As regular readers of this blog might remember, my Word of the Year for 2020 is ‘Metta’. A word I took to mean loving-kindness to myself first and then to others and the world at large. How fast this year has flown – we’re into the last quarter of it already! And how different it turned out to be from all we had thought it might be! Strangely enough, through all the upheaval of the pandemic, I’ve managed to a large extent to practise ‘metta’. I’ve attempted to be kind to myself by not getting too stressed about work, resting when I need to and eating healthy. I’ve also attempted to reach out to others in kindness and throw myself behind some causes for the good of God’s creatures. Today, I’m wondering if you practise self-care and what it means to you.
Practise Self-Care That Works For You
Since we live and work in different situations and contexts, and our emotional and mental make up is unique, self-care should be different and unique to each of us.
What counts as self-care for you may not be appropriate for someone else. One of my self-care practices in the last ten years has been to try and get a regular massage (that’s not been happening for the last 6 months, naturally). When I suggested this to a friend who was stressed out, she told me that a massage would make her very uncomfortable. That’s when I realized that self-care doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all package. It’s personal and situationally dependent.
Make A Personalized Self-Care Plan
To make a more personalized self-care plan, we need to figure out what actually causes us stress. Sometimes, it’s the pressure we put on ourselves to meet certain goals, other times it’s the nature of our work. When it’s the pressure of doing a lot or thinking a lot that’s getting to you, then practices like meditation, yoga, walking in a park are what will amount to good self-care.
For me, having a quiet day of reading is a day of self-care. For someone else, it might be watching their favourite movie. For a lonely person, it could be getting a chance to socialize. For a hassled mom, it might be a day when someone else is taking care of the kids and she gets to go out with grown ups!
The Practise of Self-Care Should Bring You Joy
When we are practising self-care, it’s important that we keep our long term goals in mind. If health is a long term goal, then binge eating or an all-night television serial marathon can’t be considered self-care. You will only end up feeling guilty and exhausted.
When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.Jean Shinoda Bolen
Good self-care should nourish your soul and bring you joy. Make a list of all the things that you can do to bring joy and refreshment into your life. It could be colouring, drawing, singing, knitting, gardening, trying out a recipe with a friend, having a meaningful chat with a loved one, taking a long drive, doing a guided meditation, take a long bath, oiling your hair – whatever makes you feel good and restores you.
Here are 10 simple ideas for you to practise self-care:
- Watch a funny video, laugh and recharge. Laughter is truly the best medicine.
- Call a friend who gets you (and makes you laugh!).
- Listen to an uplifting song, preferably one with a great beat that makes you get up and move.
- Organize one small area of your room. I like what Cathy@Stillwaters calls ‘a drawer and a chore a day‘.
- Take break from social media for a day.
- Work on a crossword or a jigsaw puzzle.
- Read out some self affirmations.
- Sleep in for a few extra hours and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Give yourself a pedicure.
- Walk to a good spot to view a sunrise or a sunset.
Each of us has to figure out what works for us and how we can incorporate self-care practices into our life.
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