Self-care can be anything you need it to be, listen to your body

What images pop into your head when you hear self-care? Is it hours of meditation, yoga, spa treatments, or going on a journey of self-discovery with a guru?

Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:58 am
Jamie McQuade

Self-care is about being aware of our own mental and physical health, identifying our own needs and putting steps in place in order to maintain and/or improve our physical and mental wellbeing.

It is about doing things that you enjoy.

As with my approach to counselling clients, there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ formula or approach that applies to everyone. We are all individuals in our own right and like different things and we respond to different things.

When it comes to self-care, it is more than eating nice food, having a few drinks and socialising. Don’t get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with this. However, whilst this may work for some people, for others, they may get more benefit from some much-needed alone time.

Self-care can be anything you need it to be, but the trick is to listen to your body to really understand what it wants.

I can imagine some of you reading this and hearing you say some of the main excuses I hear every week in my clinic such as “I’m too busy”, or, “I don’t have any time”.

However, one reason that I think will resonate with many of us as to why we neglect our own self-care, is we feel it is a selfish thing to do to focus on ourselves.

As a parent myself, I totally get how easy it is to feel guilty about spending some time on ourselves, doing something we love - or even simply relaxing.

For many of us we spend all our days working, looking after children, maintaining a home and all of our other daily tasks and responsibilities. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in daily life, caring for others, that many of us simply forget to look after ourselves.

However, for things in your life to change, you have to change and start creating good solid habits that allow for you to be happier and more energised. And you’re not the only one who benefits. Those close to you who you love also benefit.

It’s like the old saying, ‘‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’’ - first you have to fill your own cup before you can even think about filling someone else’s. Continually pouring from an empty cup has helped contribute to you feeling drained.

So, let’s look at different ideas of how you can create a self-care toolbox at home and at work. These are just some ideas which may not necessarily be your thing, which is fine. It’s to get your mind working on what it would look like for you.

Quiet Time:

Sometimes we all need to get away from things and have a little alone time to unwind or clear our head.

Not all of us like spending time on our own as for many, it’s when you are left alone with your thoughts.

Some ideas for quiet time could be, running yourself a bath, reading a book, listening to some music, or sitting down with a cuppa watching your favourite programmes on TV.

Connect Time:

Connecting with friends and family is something so many of us had taken for granted before COVID-19 and lockdown. When it was taken away from us, many of us felt the impact of not having that connection. Socialising with others is just as important as having some alone time, because when we have positive meaningful connections with other people it helps improve our outlook and feel more valued.

With restrictions now starting to ease, how about arranging to meet for a socially distanced coffee or meal, and instead of using video calls, actually meet with family and friends to chat and catch up.

Talking to others can help bring a sense of relief and support that there is a way through whatever situation or issue you are currently facing.

Get Up and Go Time:

Our physical and mental health are equally as important because one affects the other and is a part of your self-care.

If you can try and fit in some exercise most days of the week such as going for a walk, taking the dog for a walk or walk with a friend, join a fitness class or even pop on some music and dance in the kitchen.

Treat Time:

When I work with clients, I want to help teach them the importance of having balance in their lives and there are times where we need to spoil ourselves.

Some ideas could be to buy yourself a new book to read, book in a massage, or indulge in a treatment.

Don’t forget that you are just as important as everyone around you - so if you can be a little kinder to yourself then do so. If you would like more daily advice and inspiration, please follow the E-Therapy NI Facebook and Instagram pages or get in touch via private message and I would be delighted to help.

If you need to talk, we are here to listen.