Self care isn’t self love or over-indulging or having a constant “treat yo’ self” attitude. Self care is anything you do to maintain or improve your physical and mental health. Some people don’t even have to think about it, it’s just automatic; they go to the gym regularly, are in a sporting team, eat a balanced diet, have a full social schedule and are mentally well. The concept of self care may barely exist to these people. Others, focus on practising self care everyday.
Self care is a challenge
Self care can be difficult and require a fair bit of motivation. You have to make the decision to get up and go for a walk/run instead of staying in bed and to cook a healthy meal instead of getting take away. The only catch is, the worse your physical or mental health becomes, the more you need to focus on self care but the harder it becomes to actually implement your self care strategies. I can’t speak for other mental health conditions or any body else, but it’s certainly the way it is for me and my friend anxiety. It’s like trying to walk up the down-escalator, if that makes sense… Self care can be a real struggle at times.
Self care is personal
I love reading other blogs about self care strategies and I have a whole list of self care activities that I want to try and see if they work for me. However, a self care strategy that works for one person may not necessarily work for everyone. For me, yoga doesn’t work, I do not feel relaxed in a yoga class, it’s actually the opposite… I freak out and get all stressed because I have no clue what I’m doing, I look like an uncoordinated giraffe and I have zero flexibility. On the bright side, since self care is so specific and personal, there’s no such thing as a wrong self care activity; you do what works for you.
Self care changes as you change
Self care isn’t a recipe or a prescription. Strategies that you use now may change over time as your health and life changes. As my mental and physical health improve the self care activities I do change. As I become calmer and more confident going for a walk becomes going for a run and then going to group exercise classes.
Self care is not selfish, it is needed to maintain balance and stay healthy, mentally and physically. While self care could come naturally to you, remember that some of us are struggling with it and be mindful of this. Anyway, that’s my rant over! Let me know if you guys have any self care rituals or activities you do!