Self-care. Face masks. Baths. Wine. Holy fuck, I love that shit. Yet am I doing it properly? If there is a proper way to do it. ‘It’ being self-care. Facemasks aren’t going to solve the problems in your soul. Baths don’t wash away unresolved trauma. Nonetheless they beat smashing in cocaine and vodka sodas in some random kitchen til 6am.
Self-care is multifaceted, I think anyway. It’s the everyday things, making sure you have breakfast, taking a break from social media, leaving the house even for 10 minutes every day. I’m not great at keeping all these balls juggling. Lately having breakfast has been skipped several times. Not because I’m not hungry, but also because I don’t have the energy. Looking after yourself takes time and energy. Which is hard when you’re already feeling sluggish and low. Showering! My god, when I feel shit, I can go three days without showering. Especially if I don’t need to be anywhere or do anything.
Self-care also needs to be considered with technology as well. A while ago I turned off read receipts on what’s app. It was honestly the best thing I ever did. ‘Being left on read’ man, that used to send me CRAZY. ‘Why aren’t they replying?’ ‘Have I upset them?’ ‘Oh god. What’s happened?’ I put it on the same level as being ignored in a face to face setting. When in reality, this person doesn’t owe me an immediate response. They can read and reply in their own time, and you know what? So can I. It really helps not knowing if they’ve seen my message or not, it takes away the obsessing. I also like the fact I can read a message and not feel rude that I didn’t immediately reply. Even though it isn’t rude.
I changed some settings in my phone, and these in turned switched off notifications for what’s app and Instagram. At first it was annoying, and then it began to feel freeing. I don’t need to be at the beck and call of anyone 24/7. Of course, I still regularly check my phone, but now it takes me a couple hours until I’ve read a message where previously I would do it instantly. I feel more in control of myself and my time when my phone isn’t constantly bleating at me.
So, there’s so many facets to self-care. It isn’t just face masks and baths. It’s genuine care for yourself and mind. Keeping yourself fed and clean, but also looking after your mind.
I get affected this time of year by the lack of sun and darker evenings. I find it harder to get out of bed in the morning (sometimes until the afternoon), and I don’t want to feel this way. I’d love to jump up at 6am, go for a run, drink my green smoothie, instagram #inspo, write a novel and save a baby from a burning building all before I sit down to a healthy brunch. Yet I have to be realistic. I’m not a morning person. My mind is more active at night, and that’s okay.
Yet, staying in bed all day, skipping breakfast, and not changing out of PJs isn’t caring for myself. I feel better when I start the day well. When there’s some semblance of structure. I’ve set myself little self-care tasks. These may seem miniscule to some, but they really help me.
- I time myself brushing my teeth for two minutes. Set the timer on my Fitbit and just stand and brush until it goes off. It’s a little pause at the start and end of the day whilst also caring for my oral hygiene. The timer makes it finite, I don’t have to do anything other than brush.
- I’ve got a rose quartz face roller (see here) that I bought as part of one of my self-care packages. I keep it in the fridge and every evening after washing my face and applying some hyaluronic acid I roll it over my forehead, jaw and neck. I hold so much tension in my jaw, and this bit of care helps me focus on releasing that tension and it feels good.
- I’m starting a 10-minute a day quest. Firstly, I am going to do 10 minutes of meditation every day for 10 days. That’s it. It’s a brief moment to pause, breathe, and listen to someone’s soothing voice. I find it grounds and calms me, and enables me to undertake my tasks for the day with less anxiety. I’m going to find a new activity every 10 days, I’m sure some will stick beyond their initial 10 days. Some won’t and that’s okay.
- At least two cups of peppermint tea a day. It’s delicious, warm and hydrating. Bish bash bosh.
- Write something every day. Doesn’t matter what it is. My journal at the end of the day. A long rambling rant on my mac. An edit or post to my blog. A stupid haiku about a cat I saw. It doesn’t matter what, just something every single day.
I find these tasks grounding. When I feel I have nothing to do, or any point to my day I make sure I have these. Like little tasks to complete. Everyone loves completing a tasks.
This is where I am starting, some days I manage it some days I don’t. I won’t beat myself up about that, but I will try. All these tasks are so short, and are spaced across the day. I try not to think of the day as a whole entity, then it becomes all too consuming. I break it down into smaller parts, and each of the above gives me several little breaks throughout.
It’s helping it really is. I’ve got a long way to go to solve a lot of the issues my mind kicks up. For so long I was so adamant I could solve them, easy. It’s just my mind. ‘Think myself better’ and when it failed, I was so unkind to myself. So I’ve stripped back. I’ve started small, and with kindness to myself.
So far so good. So far so good.