Carole-Anne gives us some tips on self-care and sets some homework
We tend to think that self-care is a waste of time
The English way is that a successful person is one who is always accomplishing. If we were taught that sitting in the park and relaxing for two hours was praiseworthy, we would be proud of taking care of ourselves in that way. However, our culture is working against us, and we feel guilty for doing what we should be doing. We need to give ourselves permission to do less. We will never have serenity if our task list is so long that it does not allow for a little downtime. A lack of self-care causes stress. People, unfortunately, feel unworthy of self-care and many people are proud that they do not “need self-care”. To take care of ourselves is restorative. People who take care of themselves are happier and have more stamina to get more accomplished.
Know which self-care techniques work for you
Have a think about what has worked in the past & what has not worked so well. Self-care is critical & you may need to hire a babysitter for it. Some of the following are ways in which you can engage in self-care and they don’t cost a lot, if anything:
a) Get out in nature. It doesn’t have to be woodland if you don’t live close to any. Your local park, your garden, an allotment or even a walk which takes you down a pathway with trees is good enough!
b) Listen to music. If you have Spotify or Apple Music, look for an uplifting playlist. If not, put on your favourite power songs or something uplifting.
c) Get an adult colouring book. Available at most supermarkets, WH Smith, The Works, Wilkinsons etc. If you’re feeling bored or anxious, have a go at getting the pencils out and feel the benefits of zoning out.
d) Do a craft project. Check out Pinterest for ideas or have a google to see what comes up. Pebble painting is a mindful and fun task. Try hiding them in your local park/woods when you next go walking for someone to find. It will brighten their day as well as yours!
e) Garden. OR if you don’t garden, try house plants or a making your own indoor herb garden. Pinterest and Google are great for ideas once again. Nurturing something such as plants has been proven to be good for our mental health and wellbeing.
f) Have lunch with a friend.
g) Call someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time. Not only is this a chance to connect, but you’ll feel a sense of achievement once you have done it!
h) Journal. You don’t need to write a novel (unless you want to) but a few lines in a journal about how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking can be therapeutic in itself even if no one else is to see it. Try writing down 3 things you are grateful for at the end of your day. It may seem tricky sometimes to think of anything but it can be something as simple as being grateful for the yummy meal you made yourself, having a warm roof over your head to come back to when you’ve been outside in the cold etc.
i) Exercise. Exercise has been proven to benefit our mental health and our physical health. It can help reduce anxiety, depression, stress etc and is a great mood booster. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym. Try out 20 minute classes on Youtube to get your heartrate up. They’re free, short and you can do them from the comfort of your own home!
n) Cuddle with a dog/cat. If you’re fortunate enough to have a furry friend at home then get cuddling. They bring love and connection when you’re feeling low. If not, try volunteering at a rescue home OR sign up to something like Borrow my Doggy where you can look after people’s dogs when they aren’t free.
o) Meditate. 10 minutes of meditation a day can help you to become more present which brings about a sense of calm. Try out Apps such as Headspace or Calm.
p) Dance. We may not be able to get out to the bars or dance together at a party but we can all put some feel good tunes on in our rooms and have a boogie! Dance like nobody’s watching and have a giggle.
s) Join a support group. A lot of support groups are taking place online in current times. They can be a great source of support and connection for all of us. If you’re unsure of where to find one, chat to someone at CARA who may be able to help!
Homework for the month
Make a list of self-care activities that resonate with you and shorten the list to 10 things. Keep the list within and take at least one mini-break where you incorporate a self-care activity from your list.