Today, I want to talk a little about SELF-CARE.
There is nothing selfish about taking good care of yourself!
Sadly, I have only really come to truly understand just how important self-care is as I have grown older and after having suffered the consequences of very little self-care.
How can that be I hear you ask? How can someone not care for themselves?
Well, I didn’t intentionally not care for myself. The lack of self-care happened gradually and without my noticing, as it does for most people. For me, it most probably started when I became a mother. I put my children before everything (as you do) and did not consider my own personal needs in order to feel happy, well and healthy. I was a people pleaser – always wanting to make others happy – often to the detriment of myself. I was steered by a strong sense of responsibility and doing what was expected of me. If I was struggling or faltering, the negative self-talk began e.g.:
You’re pathetic. Other mothers juggle all this stuff and don’t get sick.
You’re hopeless. Why are you so tired when others do this with loads of energy.
So you hate your job. At least you HAVE a job. Be grateful.
…and so on…
This is just some of what Wikipedia tells us that ‘self care’ is:
Self care refers to actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development.
What is doesn’t say there is that these actions and attitudes come from YOU and YOU only, hence why it is called SELF-care.
Here are just some indicators of some circumstances where some self-care is needed ASAP:
- You’re feeling exhausted, run down and burnt out
- You’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed
- You’re feeling lonely
- You’ve had an interest or passion that has not been acted on and you’re feeling unfulfilled
- You’re feeling desperate for some alone time
- You’re feeling daggy and un-kept and it’s really getting you down
- You’ve experienced a stressful or upsetting incident and the emotions have stolen your inner-peace
Here are some self-care suggestions for each of the above (but by no means the right answer for everyone!):
- Book a weekend away / Delegate chores to others to lighten your load / Have a day of rest and pampering / Get some extra sleep or a sleep-in
- Same as above with an emphasis on lightning your load and finding some ‘me’ time
- Contact a friend or family member and arrange to get together / Invite some friends over for lunch or dinner
- Consider what has stopped you acting on your interest in the past / Research options including resources such as costs and time / Discuss with family members / Based on your research and situation – take appropriate steps to begin following your interest/passion
- Go for a long walk by yourself / Take yourself off somewhere alone to read a book / Go for a spa treatment
- Book a hair appointment and/or spa treatment / Have a long shower and extra bathroom time to pamper yourself
- This takes time & what works best will differ for everyone. However – getting outdoors and into nature and being a bit active always goes a long way in beginning the healing process.
The thing is that we all need to be a little more plugged into ourselves and aware of when we need a little fine tuning. We need to be alert to our triggers and recognise when we need a little ‘special care’ so that we don’t allow our mental or physical health to spiral out of control. If we do this, not only are we happier and healthier people but we are also much nicer people to be around!
Recently, I sensed rather loudly that I had dropped the self-care ball. I was feeling overwhelmed, my mood was down, I was far too emotional and my sense of peace was disturbed.
Here are just a few of the things that led to me being steered off course (the rest are a little more private). I hope that by sharing these, it will help others to recognise situations that can derail you.
Sometimes upsetting things happen and the emotions and sense of injustice can build up inside you like poison.
Recently, a neighbour decided to ‘trim’ our bushes down the side of our house. Whilst we would have been more than happy for them to trim back anything that overhung to their side of the fence, we were not happy with what they actually did. They massacred our shrubs and palms. Some are ruined forever and will need to be removed. They cut main trunks and branches well into our property and in many cases, well below fence height. This is an unlawful trespass and destruction of our property and has left me feeling violated, hurt, stressed and angry.
This is not the first time this has happened. In fact – I mentioned a previous occurrence here in this post for my 365 Grateful – Day 147. On that occasion, we chose not to say anything to them – for the greater good and so that we maintained good neighbourly relations. I took it upon myself to bury the emotions and to forgive them. This time, I have made my displeasure known to them. Perhaps if I had done that the first time, this second time would not have happened.
I’m still saying ‘yes’ before properly thinking through the impact and consequences on myself.
There’s obviously some people pleaser still left in me. I very swiftly said yes to looking after Baci, the nearly six month old Pomeranian puppy for 2.5 weeks without thinking through the impact on myself first.
Baci leaves us on Wednesday. We adore him and he is a good little boy BUT there have been impacts on me. For example:
- More work
o puppies wee & poo all over the place
o puppies chew on things and have to be watched
o tiny puppies can get into awkward and dangerous places
o watching he doesn’t annoy our 14 year old dog Chelsea
o watching play between him and Ava doesn’t get too rough
- Inconvenience – e.g. have to lock our doggie doors to stop Baci getting out because he is so small he could slip through the pool fence and could drown in the pool and/or pond. This means remembering to regularly let our own two dogs out – rather than them being able to come and go as they please.
- Reduced Freedom – self explanatory!
- 2.5 weeks of lost study/assignment time. I’ve been unable to concentrate and focus on my photography studies for the entire duration of Baci’s stay with us.
So in the future, my self-care should include thinking through the impact on me that saying yes to something will have and then deciding if I still want to say yes!
Devastatingly sad and tragic world news events
I’m a very emotional person. I feel things deeply. There has been so much tragedy on TV lately. I have been deeply moved and upset about the murder of Allison Baden-Clay two years ago and the recent trial, verdict and sentencing of her killer husband have stirred up my emotions once again. This murder took place at Brookfield, very close to where I grew up. I had friends who lived at Brookfield. I went to dances and picnics at Brookfield. Brookfield was part of my childhood backyard. How can something like this happen there? I think of what Allison was going through prior to losing her life at the hands of her husband. I think of Allison’s three young girls and how devastating it must be to them to have lost both parents and to know how and why. I think of the impact on her family – her mother, father, sister, brother.
Just recently I woke to the news that another Malaysian Airlines plane had crashed. This time it was shot from the sky over Eastern Ukraine. Shot from the sky!! Nearly 300 innocent lives taken – just like that. I have a sister overseas at the moment. She had just been in Amsterdam and fortunately is still in Europe and was not on that flight. However, my thoughts went there and the pain was too horrific to bear. I’ve cried a lot. I can’t bear the tragedy of what has happened. It is such an unspeakable act of terrorism that should never have happened!
So you see. I am an emotional, compassionate being. I seem to absorb the pain of others. Being this way puts me at risk. Therefore, I must find a way of looking after myself during these times.
Here’s a few little things that I’ve been doing as self-care:
- Turning the TV off. There is nothing to gain by watching the tragic story repeated over and over and over all day.
- Reduced expectations of myself for a while – i.e. accepting that I cannot study or do assignments for the duration of Baci’s stay
- I’ve been going walking. I’m fortunate to live near Moreton Bay so I’ve been walking along the waterfront. Nature and activity are natural healers!
- When I go walking – I stop at a lovely café overlooking the water for a coffee. A little treat.
- I’ve hooked up some get-togethers with some girlfriends. Nothing feeds the soul like getting together with friends who care about you. Plus – these are something lovely to look forward to.
Here are some phone pics that I’ve uploaded to Instagram lately that show a little of my self-care.
So based on the reasons that I have shared here that recently derailed me, maybe you would like to ask yourself these questions:
- Do you let upsetting incidents fester inside like poison? Is there a self-care plan, that would work for you, that you could have on hand for any future upsetting incidents?
- Do you love to make others happy and say YES before you think? If so, maybe work out a series of questions to ask yourself, determining possible impacts on you, before saying yes in the future.
- Do you feel the toll of all the sad and tragic news we see on the TV? Do you feel deeply and absorb the pain of others like me? These tragedy’s are real and are happening to real people. They are devastating, tragic and awful. However, we cannot let these tragedy’s take us to a place of despair that ultimately risks our health and well-being. If you are like me, it would be a good idea to put a self-care plan in place in readiness for times of great tragedy’s and news events in order to protect yourself and stay well.
and another thing to consider:
- Did any of the indicators (no’s 1 to 7) for needing self-care ASAP that I listed at the beginning of this post resonate with you? Do you need some self-care ASAP?
Look after yourselves everyone!
Ciao for now,
Linking up with Essentially Jess’s #IBOT
Categories: Health, Wellbeing, Happiness