Self-care. We've been hearing it so much lately, specially in the past two years. I think this is part-and-parcel of the increasingly defined mental health care our society is currently focussing on.
Have you thought about your self-care? How do you practice it? How do you let it manifest in your everyday life?
I'm an 80's kid. It was the decade of the "working girl", power suits, working lunches and multi-tasking. Multi-tasking! The more hats, or balls, or roles (pick your favourite) you can juggle, the more admirable you are.
If you drop one, meaning to say, if an aspect of your life falls apart, you just add two more! No complaining, no resting - we powered through it! To rest was a sign of weakness and a signal for the sharks to circle around. It was like musical chairs, darkly.
That was the environment I, and I trust, a lot of us grew up in.
In the past decade, we've been changing our collective attitude over this. We've realised that we need to take care of ourselves. We've realised that mental health is actually "a thing". We've realised that burning the candle at both ends isn't a badge of honour we thought it was.
How do you "do" your Self-Care?
Sometimes I marvel at the very long time it took for us, as a society, to come to this realisation. However, if I think about it, wide-sweeping changes do take time; specially if we want it to really stick.
Now, we have awareness campaigns over mental health, dedicated services, and anti-stigma campaigns to encourage people to seek help. Self-care courses in various forms are now available to fit into our everyday life, so we can access them whenever.
The forms of self-care are many, to put it plainly. They can be anything from professional help to taking a nap.
Let's go through simple, everyday things we can do to "do" self-care:
1. Give yourself a time-out.
Take a nap; let's start with this. If you feel tired, or just want to pause the day, take a nap. Maybe you'd like a luxurious soak in the tub? Go ahead and make it an at-home spa day! If you have an area in the garden, and if the weather is good, why not sit in the shade and read? Or listen to your favourite podcast? Or just enjoy your garden?
2. Sweat a bit.
Exercise, do some yoga, do some gardening, dance like it's no-one's business! Elevate the heart rate; this helps improve your circulation and releases endorphins, endocannabinoids, and dopamine as well as improves neuro-plasticity. Other people can explain these better, so look 'em up!
Bottom-line, exercise = good for you!
3. Unleash your creativity!
Ok, now don't start saying "I can't draw!"; you don't have to be Van Gough! You just have to allow yourself to enjoy! Doodle, craft, bake, make an experimental smoothie! Enjoy your creativity, even if the smoothie ends up undrinkable (haha).
4. Give your loved ones a big bear hug!...no explanations needed....but still...
The emotional support we get from this simple, physical connection is important to anchor us and make us feel grounded. Ok, what if you are by yourself? Reach out to friends. Reach out on your social media. Reach out to FB Groups and such.
5. Enjoy the silly things!
Pick something on any of the streaming services and enjoy. Caveat - don't just scroll! Endless scrolling will have the exact opposite effect because you might end up feeling like you're wasting your time.
So, pick something! Or maybe you play computer/console games? Go and play! Enjoy the catharsis.
So, self-care, huh?
There was a time this term would have sounded silly and weak. Thank goodness that time is very, very far in the past.
Let's not go back to that. Let's move forward and care for ourselves. Because the more we care for ourselves, the more we can care for others as well; the more love we can share.
That's a beautiful thing.
Comment below what your favourite self-care practice is!