As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about self-compassion, it seemed appropriate to talk a little bit about self-care. I can already hear you laughing to yourself. “Yeah, right. Who has time for that!” Sometimes we think of self-care as doing big, time-consuming things, like spending a day at the spa, or going away for a night. These things are great! But maybe not realistic when you’ve got young kids around, or limited funds.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is really about taking some time to do something that makes you feel good. Or less bad. It’s anything that gives you a sense of accomplishment and/or a sense of satisfaction.
Why is Self-Care Important?
You’ve probably heard the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. While it might sound cliche, it’s true. When you are feeling so depleted that you feel like you just can’t do one more thing, that’s your body’s and your brain’s way of telling you that it’s time for a recharge. When you are running on empty, you will have less patience for your spouse and your children, and your mood will probably suffer too. Practicing regular, small acts of self-care can go a long ways towards improving anxiety and depression.
I Don’t Have Time for Self-Care!
Let’s brainstorm. Think about a few things that make you feel good. When my babies were young, I always knew I would have a better day if I showered first thing in the morning. Even if I didn’t feel like it, I made myself do it, because then I didn’t feel sloppy or lazy. Even if I changed right back into my pyjamas and didn’t leave the house that day. Like I said before, self-care doesn’t have to be grand occasions or fancy outings. Just little things that provide you with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. They will be different for everyone.
Here’s some ideas:
- Brush your teeth right after breakfast
- Get dressed
- Go for a walk
- Get together with a friend or two
- Spend 15 minutes reading
- Have a bath
- Watch a favourite movie
- Paint your nails
- Shave your legs
- Style your hair in a way you like
- Make yourself a proper breakfast or lunch
- Bake your favourite snack
- Make a list of the things swimming around in your head
- Spend some time journaling to organize your thoughts
- Dance in your kitchen
- Tackle one job on your to-do list
- Take a nap
- Go to bed early
Experiment with some new things. See if there’s something that surprises you that you didn’t think you would enjoy. Now go make it a habit!
If you’re finding that your anxiety and/or depression are more than you can manage on your own, even with a little self-care, contact me today to find out how counselling can help you. You don’t have to do this alone!