Happy Self-Care Week 2018, and welcome to the first in our short blog series on self-care!
Self-care is important for your wellbeing and at boosting a healthy relationship with yourself. Its is not necessarily easy, and can be downright difficult at times, especially when different parts of life can stack up; work, education, family and social responsibilities. Self-care can mean a lot of things to different people, so it can be difficult to know where to start. For the first in the series I have asked the staff and volunteers of Yellow Door to share their personal and favourite self-care tips.
Create a Calming Space
Your home can be one way to start your own self-care. When things feel overwhelming or chaotic, it helps to have a safe space to be in. Your surroundings impact your mood, so making a safe space in your home can you help unwind and relax.
“I make a space at home, such as my living room or bedroom, that at the end of the day I can make a peaceful one.” Jess, ISVA
You could find some homely bits like candles, pillows, blankets, some comfy clothes or anything that makes you feel at ease and calm. Or you could make a DIY self-care kit. There are loads of different ways to make one! It could be small enough to carry around with you, or a bigger one kept at home. Inside the kit, include anything that comforts you – your favourite biscuits (these go quickly) teabags, candles, your favourite book, photographs, colouring books, fluffy socks. Whatever makes you happy!
“Put whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy in your kit!” Beth, Volunteer
Exercise & Physical Health
Self-care is a holistic approach to your wellbeing. Looking after your physical health is beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing. Exercise could be anything that makes you feel good and gets you moving. It could be anything from working out, going to gym and weight training, swimming, dancing, running, walking or yoga.
“My self-care consists of going to the gym.” Scott, STAR Worker
“Get up first thing and do a workout!” Vicki, ISVA
Enjoy the endorphins!
Escape to Nature
Experiencing nature can be give you some peace from the chaos and anything overwhelming. Being outside can be calming and be a treat for your mental and physical health. Like your home being a safe space, you can find safety and peace in nature. Walking in nature, seeing natural beauty and wildlife can be an effective distraction, but also a way to practice mindfulness.
“I like to walk in nature, without a soul around, soaking up the peace and tranquility of each of the seasons and its wildlife.” Rachel, Fundraising & Comms Officer
Donna tells us about the benefits of getting out of the city, and exploring the forest or other nature spots, either with pets and loved ones, or alone. She says, "I find it clears my head as I’m mindful of the trees, the way the sway in the breeze and at the moment I enjoy watching the leaves fall to the ground. I’m also mindful of the animals such as, the cows, horses and deer. When I see them, I carefully walk past, taking care not to spook them and then I stand at distance to admire them. I fully immerse myself in the activity, so I not only get the endorphins from the exercise of walking, I also use my mindfulness skills to be fully in the here and now.”
Living in a city, however, doesn’t mean you can’t practice self-care with walking. Sometimes when anxiety feels overwhelming, we don’t see the good parts of our surroundings. With mindful walks in the city, you can be connected to other people, if that helps you, whilst still getting the same sense of peace from a walk. Walking is a treat for the senses; in nature or in busy places.
“I appreciate urban walks – the busier the better. The trick to this one is to put on your headphones and create a good playlist that keeps you feeling safe and grounded throughout the hustle and bustle. This way you can be both there, embracing the moment, but also maintaining a healthy boundary from the external commotions.” Rachel, Fundraising & Comms Officer
Arts & Crafts
“Switch off my brain and practice some calligraphy!” Vicki, ISVA
Like walking, however, engaging with creative outlets can also be an opportunity to be mindful too. There are many other ways to treat your senses, if walking is not for you. Creative outlets provide therapeutic benefits and help you deal with negative emotions in a productive way. With creative outlets, you can interrupt negative thoughts or feelings. You can use creativity as a way to be mindful by thinking about what the art means, or just creating for the sake of creating!
“Any and all mediums of art and crafts. Just to get messy, and release the inner goings on in my head through unconscious experimentations. Sometimes they work out and look incredible, sometimes they don’t – it’s all part of the process.” Rachel, Fundraising & Comms Officer
Cater to the Senses
“Listening to music loud (often music from Caribbean, this is because I have to listen more intensively to understand the lyrics)” Scott, STAR Worker
Laura told us that she likes to think about self-care through the senses, catering to sight, sound, touch, smell. Drawing on anything that (enjoyably!) stimulates the senses to calm, soothe and center oneself.
“Film (cinema), spa (so may senses used), smelly candles, fires, cuddling, laughing, eating, listening to music, fury blankets, pyjamas, reading, talking, listening, sunshine, wind, laughing, being quiet…” Laura, Counsellor
“My self-care includes reading a good book, eating cake and having lots of tea.” Beth, Volunteer
When we’re busy, it’s easy to forget to put ourselves and our needs first. Like your senses, you deserve to be treated to. Treating yourself could be a number of different things; self-care is all about what makes you feel better. You deserve to do or have things that make you happy!
“I undertake the odd reiki session which I find very helpful.” Scott, STAR Worker
There are lots of different options of self-care, so it can seem overwhelming to choose. The most important thing to remember is that self-care is best when it’s personalised for you. Trying out different self-care tips and finding what makes you feel good, what improves your mood and day, is your ideal self-care.
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