As you may already know one of my core values when creating Doodling Lucy was to help remove stigma surrounding Mental Health and to keep open conversations going.
Throughout September discussed self-care and it's importance in our everyday lives.
Signs you may need to focus more on self-care might be:
- Lack of sleep
- Mental burn out
- Physical burn out (styes, ulcers, muscle aches)
- Finding yourself doing things you don't want to do
- Not doing the things you want to do
- Feeling irritable, stressed, anxious, low, frustrated, low self-esteem
There is a misconception that self-care is all about the physical appearance, that whacking on a face mask and painting your nails will suddenly make you feel great - wrong, and anyway how does that work if painting your nails and face masks aren’t your thing?
Self-care IS actively developing, protecting, maintaining and improving your health, both physically and mentally. There are so many different ways of doing this (discussed below!)
What self-care ISN’T is selfish, another misconception of self-care is that it is selfish and that by practicing it it makes you self-centred. This is not the case, It’s giving the world the best of you rather than what’s left of you.
Excellent ways to practice self-care:
(Not all are needed! Find any which help or work for YOU)
I strongly believe exercise should be enjoyed and if you dread exercise you’re not doing it right! Exercise should be a tool to clear your head, it should be enjoyed whether it’s a walk with friends, yoga in your sitting room, a spin class at your local gym or wild swimming exercise is not meant to be a chore and certainly shouldn’t make you feel bad.
We all know the physical benefits of exercise but it also helps to release endorphins such as Serotonin and Dopamine which elevate your mood.
Mindfulness is knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. Mindfulness meditation is a great activity to add into your self-care routine.
Mindfulness meditation (which can be found for free on youtube! Calm is a great place to start) involves sitting/lying silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing or parts of the body, bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander.
Getting More Sleep
Easier said than done, especially when the mind is racing and there is 101 things to do in the day. The two points above should help. Sleep is so fundamental for so many things, growth, productivity, concentration, improved immune system functioning the list goes on!!
There are other ways to help improve your sleeping patterns including, routines, less "blue screen" time, improved diet, tidy and clean rooms (yep it helps!).
Learning to say no
Perhaps one of the most important points I wanted to bring up with self-care September. Having a ‘no’ list, this one might sound negative but it has a positive effect. Working out what you don’t want to do is a good way to practice self care.
It can start from small things like not checking your phone during meals, to stop checking emails late at night to bigger things like working out what (and who) brings you joy and what drags you down.
So often we say yes to things we might not want to do from fear of missing out, to please others or just feeling like this is what we should be doing. This doesn't have to be the case, if it's not a hell-yes! It's probably a no and you shouldn't be doing it.
I am the worst at doing this, I feel guilty for saying no to events I don’t want to go to, or commissions I know don’t fit in with my style (as my business has grown I’ve been better at saying no to these!).
This blog could go on and on but I will stop with those important ideas - some easy, some hard!
I really hope you that you take care of yourself, not just for you but for everyone else to - because self-care is giving the world the best of you rather than what's left of you.
Lots of love,
**Please note I am neither a clinical psychologist nor a doctor (not quite that brainy!) and therefore any views expressed are my own and not that of a professional.**
If you are feeling particularly low and wish to speak to a professional two good places to start are MIND and Samaritans. It's okay not to be okay.