The truth about ‘self-care’
As far as I can see, self-care is too often pitched by sleek, photoshopped instagram models telling us that merely drinking more glasses of water and putting on face masks are the steps to a perfect life. In reality, self-care is actually far less glamorous. Self-care is described as ‘the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress’. It’s the way in which we keep ourselves afloat when we feel as though we are sinking.
For some, the case may be that self-care is spending a cosy night in with a cup of tea and a book, and I am in no way denying the ways in which that can soothe our souls. But this post is going to focus around the simpler and more basic elements of self-care that we often neglect and see as too insignificant to matter. They are important and integral elements of looking after ourselves and our mental health, and whilst you shouldn’t feel bad for not being able to/having the energy to fulfil each and every one every single day, it is worth celebrating these little achievements when we follow them even despite not feeling like it when we are low.
6 simple self-care tips
1. Ensuring that we eat.
We aren’t always feeling up to cooking, but eating is still extremely important in order to fuel our bodies, so don’t feel bad if it isn’t a gourmet meal, just ensure that you are maintaining strength and feeding yourself. The link between gut health and the way we feel is scientifically proven, so looking after ourselves by eating the best we can is one important piece of the wellness puzzle.
2. Letting light in.
It sounds small, and you might not have considered it to be self-care before now, but opening the curtains and letting the light into your home can be symbolic of letting the light into your life. Plus, it certainly helps to not be cooped up in the dark all day.
3. Going outside and getting fresh air.
I recognise that this isn’t always possible, and it really isn’t something that we’re always up for, but if you are able to, it will help. Just look at all the research on ‘Blue Mind’ and green spaces. Being in the outdoors is good for us, and walking amongst nature is even better.
4. Clearing your living space.
Often it helps to declutter the spaces in which we reside in order to allow us to do the same with our minds. Again, science tells us we feel better when we create space in our environment. The simple act of focusing on cleaning can also help to distract and give us something productive to do. Better still, pop some of your favourite music on while you’re doing it; those uplifting tunes you always find yourself humming along to.
5. Knowing when to say yes, and when to say no.
Sometimes, self-care can be making plans and getting out of the house and socialising. Other times, it can be cancelling plans or not even making them in the first place in order to not burn ourselves out. Before you say ‘yes’, ask yourself… if I say yes to this, what am I saying no to? And what is it I really need in this moment?
6. Show yourself kindness and patience.
Small steps are still steps forward, and making ourselves feel guilty for not instantly being able to achieve our biggest goals never helped anyone. Remember to show yourself the same compassion that you would to others- this is one of the most important points on the list!
I would love to hear any other elements of self-care that you feel deserve a place on the list, so please do leave a comment letting me know what self-care practices you follow and deem important parts of daily coping 🙂