Last time I talked about self-care, what I do for my own self-care and a few ideas on how other people may find it. Today I want to talk a little more in depth about self-care.
The oxford dictionary defines self-care as: -
The Practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health
The Practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
‘expressing oneself is an essential form of self-care’
When I read about self-care there are five areas that people talk about.
I would add to this, the following.
· Loving your self
A lot of people think that physical self-care is going to the gym and exercising in general, when is it so much more than this.
While at this time of lockdown getting our daily exercise is important, we are restricted as we can’t go to the gym, we can care for ourselves physically in many different ways, some people find they can adapt and carry out some of their gym exercise at home or go for a run.
But what about other ways to look after yourself physically, for people that don’t normally do much exercise it may be going for a walk near your home, look at the trees, the clouds and the blue sky as your walking, take time to look at the detail of what’s around you, you will be surprised by the things you wouldn’t normally notice.
Listen to your body, work out what it really needs, make sure you have enough sleep so your body can rest, eat as healthily as you can but in these unpresented times there is nothing wrong in having the odd bit of chocolate or an occasional glass of wine.
It is so easy to overindulge if you’re feeling lonely or bored, physical self-care is about getting a balance, exercise in some way. enjoy eating healthy, and recognising when you need to sleep or rest your body.
For some people in a more normal times this maybe going their Church, Mosque or Synagogue to worship and pray but in these times of lockdown they have to pray at home or with others though video link. For others it maybe they are spiritual in different ways, whichever god, spirit or prophet gives you strength, take time to take care of your beliefs.
For me it’s being open to all religions, I like having my quiet time whether that’s walking in the woods, getting in touch with nature or getting away from the noise in my house for half an hour just to sit and think, I love to write, read, or just meditate.
Spiritual self-Care is about whatever spirituality means to you and taking the time to practice it in any way that makes you happy.
Before you know it, your thoughts can be running away with you and anxiety is building. I feel mental health crosses all of the areas listed above because if you have self-care in those areas, it will automatically improve your mental health.
When someone has a panic attack or feels anxious they often forget to breathe. I don’t mean your day to day breathing, what I mean is that you can hold on to a breath longer than you need to, you forget to breath out.
I remember a good mentor say to me.
“your body will take care of the in breath, you need to remember the out breath”.
An example I had of this was while driving on the A1, I don’t drive on busy roads or motorways very often and I started to notice that when I overtook cars I was holding my breath, I also do this when driving and it is raining heavily.
This caused my anxiety to go up, now I am aware that I do this, I make a mental note to breathe out more, and I don’t feel my anxiety rise.
Here is a breathing exercise that has helped me and may help you.