowers around the house. Buying flowers does not have to be an expensive treat. I mean Lidl sell some for less than a fiver and they last ages! Being bought flowers is an added bonus of course. My mum often has flowers in her home so I think my love of flowers comes from this. One day I would love to have a garden of my own, and not a shared jungle out the back, and to be able to just go out and pick flowers to take inside.
I also think self care involves looking and feeling good about ourselves. I know that my mood lifts when I’ve taken some time to do my hair, make-up and wear something nice! This obviously doesn’t happen everyday, but most days now I make an effort, whereas before I could rock the no make-up greasy look for weeks. And I would like to point out this is for my benefit, not anyone else.
Listen to a favourite album! Even if it’s on the way to work, on the way home or whilst doing the dishes. Music is a wonderful thing. It can bring up memories, make you cry, make you want to dance, whatever it is, I try and listen to some sort of music everyday.
Trying to get outside at least once a day. This can be difficult with Edinburgh’s ever changing weather. But even if it’s only been for 10 minutes, like going to get some milk, getting some fresh air of any kind is beneficial.
As well as the little things, sometimes we need to do something a bit bigger. Maybe when the everyday stuff needs a bit of a boost!
Changing the bedding used to be the ultimate chore. I hated doing it and used to push it off for as long as possible. Now I love the feeling of getting into a clean bed with fresh sheets. Because I have found that joy I now don’t find it as much of a chore. I am also going to add reading in here (just because there’s a book in that picture). As a dyslexic it takes me foooooorever to read a book. It takes a lot of concentration and I get distracted really easily. This is why I have not put it under my every day self care, which it might be lots of you!
Having grown up surrounded my nature all the time my body and mind definitely crave some greenery. Edinburgh is great because there are spots of nature all around the city. But sometimes I crave, full on, out in the middle of no where nature. The picture above is at Camasunary Bothy which is on the Isle of Skye. The walk is about two and a half hours and the bothy is free for members of the public to use. My mum and I did this particular walk a few years ago in memory of someone very special to us who took his own life. I hope to go back and visit it soon.
Of course baking is my main form of self care. It’s the reason I started adding the other bits of self care into my life, it’s the reason I started this blog and starting writing about depression and it’s the reason I’ve put on a few pounds haha. Obviously, if you don’t actually enjoy baking there is no point putting yourself through the time it takes to create something. But I love the process and the longer it takes, the better.
Going to therapy. Yes, I’ve included this as self care because going to therapy is for yourself, right? What a weird and wonderful thing therapy is. The first few sessions are awkward, upsetting and mentally exhausting. And then all of a sudden you have this therapeutic bond with someone and all the jigsaw pieces of your life start creating a picture and starts to make sense. Finding the right person is definitely a huge part of the success in therapy and I have been very lucky it did not take me long.
I’m sure I could sit here for ages thinking of all the things I do which could be classes as self care but my bath is getting cold and the TV is calling my name!
What do you for self care?