“Self care”, a term we have probably all heard by now. We are told continuously through various platforms to practice more self care, to embrace self compassion and kindness. But, what exactly is self care? And how can I practise it when most days I can’t even get out of bed? In this post I put together an “Emergency Kit”, for when really nothing goes any more, to at least help you feel a little bit better, without investing too much effort into the whole thing.
Self care – the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
What comes to your mind when you hear the words “self care”? For some it may be taking relaxing bath, putting on a face mask and watching a movie. For others it may be yoga or meditation or going on a long walk outside. Fact is, there are an abundance of ways one can practise self care and that self care is something very personal to each and every one. There is no black or white, we all have to find our own little strategies to make ourselves feel better.
But what exactly do you do when all the face masks and the chocolate and positive affirmations just aren’t enough? What do you do if you’re stuck in this bottomless pit that depression, or any other mental or physical illness can leave you in sometimes? How do you drag yourself out of that? Because it’s hard. It’s so very hard to get out of bed when your body wants so desperately to just shut down. When you feel completely and utterly trapped in your own self. And the truth is, no yoga pose and no good movie will help you with this. We tend to forget that self care, as great as all the bath bombs and whatnot may be, is often a lot more basic than that. We have to start working on the foundations before we decide to decorate the walls. So, here’s my list of 5 Self care tips for when you are at the lowest of lows. Sometimes just doing these few simple things have helped me immensely when getting out of a bad depressive episode, maybe they are of some help for you as well.
- Let some air in
Open the blinds and windows in your room, or the whole house if you can manage. Let some fresh air and sunlight in. You may not be able to go out for a walk but you can at least let out all that stale air in your room. And while you’re at it, take a moment to observe your surroundings. Listen to the bird song, or watch the leaves on trees. All the little things around you.
- If you can, take a shower or a bath.
Often when mental or physical illnesses drag you down, something as simple as just having a shower can be a massively overwhelming task. Just do what you can in that moment. If a full on bath or shower isn’t an option – baby or makeup wipes can be just as good. Give yourself a quick wipe down and you’ll feel at least a little more refreshed!
- Eat something
I know, getting up and having to make food can be hard, but do try to eat at least a little something. We still need to nourish ourselves. Even if you can only manage a small snack, it’s something at least. If you are able to, ordering a takeout may be an option as well.
- Do one simple task
It doesn’t matter what it is. Just try to do one thing. Shake out your bed sheets, or put the dirty laundry from the floor in the washing basket, or clear the dirty dishes of the window sill. No matter how small it is, try to do one thing and see how you feel afterwards. You may be motivated to do some more, or you may just want to go back to bed and that’s ok too!
- Take some time off
If you are working, inform your supervisor or colleagues that you won’t be able to make it into work. Take some time off social media too, let your friends know that your are not well at the moment and that you may not be able to respond to their messages or emails.
If you feel yourself getting worse, or are in a crisis situation, please do contact your GP or get in touch with a crisis team. It’s okay to reach out and get professional help, if you need to! Please click here to find the numbers of crisis hotlines most suitable for your area!
That’s that for my very first proper blog post. I am hoping that to some of you this post might be helpful in some way. What are your go to self care strategies? How do you cope when life just gets too much? Let me know in the comments, I do appreciate your feedback!