As I write this I am of the understanding that I have had a difficult year emotionally for me. I have suffered great loss in my life this year through the death of someone very close to me. this was following a period of time where I helped to nurse them and saw them go into hospice care. During this time I found it difficult to find time for me. I had to squeeze self care in at times when it seemed inconvenient, however I did it as I understand how important it really is.
So what is self care?
Self care is time we spend for ourselves, making ourselves feel happier and more relaxed. It is anything that recharges our mental and physical batteries. Exercise is an important form of self-care as it allows us to work off our stress whilst releasing endorphins in our brains. Endorphins make us feel happier in ourselves. Other forms of self care include meditation, a hot bath, watching an easy to watch TV show or listen to music. Some people like to draw, knit, bake. The list is endless and it is about recognising what makes you feel more relaxed and happier in yourself.
Why is self care so important?
Think of your mental health as a balancing act. We need a certain amount of stress to make us feel satisfied in life and to allow us to feel good about the non-stressful moments. However, if you only have stressful moments and don't balance them up with adequate levels of self-care then we can become overwhelmed and even burn out. Think about if you have a metaphorical £10.00 note at the start of the day. For each minorly stressful event you spend £1.00, for each more intensely stressful moment you spend £3.00. When you run out of money you feel depleted and have nothing less to spend. How quickly do you run out of money on an average day?
Now think about types of self care that work for you. If you complete an activity such as going for a run, taking a bath or practicing ten minutes of meditation it can make you feel better about yourself, mentally rejuvenated and more able to face the rest of the day and the following day. A truly good session of self-care can give you back the whole mental £10.00
So if you do not feel you are getting sufficient levels of self care in for your own mental health needs take a step back, consider what would make you feel better in yourself and make the time. I know sometimes it is really tough but remember that being stressed till you burn out is not the healthy way to be. Good luck with discovering what is good for you and good mental health.