So up until recently, I had a bit of a negative attitude surrounding self care; not so much surrounding the whole concept of it but surrounding the thought of myself actually attempting to take part. And as the time progressed, I would just associate it more and more with gals taking long hot baths, with about £25 worth of products just inside the water, surrounded by scented candles. And I would think to myself, who on earth has time for all of this? And what does it really achieve. Okay, so it is fun to have a bath and that, but what is it going to achieve long term, or even any other time spent outside of the bath. Nevertheless, as I gradually became more educated on self care, mainly thanks to uplifting mental health posts on Instagram, popping up on my recommended, I began to realise that self care is a lot more than just taking some prolonged soak. In fact the little things which you may not subconsciously do, or not do, make up just as large chunk of self care, than the rest of it. Really little acts, which can make a huge difference, such as saying no to something if it is likely to drain you, allowing yourself time to relax, or even removing negative people from your lives and trying to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. And I personally think that self care, is a lot about knowing your limits, and not abusing them and therefore yourself. Knowing and acting upon when you know that you need a break, preventing drainage, and giving yourself a break when you need it.
Although I do think that it stimulates different people in different ways, and some may find one thing effective, and another totally useless and vice
And before I carry on; IT IS NOT SELFISH. In fact, as well as meaning that you will in theory feel less tired, more positive and more in touch with your own emotions, it should enable you to be in the correct mindset to have a more positive effect on other people.
Although I do think it effects different people in different ways,, and one method of self care for one person may be very effective, and another for the same person may be completely useless and vice versa. Being no expert, reading up a little about self care myself made me surprised to see not only the infinite options of it out there, but also that it had been split into different types. Some suiting one type of person more than another, however I’m sure that a lot of people hugely benefit from a combination of these. I discovered that most people break it into six different categories, in which I am going to try out one mechanism for each day. However on the Suday (tomorrow eek), I am going attempt to do one that may effect possibly 5 out of six of these, being tidying my room…
Sunday: So today was mmy first day of “self care”, and I stuck to what I said I would, which was tidying/sorting my room out. Although a couple of unsurprising things about this experience surprised me. The first being the amount of time it seems to take. So I expected to be cleaning/tidying for an hour maximum, to make my room adequately tidy again. But once I began sorting through things, I realised that there was much more to “sort through” than I had initially thought. So I started out with the floor, and it was absolutely atrocious. Not like I got round to hoovering or anything, but the amount of stuff that had accumulated on the floor was just terrible.
After the pain of thinking I’d get stuck underneath my bed, finding out of date chocolate (very sad), not to mention my back hurting, it seemed like the right time to sort through a box, which I had first packed when I first moved in, nearly two years ago. I discovered all sorts of shit I’d either forgotten about, or thought that I’d lost forever. So I ended up chucking a load away of what I now consider to be rubbish, to make room for stuff that was previously scattered around. Then afterwards I only came to find a load of stuff that I hadn’t placed anywhere, lying on my bed and in-fact my room didn’t seem to look much better at all. Or maybe it did, as it was looking pretty aweful beforehand. But hey, least I got rid of some rubbish. Admitidally I will still have to finish it up tonight, like only spending 10 mminutes or so.
What I’m curious about though, is whether having a slightly not so messy space will make me feel more at ease when I am getting ready to sleep, and when I’m in my room generally.
They do say that a tidy room equals a tidy mind (or something like that). But I wonder how true it is.. It makes good sense to me that if you are in a tidy place, you won’t feel as stress. less clutter in the room, maybe relates to less clutter in your mind too?
So let’s see how the rest of this week goes. With less of a messy room, and the first week every where I incorporate self care into my routine at all. Let alone every day!
Monday: So today I decided to do a creative form of self care, whereI made a little quote on a poser to go up on my bedroom wall. It involved a lot of painting, resulting in me never actually finishing what I was making, but oh well. I am still determined to dfinish it, because it has bveen ages since I have put anything new up on my bedroom, let alone anything created bymyself. Now this didn’t feel the most accomplishing, maybe because of the fact that painting isn’t exactly my forte, so what I have done of it so far doesn’t exactly look amazing . But nevertheless I did find it very relaxing, and in a way I felt like I had achieved something. It was a nice way to spend part of this evening, rather than rushing up and about doing one thing after another, or practising a hobby which just seems like work sometimes. So it was nice to take a break from what I usually do and focus on something else, and I now genuinely feel more relaxed because of it (or maybe the rum and coke also helped, but we won’t mention that one aha).
Tuesday: So I was intending to do something different for each day of the week. However when it came to it, I was so eager to finish off the painting, that that is all that I had time for. When it was finally finished, I did feel like I had accomplished something, that was of my own. And even though it looked absolutely rubbish, because I had come up with the idea, I was still pleased with it. Also I was proud of the fact I had something to show for it, unlike on a day to day basis. Where we do work, and it is just another dry piece of paper consisting of a messy ensemble of words. But more so, I found doing it was relaxing, which I suppose is one of the main purposes of self care.
For me, when it comes to creating something, I am much less likely to become distracted as I am so eager to not just finish it, but continue with it and watch the project evolve (sorry, this sounds soo clique). As well, as I don’t do it as often as I would like to, I find it a good break from something that I usually do. And I think that for everyone, it is good to be able to step outside your comfort zone from time to time.
Wednesday: Reading before bed
So for a prolonged period of time, I had done next to no reading. Probably thinking that I didn’t have the time. As I was far too busy trying to revise what a mole is, even though it is highly highly unlikely that I am never going to need this knowledge in any potential career path that I may be considering perusing. And then come summer, for some reason I didn’t have much chance then obviously as soon as I begun my A levels there would be no way that I could even dream of having the time. Yet I still found myself sitting on my bed like a lemon, after say 10ish, aimlessly scrolling through my instergram and looking at my snapchat just to admire people who I thought were 100 times prettier than myself and lived much better lives. Anyway, back on track.
So I decided that it would be cool if I could try spending 20-30 minutes reading instead. And it wasn’t bad. I found the book engaging, and still now I am reading it and hope to continue reading more books this year. Furthermore I found that it took my mind off other things, so that when I went to bed, it didn’t take me quite so long to get to sleep. Probably because my head was still stuck in a different world (well not literally) so I wasn’t so focused on my own worries. Another thing, I felt so much more tired than looking at my phone did. Probably because there isn’t this dazzling light which shines out of a book.
I don’t even know if I am making any sense now, so I am going to move on.
Thursday: Yoga; I tried it for like 5 seconds Ok, well more like 5 minutes but still. Now to be brutally honest, I don’t think it did anything for me. however obviously it would be worth trying as I know it can have a very calming effect on some people. Especially if you take yourself seriously when you do it, and actually believe that it might do something.
Though at the same time, if your sad and you then try yoga, it aint gonna solve all your problems!
Friday: Writing/journaling. Ok so not this, but something different. For my birthday a friend goot me a letter writing kit, where you basically write letters to yourself, to be opened at future dates. And I had had it for about a month, but I hadn’t written a single letter. So I thought it would be a good time to actually do one. I quite enjoyed it, though it didn’t really destress me as I wasn’t venting. But its a cool, creative and very reflective thing to do. I think journaling and writing can be a great method of self care, to give yourself time to reflect on the bigger picture rather than just what is happening at the moment. Also venting on paper, for me is great.
Saturday: Going for walk
So this sounds pretty basic. But if you go to a place that you like, then I think it can genuinely feel very refreshing. I went to the beach (as usual to be honest when I go for walks) and regardless of the number of times I go there, I find visiting it nice and refreshing. I’m not sure whether it’s engaging with mature or what, but it is nice to go just to give yourself a break and look at the real world I guess. Also it can be beneficial going by yourself to clear your own thoughts, or going with somebody else like a close friend or a member of family where you end up talking about things that you wouldn’t usually talk about if you were just at home, or school or wherever.
The flattering sunset must have helped as well, considering that I was there mid afternoon time (where in the winter, yup its already getting dark). So yeah, I guess that was pretty good.
So I am going to conclude this in the most honest way that I can. So I ffound that the self care techniques definitely were effective to some extent, but admitidally I didn’t practise a technique every single day. So where I said about this lasting for a week; well it didn’t. The reason being is that after day 3, I unfortunately found myself too busy to be incorporating self care into my daily routine. Ok, so I could have still done it, but it would have made it very late going to bed, plus I was just too tired for it. I feel that’s because I was trying to forge it, rather than 100% doing it for myself and doing something that I genuinely wanted.
This way, I’ve found that for me, it is best not to try to superficially forge self care as a structured part of my day to day routine. Instead it is better for me to be able to do it when it suits me best. But not forgetting to do it. This way, I am still looking after myself however I am not trying to make something that should be relaxing, stressful because of how busy I am. But yet again, you might think that surly it is more important to put yourself before a immense list ofdaily tasks.
Therefore I believe it depends on the person yo are and your needs. For some people, structuring self care into your routine is vital, say if you are in the strong habit of never finding time for yourself, and especially if this is causing you to struggle with mental health. Also for anyone who has had a rough time, and may find it difficult to care and look after themselves. This way, having this as part of your daily routing, should hopefully remind yourself hopw important it is to look after yourself. However if you find that generally you manage to take a break from time to time, and you’re managing then that may not be necessarily. But keep taking breaks, it is so so important. And finally, self care is most certainly not just about taking long baths and doing yoga. Sometimes its just being able to say no, be close with genuine people who appreciate you and not those who have a more toxic effect, and to not be too hard on yourself.