The term ‘self-care’ is seemingly everywhere at the moment. But what exactly does self-care mean? Is self-care having a bubble bath or going out for a walk or are there more layers to this term? In this blog, I will be exploring how we can take better care of ourselves, not just physically, but mentally as well.
What is self-care?
The Self Care Forum defines self-care as: ‘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.’
The truth of the matter is that so many of us are so busy in the hectic merry go round that is life, we don’t have time to stop and ponder about how we can take better care of ourselves. Self-care is deemed as being a luxury for a lot of people, especially parents, carers or shift workers or those who work very long hours or have lengthy commutes. What is important, is that we think about how we can implement more time for wellbeing and doing things which nurture our soul, even just for 15 minutes a day.
- It’s the cliché of clichés but having a bubble bath is a simple way of taking 15 minutes out of your busy schedule just to focus on relaxing, I find that this gives the mind a chance to slow down, and it can help to ease those tense muscles. You could also consider giving yourself a face mask, painting your toenails, or if you have the time and the money, have a spa day, massage or reflexology session.
- Go for a coffee with a friend- have the cake if you want it! (Make mine a Welsh cake please)
- Make time for hobbies- creative colouring, knitting, reading, whatever floats your boat and makes you happy- do more of this!
These self-care ideas don’t have to take a long time and despite this, you should feel better for taking some time out to do something for you. These small acts of self-care can have a really positive impact on both your short- term and long- term wellbeing.
Physical Self Care
Another element of self-care is how we look after ourselves physically for optimum wellbeing. This is obviously an extremely subjective subject, but here are just a couple of my personal thoughts about physical self- care.
- Food and nutrition- focus on nourishing your body with goodness rather than deprivation and focusing too heavily on a scale number or dress size or on being ‘bad’ or ‘good’. Self-care to me is about accepting the body you have and working with it to provide it with the nourishment it needs in order for it to continuing working efficiently.
- Exercise- One of my favourite quotes is ‘Work out because you love your body not because you hate it’. I love exercise. I love body combat, body pump and Zumba and for me personally I exercise because it is good for my mental health and not for any aesthetic reason. The release of endorphins is a real mood booster and to be honest I wish I’d have known this years ago. Don’t punish yourself, instead do something you enjoy; walking, swimming, a gym class, yoga, whatever it might be. It is a case of trial and error, what works for someone else might not work for you.
- Hydrate- Make a mental note to keep hydrated throughout the day, aim to drink 2 litres, more if it’s very hot or you’ve been exercising.
- Sleep- make sure you are getting enough! For sleep tips please refer to previous blog. http://kellyzilz.co.uk/general/sleep/
Self-care also means taking care of yourself mentally as well, which a lot of people may not realise. Here are some ideas for you.
- Boundaries- do not be afraid of saying no- if something is going to affect your mental health in a negative way, it is OK to say no.
- Taking steps to love and accept yourself- stopping the negative self-talk- and try not to be critical of yourself. You are doing the best you can and by criticizing yourself is not going to help the situation.
- Stop comparing yourself to others! It is not helpful or beneficial to your mental or emotional health-end of discussion! I do struggle with this now still, but the truth of the matter is you do not know what anyone else is going through and everyone is at different stages of their journey. Spending time wishing you looked like someone else or wanting the supposed success or achievement of others is just a waste of time. We are all different there is no such thing as perfect.
- Be thankful -it doesn’t sound much like an act of self-care, but by writing down three things you are grateful for every day can help for you to shift your mindset to celebrating the things you have rather than focussing on what you don’t have.
- Connection and support- if you are struggling there is no shame in reaching out for help. Reach out a family member, a friend, a doctor, a charity organisation. This is self-care in its very essence.
We are all busy, but it is really important to make time for you and to focus on your mental and physical wellbeing. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Make time for yourself daily, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Take steps to work on your mental wellbeing, acknowledge if you need help and support. Everyone is different, what your mind and body needs right now will differ from day to day so listen to that little voice inside- If it’s telling you to make time to rest then try to find some time, even for a bubble bath or a walk.
Take care of yourselves lovelies. See you next month x