Self-care has become synonymous with Instagram photos of bubble baths, glasses of wine, and yoga but for me, and I suspect a lot of other people, self-care is much more boring and resembles something along the lines of ‘toast, sleep, shower’ rather than ‘eat, pray, love.’
As a person with a history of poor mental health, often the act of looking after myself is far from Instagrammable and really rather dull so in an effort to celebrate these simple acts of kindness here are some of the ways in which I, and you, can practice self-care.
Instagram would have you believe that self-care is eating plant-based acai bowls and sipping on matcha lattes but although that might be some people’s version of self-care it isn’t the norm and doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t celebrate the humble act of cooking a spaghetti Bolognese or heating up a bowl of soup; food that provides both basic sustenance and comfort when your mind and body most needs it.
Candles, crystals, and aromatherapy are luxuries that not all can afford let alone surround themselves with when the going gets tough. For me, self-care at home is as simple as clean linen sheets. Whilst the thought of this chore alone is enough to tire me out, clean sheets are a comfort that can’t be matched.
Sometimes the only fresh air I get is taking the rubbish out but that’s a feat in itself and something worth celebrating.
Call yourself a freelance writer and people will assume you spend your hours in independent coffee shops and bash out a minimum of one novel a week. The same goes for those that work at home; it’s the perfect work-life balance, right? Truth is it’s all too easy to roll out of bed and straight into your sweats for a hard day of work from your sofa. Self-care in this instance looks less like a kale smoothie and more like showing yourself the respect that you afford others by showering and dressing for no one’s comfort other than your own.
Take Your Meds
For an act of self-care that takes all of two seconds, this is something that is far too easy to forget. Set an alarm, write it in your calendar, do whatever it takes to remember.
If you’re suffering from poor mental health, even the simplest of things can feel overwhelming including keeping yourself hydrated. Keeping a water bottle nearby is admittedly the only way that I remember to drink anything but you’ve got to do, what you’ve got to do.
Ask For Help
Sometimes all I need is someone else to decide for me what to eat or to put the washing on because it alleviates what feels like a mental burden and yet, asking for that is often the hardest part. Self-care is looking after yourself and recognising that you need help from outside is vital.
Go To Bed Early
You won’t make any friends for imposing a 10 p.m. curfew but getting to bed early is giving your body and mind the rest it needs to make it through another day.
Whether you suffer from poor mental health or not, looking after yourself to the best of your ability is always something to celebrate.