Health, Wellbeing, Happiness

Self-Care

Today, I want to talk a little about SELF-CARE.

selfcare

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:

  1. You’re feeling exhausted, run down and burnt out
  2. You’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed
  3. You’re feeling lonely
  4. You’ve had an interest or passion that has not been acted on and you’re feeling unfulfilled
  5. You’re feeling desperate for some alone time
  6. You’re feeling daggy and un-kept and it’s really getting you down
  7. 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!):

  1. 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
  2. Same as above with an emphasis on lightning your load and finding some ‘me’ time
  3. Contact a friend or family member and arrange to get together / Invite some friends over for lunch or dinner
  4. 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
  5. Go for a long walk by yourself / Take yourself off somewhere alone to read a book / Go for a spa treatment
  6. Book a hair appointment and/or spa treatment / Have a long shower and extra bathroom time to pamper yourself
  7. 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 have to admit that I am still struggling with this one.  I cannot find it within me to forgive again.
Brutalised Side Garden2

Brutalised Side Garden3

Brutalised Side Garden4

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!

pomeranian, dog, puppy

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.

nature, activity, moreton bay

Wynnum Pier

Moreton Bay

Pandanus Beach

Wynnum Waterfront

Boat, Moreton Bay, Wynnum

coffee, view, moreton bay

Coffee View, Moreton Bay

So based on the reasons that I have shared here that recently derailed me, maybe you would like to ask yourself these questions:

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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,

Min Signature - Dec13

Linking up with Essentially Jess’s #IBOT

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20 replies »

  1. Wow – lots in this Min and lots of lovely photos too. I think you have captured the gamut of self-care in that it is not just about massages and cups of coffee in peace but protecting our hearts a bit from bad news, difficult situations and unreasonable expectations. It’s talking to ourselves gently.

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    • Thanks so much Kathy! I absolutely love your description of self care “it is not just about massages and cups of coffee in peace but protecting our hearts a bit from bad news, difficult situations and unreasonable expectations. It’s talking to ourselves gently..”. YES – exactly! 🙂 xo

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  2. You take amazing photographs – thank you for sharing some of them with us.
    I totally hear you on the self care matter. I used to think that taking time for myself was selfish until I realised that if I looked after myself first, I could be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, work colleague etc – that was when I started to slowly take time for myself and make it a priority. Sometimes the priority slips but as I have grown older and my responsibilities in terms of child care have lessened and I’m not in a stressful job anymore, my self care doesn’t need to be as high as it used to be.
    Have the best day and thank you for an informative and very relevant post.
    Me sos

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    • Thank you lovely Linda for your compliment on my photographs!! They’re mostly phone snaps so not the best examples of my photographic capabilities but thank you!! Very true about self care. It’s not a selfish thing at all and in fact as you said – if we take care of ourselves than we can be a better person to others also! xo

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  3. Min, your website looks FANTASTIC! I love the photos and this post resonated with me. I just love your heart. The Allison Baden-Clay case got to my heart too as I am a mum to three daughters now. I can’t imagine the daughter’s pain and that of Allison’s family. And the Malaysian flight got to me too. Too much unnecessary pain because humans have cared too much about themselves and not enough about each other or how their actions will effect others.

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    • Thanks for all your lovely comments Bec! Yes there is so much unnecessary pain, suffering and loss in this world due to the selfish, barbaric natures of some. It inevitably affects us all … and we need to protect our hearts and spirits and keep well! xo

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  4. I’m happy to say I’m in a pretty good place right now as far as your 7 questions go :-). But I would be devastated too if my shrubs were massacred like that. Neighbours can be so difficult! We’ve had new people shift in next door over the weekend and have discovered they like to sit on their pergola (right outside our bedroom window) and smoke and talk loudly at what seems like all hours of the day and night. I’m hoping it’s just while they get settled in and they’ll be away at work soon … and reminding myself it’s better than the 2 yappy little dogs that lived there about a year ago!

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx

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    • That is excellent to hear Janet!! Yes – I am still devastated over the destruction of my shrubs. I cannot walk down that side of the house or I get too upset. I take the long way around to hang out my washing so I don’t have to see the destruction. These are only shrubs I know but – the lack of respect for our property and the arrogance and gall of them has really cut deep. Good luck with your new neighbours!! 😉 xo

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  5. Wonderful post hon- you captured the deeper aspects of self care so well. I loved watching you on IG as you went for your walks and took care of yourself- stunning pictures, actions good for the soul xx deb
    Ps I am sorry about what your neighbours did, people can be selfish and unthinking at times, I have no idea how you can get through to them but hope you do xx deb

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    • Thanks Deb – thanks for the lovely comments you make on my Instagram pics too. What my neighbours did has upset me very much. See my response to Janet’s comment. I think that now that I have made it quite clear to them how much what they have done is wrong, illegal and upsetting – they would be crazy to do it again!! xo

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  6. Yes self care is very important but it can be hard when there are others who make us feel bad, sad and angry! Love the photos with this post. I had a night away with hubby and it was great for my mental health, LONG overdue x

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    • It sure is hard when people do things to make us feel bad, sad and angry! Why can’t everyone just be kind and considerate! Fantastic that you had some time away with your hubby. It’s great for your relationship – a little time to reconnect as a couple but also great for YOU to be YOU for awhile and not mummy. xo

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  7. Such a lot in this post – don’t know where to begin! You were right to assert yourself over the massacred branches, sometimes just being chilled and nice doesn’t work. We have to self-censor bad news when it begins to affect our well-being.

    Your pointers for self-care are spot on! Love the photos, beautiful. 🙂

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    • Thanks Leanne for saying I was right to assert myself over the massacred bushes. What they did was so wrong and I cannot begin to understand how they thought they had a right to do it! I don’t think relations with them will be the same now but you know what – I don’t care anymore. Being nice didn’t work. With regards to all the bad news on TV – it can really affect our well-being. We need to be conscious of that and take steps to protect ourselves. Many thanks for your kind words! 🙂 xo

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    • LOL – yes puppies can be full on! Baci is pretty good but it’s just the additional work over a nearly 3 week period is really starting to take its toll on me. He doesn’t go home until tomorrow now (they extended a day) so it will be 1 day short of 3 weeks he has been with us. I will miss him – I know I will but I will welcome the return of my freedom again 🙂 xo

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  8. I would be super annoyed by the neighbours too. That’s just rude. I hope they apologised and will pay for new plants.
    As for self care, it’s not so,drying I give a lot of thought too. If I’m stressed I’ll break routine, but then I’m good again for a while.

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    • Hi Jess! The husband came over with a small bunch of flowers and then proceeded to defend himself rather than apologise (my husband answered the door). There has been no offer to pay for damage or new plants. Re self care – it’s not something I gave a lot of thought to either. One day you may find you will have to give it a little more thought 😉 x

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  9. First Min, just let me tell you that the quality of your pictures is quite amazing!
    I can’t believe your neighbors did this to your trees… These images are shocking.
    As for the Malaysian flight, there are just no words to describe how horrible is this tragedy.
    Self-care is so important. I am learning to listen more to myself now. I like how you wrote and broke this post with the pictures.

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