“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” – J.B. Priestly (1894-1984) English Author
There are days when I just wake up in a funk. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for it… I just wake up, and I feel down. There have also been times when there are reasons for feeling down: when relationships have ended… the death of someone close…when relationships were going through rough patches.
Good self care usually comes easily. It’s during the hard times when practicing good self care becomes of utmost importance. Some of the lists I’ve developed for my own use can also benefit others.
When the blues hit, these are the very basics for good self-care:
* Eat well (and don’t eat a lot) – Feeling light feels good for most people. Eat a lot of vegetables and avoid fatty foods.
* Drink a lot of water – Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day (not soda, juice, tea, etc).
* Exercise - Walking is easy. Get off your butt, and go for a walk. 30 minutes at the very least. More if you can manage.
* Sleep well – If you can’t sleep, consider over-the counter sleep aids.
* Focus on breathing deeply – Breathing is good.
* Write things down – Writing things down helps you organize your thoughts.
* Avoid alcohol and drugs – I admit that these can be useful at times, but are generally not good self-care.
* Dress well – I know you will feel like wearing your sweatpants, but don’t. Dress up extra nice… you will receive external approval. It’s not healthy to rely on that, but it can be a good tool to use when feeling down.
THE SECOND TIER
Once you have the basics down, it’s time to focus on the second tier of good self care.
* Call friends – Talk things through. Rely on your friends. It’s what they are there for.
* Schedule a night out – Being out and about with friends is a good way to increase cheer.
* Listen to your favorite music – Sometimes a good soundtrack can be uplifting
* Focus on gratitude – Be grateful for all the things that you do have in your life. Making a list can be very helpful.
* Get fresh air – Open all the windows and let the breeze run through the house.
* Create a nice atmosphere – Lighting candles or burning incense can change an atmosphere to something more calming.
* Take yourself out on a date – Go to a movie, get your nails done, buy your favorite tea, sit by a pool, go to the beach… do something luxurious that you don’t do every day.
* Slow down – Stop trying to get everything done.
* Meditate – Sit quietly with yourself and listen.
* Motivate – Focus on making your life better for yourself. Even a small step can help.
* Take warm baths – Warm baths are soothing.
THE THIRD TIER
* Buy yourself a set of Self Care Cards by Cheryl Richardson – Draw a card every day and focus on the message. It’s a fun way of practicing all the basics.
* Act admirably
* Clear clutter
* Get in touch with old friends
* Be honest… communicate honestly
* Do nice things for other people
* Work really hard
* Track your moods
* Stop procrastinating
* Ask for what you want
WHEN IT’S TIME TO WALLOW
Sometimes it’s just good to wallow… grieve, mourn, ache, feel sorry for yourself. It’s very important to set a time limit for yourself when choosing to wallow. In the back of your mind, know that this is temporary and that you will come out of this. Be sure to stick to the limit you’ve set for yourself.
* Drink alcohol
* Watch sappy movies
* Listen to the saddest songs
Throughout your self care process, it’s most important to be patient with yourself. Notice the feelings you are having but don’t let them stay or grow. Acknowledge their presence and let them go. The important thing is to treat yourself really well.
And now I ask you, dear readers, what is your favorite way of taking care of yourself?
The self is not something that one finds. It is something that one creates. – Thomas Szasz (1920-) American Psychiatrist