What Is Self-Care To You? My Favourite Self-Care Practices
The whole self-care thing really blew up in the blogging world a few years ago and to be honest after a whole lot of HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE it was a welcome change. And then in a lot of ways, it became overplayed and overdone and people got really annoyed at the whole thing. Then the media caught hold of the whole craze and of course, it just added to fuel to the millennials are lazy and entitled fire which really doesn't need anything more poking. And I hold my hands up, sometimes I definitely roll my eyes when it comes to the whole self-care thing but I know how important it is. And here are the things that I consider to be self-care and how I make sure it's something I'm practicing.
WHAT IS SELF CARE?
The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.
WHY PRACTICE IT?
Taking from the definition of what self-care is I feel like it's pretty self-explanatory why it's so important to so many of us. And for me, I simply do the things that I consider self-care to make sure I'm functioning my best so I can give everything my best in life. Like my relationship, my friendships, my job and finally myself. When you're completely burnt out you can't do anything well in life and it's all too easy to get yourself in that state.
I've gone through stages of being incredibly fatigued due to illness and then living off 4.5/5 hours of sleep and my sleep pattern is something that has been something I've really struggled with for a long time. I'm pretty sure I don't need to write why sleep is so important because we all know it is but it's rare I hear anybody say they're getting enough sleep and it's always a topic of conversation. And it's all too easy to get into the habit of thinking oh I'll just power through and that can work for a short time but when you keep on doing that all it does is make you exhausted and everything else suffers. Sleep is something that I really started to prioritise at the end of last year and continued into this year. Of course, getting a puppy did disrupt that for a while but now unless I'm poorly during the night [which does happen probably once a week] I can get a good 7-8 hours. It means that when I wake up I actually feel ok and ready to take on the day instead of just wanting to hide in my duvet. It is also something that makes an incredible difference to my mental state, it doesn't fix things but when I'm not exhausted I find it helps drastically with certain things.
THE LITTLE THINGS
I've always been a stickler for a routine that's for sure and there are certain things that I like to do on a daily basis that really do make a huge difference in my day. Things like my morning coffee and taking Josie out for a morning run around are things that really set my day up the right way. I'm sure we all have those little routines in our life that make us feel like we're totally bossing it and without them that things are crumbling a little.
Food has been a tricky area for me for a long time and this year it got even harder ever since I realised that fibre isn't something I can tolerate. But diet is something that I know is so important for my wellbeing and how I function day to day. I'm somebody who completely believes in balance when it comes to food, I don't cut anything out without reason and I try and have a bit of everything. As well as being a big believer in balance something else I believe in is food is fuel and I try not to make food this super emotional thing. As it can often take away from what food really is. Anyway balance, every meal I'm super conscious if what I'm eating is giving me the things I need and is rich in nutrients so that I'm fuelling my body for the day. And then I definitely believe in eating the food that you really enjoy, as much as food is fuel it should be something that you really enjoy and get pleasure from eating too. The moment that my diet goes in a direction that is a little too sugary I instantly notice a difference and there is such a thing as too much sugar.
I've spoken time and time again about how much fitness means to me. And I think unless you're somebody who also has the same sort of relationship with fitness it can be difficult to explain. I've not always thought this way about fitness either and it was something that I used to really dislike but now it's something that I consider self-care. It's not only something that has helped with my mental health an extraordinary amount but it's also helped me have a more positive relationship with my body. For so long I hated certain things about my body and the way that I looked and it took me way too long to realise that hating those things weren't going to change them. Appreciating my body for what it is and all the things it can do hasn't been easy but it makes me want to actually change the things I don't like instead of just hating them and not making an effort. Exercise or just simply moving around is one those things we're constantly told make a huge difference but it's not until you feel that difference that you believe it.
STEPPING AWAY FROM WORK
I'm incredibly fortunate that I'm able to pay my bills by doing something that I adore. But ultimately it's still a job and I work so hard at it to make it feasible and as much as I adore my job sometimes I do need to take a step back. I'm really bad for taking time off, I find it really hard and constantly have a voice in the back of my head telling me that I'm lazy the second that I step away. And ultimately the only person putting that pressure on me is myself and I do need to learn to take a step back. I'm all too aware of the importance of it and constantly going going going doesn't end up in a better workflow, it's just a one-way street to a burnout. Even if it's just for a few hours to take my puppy out on a long walk when I'm bogged down and stressed with work I can always notice a difference instantly, I feel this pressure lifted off me. We all have to work hard and we all have bills to pay but that doesn't mean we have to work ourselves into the ground, life isn't just about constantly working as there are so many other magical things life has to offer.
SMALL SELF-CARE STEPS
- Dog walks with my loved ones.
- Making my environment as nice as possible.
- Enjoying meal times rather than working through my breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Taking photographs.
- Having a shower or a bath.
- Putting on my makeup.
- Treating myself to fresh flowers.
- A book or a podcast.
- Watching my favourite shows.
What is self-care to you? How do you practice it?