A Beginners Guide To Self-Care


10/23/2015


"Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication." (Source: Self-Care Foundation)

The term "self-care" is one that I have heard many times, mostly since I first became unwell a few years ago. It is not something that I'm very good at practicing myself. However, as I've learned more about it, I've come to realise the importance of it. At the end of the day, if we don't look after ourselves, who will? Nobody. That's who. So today I give to you my beginners guide to self-care with some tips on how to practice it. The art of self-care might mean something different to each individual person. There isn't a one size fits all option; you've got to take time and discover what feels good for you. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Reading.
  • Yoga/Meditation.
  • Netflix.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Treating myself to a hair/face mask.
  • Organising.
  • Taking myself on a date. (Yes, really! I love to go for coffee alone.)
  • Learning a new skill.
  • A fresh manicure. 

You Need To Create Time For It

It's easy to get caught up in an every day routine. Life is busy and the days can fly by so quickly. However, it's just as important to make time for self-care, as it is for working and socialising. This is something that I am very bad at and I'm working on making more time to look after myself and simultaneously learning how to say no to other things. I've learned the hard way that if you don't take good care of yourself, the consequently everything else will soon suffer. I often hear people make jokes about how "sleep is for the weak" when in reality, sleep is incredibly important if you want to succeed. Feeling constantly exhausted and mentally drained is a big no for me and when I don't get enough sleep I feel like I can't do anything at all.

Without Feeling Guilty


Self-care is something that we should all strive to make part of our daily routines. I always hear my friends say that they feel guilty for taking time out for themselves. This is a feeling that I can definitely relate to as I often feel that way myself. However, it's important to know your limits and try to block out how other people might make you feel about taking time to yourself. Unfortunately this is often easier said than done. Only you know what you truly need, and there should be no guilt when it comes to self-care.

You Can Still Be Productive If You Want

As much as I love to take time out to do almost nothing at all, I also really enjoy when a form of self-care can be both relaxing and productive. A great way to achieve this is by exercising or learning a new skill. When I go home to visit my family, I love nothing more than to run a hot bath and relax with a book. This way I'm relaxing but I'm still feeding my brain.

No Matter What - Look After Yourself

I love to treat myself to new clothes and make-up. However, it all seems pretty pointless if I'm feeling run down. No amount of make up in the world will cover up the fact that I need to sleep more, drink more water and generally look after myself a bit better. When I am stressed or run down it shows. There ain't no hiding it. Stress can have a huge, serious effect on your health and that's not something to take lightly. You never know what's around the corner and your health should always be a priority. This is something that I didn't take seriously at all, whatsoever, because when you're young, you just feel like you're invincible and nothing bad could ever happen to you. I've learned that it's never too soon to start looking after yourself. By taking even half an hour to practice self-care, you could change how you feel for the rest of the day.

I would love to hear your suggestions for practicing self-care. Let me know!

Personal: World Mental Health Day


10/10/2015



Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay and I'm sure many of you already know that this subject is very close to my heart. I have suffered from depression and anxiety ever since I can remember, I have been professionally diagnosed by my GP and treated for it over the years. I have found counselling along with self-care to be the best form of treatment for me, personally. As some of you may know already, I have always been very open about my personal experiences, however, I think when I was younger I was probably a little bit too open online. As I get older, I understand the importance of being more selective with what I choose to share, so these days I only share really personal information if it feels really important.

I was scared to write this blog post, but in the same way, I was also scared to share my cervical cancer diagnosis a few weeks ago and that turned out to be absolutely one of the best decisions I could have made. So many of you got back to me about it and it feels incredible to have reached out to so many people. I couldn't believe how many of you were going through similar experiences. I feel the same way about spreading mental health awareness, it's very personal to me but I know that so many people are going through something similar and it's good to know we're all in this together. Many of you have commented on my social media pages about how brave I have been through my treatment, but honestly, I've become very good at covering up how I feel and I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely terrified the entire time. I didn't feel brave at all. Some days I would read your comments and feel like a fraud, however, the love and support I received is what helped me face it head on – so thank you you all so very much.

To be honest, these past few years for me have been plagued with anxiety and depression. I shared my experience of living with chronic pain on the blog a few months ago, so some of you may know this already. It has been a very overwhelming, distressing, confusing, mentally and physically draining journey for me. It's easy to cover up how you feel on the internet, and there's nothing wrong with projecting an online “persona” as such. However, I think it's important to take days like World Mental Health Day and use them to share what's really going on behind the scenes. This might seem like too much information for some people, but I personally feel a great deal of admiration for others who share their stories. I know it helps me and I hope I can help you too. I think it's necessary for us to continue to talk about this topic because too often it is just swept under the carpet.

My anxiety has been over another level recently and I'm determined to get extra for help it and work on feeling like “me” again. I know by allowing others in and by opening up about my own struggles and experiences, I will continue to feel better and hopefully help others too.  Remember that you are not alone and we are all a whole lot stronger than we think. It's incredibly important to talk to people and support each other, no matter what. You can even talk to me if you want to. Let's help break down the stigma that surrounds this topic and remember that mental illness doesn't define us.

xo Karen

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