Aside from being a rather trendy phrase right now, self-care is actually hella important for our mental health.
Looking after yourself (particularly if you are like me and would put the lady who lives down the street that you met once before yourself) is absolutely fundamental to avoid burning out and breaking down. I am absolutely pants at self-care though. Here’s why:
My version of self-care is food. While some might light some candles, listen to some soothing music and read a bestseller, you’ll find me stuffing all of the carbs into my face and chasing them up with chocolate. While treating ourselves from time to time is absolutely fine, using food as a form of self-care for me has become problematic.
It becomes a cycle. I need self-care because I feel crap about myself or am feeling lethargic or stressed. I then eat whatever I want, feel temporarily better and then feel guilty. Now you might just argue that eating what you want shouldn’t make you feel guilty – but it does. For as long as I can remember I have been an emotional eater. I eat in times of happiness and in sadness. If we broke down how I spend my money, the vast majority would be on food.
I am not in bad shape – I am not “fat”. I weigh more than I’d like to, but I’m working on it. The issue here isn’t that I’m trying to lose weight, the issue is that food literally fills a hole when I “look after” myself. The more I think about that, the more worrying it gets that these habits could develop into something more sinister.
So what to do about it? I need to find some new ways to practice self-care that don’t involve Sainsbury’s chocolate sponge puddings, or hunting out the best deal on Pizza Express pizzas. Here are a few I’ve come up with to attempt…
(FYI, this post contains a couple of Amazon affiliate links to things I recommend. I would be forever grateful if you were considering buying any items I mention if you could use the links so I get a cheeky kickback)
I’ve been trying to get back into this hobby recently because it is SO relaxing. There’s something about sticking pretty papers to something in a haphazard way that chills me tf out. I am not an arty person, so decoupage is an ideal way to be creative and also keep my hands and mind busy.
I highly recommend heading on over to Amazon’s Decopatch section and investing in a couple of mache models, papers and a pot of glue and a brush. It’s honestly one of the best ways to spend an evening unwinding.
Bake, or cook!
I love a bit of baking – and I don’t do it nearly enough. I know the whole idea behind my self-care routine is to move away from focusing on food, but when I worked full time, I used to love baking stuff for my colleagues and it’d be good to bake or cook for others again.
There is a nice satisfaction you get from people enjoying something you’ve made. Maybe I’ll just make something that I don’t really like and then I won’t be tempted to eat it all!
Yep, I’m one of those weirdos who gets immense satisfaction out of having a good ol’ tidy up.
I always feel more at ease in a tidier, organised atmosphere and so clearing out my wardrobe or the kitchen cupboards would actually be a really good way of practising self-care for me!
Read a book or comic
I’m not sure how feasible it’s going to be for me to introduce more reading into my self-care routine, because I haven’t really done “proper” reading for a long time.
I have a few books (and even more comics) to catch up with, but it will take some serious discipline on my part to actively sit down and read!
Go for a walk
I know this has probably been mentioned in every self-care blog post out there, but no matter how I’m feeling a walk in the fresh air can so easily put things into perspective. You can switch off, take in your surroundings and get some exercise too!
If trail walking or hiking appeals, I recommend getting some decent walking boots. I got walking boots for our Canada trip and I’m looking forward to cracking them out again for some local (and not so local) walks in the future. Walking boots are pricey, but if you find the right pair they are SO comfy. Here are the Scarpa walking boots I have.
I’m not really a “girlie-girl” – by which I mean I’m not into manicures or pedicures or anything like that. I’ve had my nails done once, and I’m not really planning on having them done again. However, I do love a good face mask, so slathering on a thick layer of a softening mask for 15 minutes is a self-care activity I should do more of.
Do you have any other self-care routines that you do when you need it? I’d love to hear them in the comments!