I’m A Self-Care Queen And These Are My 8 Best Strategies For You To Steal


Recently, someone called me “The Self-Care Queen.” It’s one of my favorite compliments I’ve ever received.

Self-care is absolutely necessary if we want to have the bandwidth to fully show up for others. As a chronic migraineur, I have to be especially vigilant about my self-care because if I ignore it, I will end up in the pain cave, of no use to anyone (and, y’know, in pain).

I was inspired to create this list after reading this awesome one on the Yes and Yes blog. I hope my list A) gives you permission to make self-care a larger priority for you and B) gives you some inspiration for your own self-care.

Here are 8 self-care things I do that fill my tank, without spending lots of money or spiking my blood sugar.

1. Light tea candles before I hop in the shower. Sometimes I do this because I’m sensitive to light (#migraines), but sometimes I do it just because it feels indulgent and luxurious. Shower time? More like spa time.

2. Make dates for walks + talks. I’m an extrovert who spends several days a week working from home. That isolation sucks for my mood. So I schedule dates with friends for us to chat on the phone or Skype while I walk around Central Park. That connection + exercise is dynamite for nurturing my joy.

3. Tell your doctor what you need to be comfortable. Every two weeks, I get nerve block injections in my face, head, and shoulders. I have a strong preference for getting the face ones first because they hurt the most and I want to get them over with. Sometimes my doctor forgets my preference for this order, so I gently remind her what I like.

Now she’s started asking other patients in what order they prefer their injections. Sometimes advocating for your own self-care paves the way for others.

4. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb from 8pm to 8am. You know that little moon symbol on your iPhone? That’s a self-care feature built right in.

I enjoy taking responsibility for how much communication I receive at a time. I’ve got friends and clients in many time zones, and I love that they can text or call me whenever, without worrying about whether it will wake me up.

5. Know where the migraine-friendly coffee shops and restaurants are. If I have a work meeting or a friend date, it becomes much more likely that I’ll be able to follow through if the café isn’t loud or fluorescently lit. I have my favorite places starred in my Google Maps app for later reference.

This map notation has helped others too. I once had a work meeting with some researchers I hadn’t previously met. It turned out that one of them was hearing impaired, and she was enthusiastically grateful that I’d chosen a place that was quiet enough for her assistive listening device to work. Again, sometimes your own self-care strategies enable others’.

6. Keep a “noticing” journal. When I’m feeling stressed, I take 5-10 minutes to just jot down everything I’m noticing about my emotional state. It’s a kind of active mindfulness meditation, and I find it super helpful for managing my feelings as well as anchoring my gratitude.

7. Say “no” to a lot of things. For work-related requests, I’ll sometimes say, “Thank you for the kind offer, but my plate’s a little too full right now.” Or sometimes, I’ll ask someone to circle back in a few weeks. I love when people ask me to circle back because I can trust I’m contacting them in a way that makes their life easier.

For social invitations, I have to keep in mind that my migraines tend to be worse in the evening. I will rarely accept invitations for events that go past 7pm at night because it’s more likely that I’ll have to cancel. My friends know I’m a brunch-and-tea date kind of gal.

8. Maintain empathetic relationships. One of the best self-care strategies I know is reaching out to someone who will just empathically listen, without offering any unsolicited advice. I nurture relationships with folks who can do this for me.

For some of my relationships (particularly family), I’ve taught them how to be more empathetic. When I support them, I model what that kind of listening looks like, which makes it easier for them to add it to their communicative toolbox. I teach a workshop on this kind of communication, too. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Kate McCombs

Kate writes articles and facilitates workshops on how to build amazing relationships. You can find out more about her at KateMcCombs.com

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