The concept of self-care is slightly unnerving, and a little bit uncomfortable.
It’s like the moment when the air-hostess tells everyone that in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, to please put the oxygen mask on themselves before attending to others.
But the flight attendant – and life – may just be onto something. You really do need to make time for yourself, to recharge your batteries and be the best, happiest you that you can be to effectively tackle the mountain that is life.
What is self-care?
According to psychcentral.com, self-care is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health”.
“It’s the constant repetition of many tiny habits, which together soothe you and make sure you’re at your optimum—emotionally, physically, and mentally,” explains chartered occupational psychologist, Ellen Bard.
“The best way to do this is to implement tiny self-care habits every day. To regularly include in your life a little bit of love and attention for your own body, mind, and soul.”
A few of Ellen’s favourites are:
- Start a compliments file. Document the great things people say about you to read later.
- Scratch off a lurker on your to-do list, something that’s been there for ages and you’ll never do.
- Take another route to work. Mixing up your routine in small ways creates new neural pathways in the brain to keep it healthy.
- Fix a small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—a button lost, a drawer that’s stuck, a light bulb that’s gone.
- Be selfish. Do one thing today just because it makes you happy.
Self-care in the workplace
According to health.com, the workplace is somewhere all of us could benefit from a little TLC, starting with the way we speak to ourselves.
“The way we talk to ourselves shapes our performance and attitude. It’s a good reason to come up with a go-to saying or a list of affirmations to recite out loud, or quietly to yourself, when you’re feeling doubtful or need a confidence boost,” says psychotherapist and self-care specialist Suzie DeVaughn.
Other ways to make life easier in the office include packing a nutritious lunch and eating it outdoors – a recent study found that when you are exposed to sounds of nature, you become calmer.
Or burn an essential oil like lavender to lift your mood – just make sure your workmates are fine with the idea first!
Everyday self care tips
The most recent, and one could argue, extreme form of self-care trending right now is Sologamy, a ceremony where you literally marry yourself to boost your self-esteem.
On the other side of the spectrum, for some people simply staying away from other people over the weekend is positive and revitalising!
At woman&home we suggest simply making yourself feel special to start the ball rolling:
- Go shopping for a new lipstick – the perfect shade of red to lift your look, or maybe a more muted tone for every day.
- It’s a small, affordable luxury that will make you feel good about yourself.
- Tackle your wardrobe over the weekend – throw out anything that doesn’t fit well or has been lurking in your cupboard for a decade or more. Pass them on to people who can use them – and charity giving has its own feel-good vibes, too!
- Read a book, do some stretching or just be quiet and breathe – you’ll be calmer and more focussed in minutes.
From taking a warm shower to asking for help when you need it, self-care can take on any form, it’s just a matter of being in touch with your needs and allowing yourself to meet your own needs.
Just don’t fall into the trap of trying every self-care list online or #selfcare tweet. Self-care is supposed to be about making your life easier. Remember: your life, your choices, your self-care.