Self-care is crucial for positive mental health. When people used to talk about self-care I used to think, “I look after myself! I bathe everyday, I brush my teeth” but to me that isn’t self-care, that’s basic hygiene. Self-care is looking after you and realising that you deserve to be the most comfortable and looked after that you can be. Self-care can be used for both physical health and mental health.
I was sat writing the other day, my arthritis was hurting, my head was agony and yet I kept on typing and typing. Then I realised that I could take some paracetamol for the pain. Something so simple, a solution to a problem and yet it didn’t cross my mind because I’m so used to putting my health and needs at the bottom of the pile. I got up, walked to the kitchen, took some paracetamol and got a hot drink. It took minutes and I felt good about myself because I was helping myself to feel better but it also felt like a massive step in recovery. The world can wait for me to be well enough to do whatever I am required to do. Someone can wait half an hour for me to have some lunch before they talk to me. It’s realising that you are allowed to put yourself first and that by doing so it helps you to feel better but probably improves your performance too. By taking care of yourself, you are doing what is effective.
I always feel so much better after self-care and it always shocks me as to how much of a novelty it is to watch my favourite film or listen to my favourite song. It isn’t selfish to have some ‘me’ time and whether it’s a morning or just five minutes, it will benefit your mental health and give you a boost.
Some ideas for self-care could include:
- Taking medication when you are unwell.
- Eating a nutritional and enjoyable diet.
- Having a hot drink.
- Watching your favourite film.
- Listening to music that makes you feel good.
- Having a bubble bath.
- Lighting a scented candle.
- Go for a gentle walk.
- Reading a book on a comfy chair.
- Breathe in fresh air.
- Look at the stars in the sky.
Don’t use self-care as a one off treat. Self-care should happen all the time, daily. Everybody deserves to be cared for so start by caring for yourself.