Updated: Apr 23
'Self-care' seems to be one of those phrases of the moment. It's up there with other buzz words like 'big data' or 'influencer' - but what exactly does it mean. In simple terms, self-care is how we take time out for ourselves to focus on our holistic wellbeing which in turn benefits our mental and physical health hugely.
It is easy to forget about our own needs and wants when we are busy with every day trials and tribulations at home, school, college or the workplace.
We so often treat others with such kindness and respect that we forget about ourselves.
Although a simple concept, it is one that is over looked regularly.
Self-care is some activity that we do deliberately to benefit our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
We must not see self-care as a selfish act. It is quite the opposite. Have you ever heard the saying; “you cannot pour from an empty cup?” By taking care of our own needs we are in a better position to take care of those around us.
Self-care must be planned for as it will not happen naturally. Set some time aside for yourself to focus on you alone. It may be as little as 5-minutes or maybe even a week away from it all – whatever works for you!
Do things you love:
Do you like to cook up a storm in the kitchen ? Maybe writing and playing music is your game ? Or how about painting a picture, writing a poem or telling a story ? Perhaps wrestling, hockey, tennis or hurling are more your thing. Is World of Warcraft, Fortnite or FIFA 20 more up your street ?
Whether it is gaming or glamping, baking or boxing, taking time out for ourselves to recharge our batteries is really important.
Examples of Self Care:
Take a long hot bubble bath – Close the bathroom door, light some candles, play relaxing music, burn some incense and shut out the world for just a while.
Exercise – Go for a walk, join an exercise class, take up hip-hop dancing! Any form of exercise is an excellent mood booster and it is great for our overall health. Find a list of sports teams in your area here.
Meditate – There are many free videos online teaching breathing techniques and meditation skills. Experiment with a few until you find one you like. Meditation and mindfulness allows you to leave your busy mind for just a while and be present in the moment.
Find opportunities to laugh – Maybe meet a friend for coffee or lunch. Plan a night to go see a comedy show with your partner or friends or even just watch a funny movie.
Promote a nutritious and healthy diet – Make time to prepare nutritious meals. Choosing foods high in vitamins and minerals is not only great for your physical health but your mental health too.
Take a break from social media – While you might find it challenging to give up social media entirely, it may be worth trying to reduce your screen time. Social media has many benefits yet it also can have a negative impact on your wellbeing. People usually only post about the good things happening in their lives so it is important to be mindful of that when you see what other people are sharing online. It’s not real life, but it’s easy to forget that. Set a time in the evening where you will commit to putting your devices away or try to put them away an hour or so before bed. There are apps which monitor your social media usage which you may find helpful in tracking the amount of time you spend each day online, and could help you to reduce the daily amount.
Get some quality Z's - We need sleep to survive - it is really that simple. It is recommended that adolescents get between 8-10hrs of sleep per night, while adults should aim for 7-9hrs, although there may be some variation depending on the individual. If you regularly struggle with getting to sleep it might be a good idea to speak with your GP to find out if you have a sleep disorder like insomnia.
Be Kind To You - Often our toughest critic can be ourselves. Try not to be so hard on yourself and cut yourself some slack. Instead of “I’m always late because I am bad at time keeping” say “I could work on my timekeeping, but I know I can do it if I put my mind to it.” Being kind to yourself also involves knowing your limits. Don't burn yourself out by committing to too much. One of the most powerful words in our vocabulary is no - it’s 100% ok to say no to things. Especially if you are already run down. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a step back.
If you need further support remember to let us help you here at Talk To Tom. We can be your guide - contact us on (0818) 303061or via Whats App. To launch a chat now click here. You can find out more about our counselling service here.
Other services you where you can reach someone to talk to are:
Samaritans offers a 24-hour listening service over text message, text 'Hello' to 087 260 9090 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply) or call 116 123 to talk to someone over the phone.
Childline text and instant messaging services are available from 10am - 4am every day to young people under 18, text 'Talk' to 50101 to talk to a trained counsellor by text message or call 1800 66 66 66.
Visit Your GP:
We always recommend that you visit your GP if you are not quite feeling like yourself. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your doctor is a professional health care provider and will be familiar with how you are feeling. Your mental health is just that - your health. You would visit your GP if you had been feeling physically unwell, right ? Your emotional health is just as important as your physical well-being, in fact the two go hand in hand. If you don’t have a current GP you can find a list of services in your area here. You can also contact the CareDoc service on 1850 334 999.
Contact the Emergency Services:
If you are an immediate danger to yourself and are going through a suicidal crisis please contact the emergency services by calling 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.