Happy new year!
Here in the UK, we’ve been unfortunately blessed with another lockdown which has been and is difficult for all of us. However, we do see light at the end of the tunnel. A critical part of wellness, particularly during a global pandemic, is self care.
Self care does not have a ‘on-size-fits-all’ clear definition in society as it is defined by the individual. For example, what one person deems to be their self care routine may be completely polar opposite from another person. There is the common and poorly judged misconception that self-care is based on selfishness and self-indulgence but that is not true. Self care is relating to all things needed for the individual’s health and wellbeing. This can range from medical appointments, getting a hair cut, taking showers or meditation. There are many ways people look after themselves and it really is dependent on the individual.
Why is Self Care Important?
According to the NHS, self care is about keeping fit and healthy and understanding when to seek advice from a GP or pharmacist. It is important to recognise when you are in need of some self-care time out, which can include ‘recharging’ from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Let’s face it, life can be busy, fast-paced and it can be hard to take time out for you. If we do not take time out, it can lead to burn-out which can be catastrophic for work and relationships.
Self care is not just about taking a hot bubble bath or popping a gorgeous face mask on to revamp your skin, although these can certainly be part of your routine to staying ‘well’. It’s about doing the more difficult thing like paying off your debts, exercising, eating cleaner, working on boundaries. Staying sane can be reliant on self-care. For me personally, as an anxiety and depression sufferer, exercise helps me stay well. Managing my finances helps reduce anxiety in the long-run. I am a Capricorn, granted, so I am a planner, boringly responsible and highly driven and I understand not everyone works in the same way. The point being, my self care is individualised to me.
Have a think about what self care looks like to you. If it doesn’t exist, it may explain why you’re feeling fatigued or ‘worn out’. Humans need self care in order to thrive and grow. Think of us like being a houseplant in your lounge. If you neglect that plant, it will be ok for a while because it is resilient, but eventually it will become limp, weak and eventually, it will give up altogether. Plants need nutrients, water, light and space in order to thrive. Humans are the same.
Now imagine all of what we have already said about burnout and mental wellbeing but in the middle of a pandemic… it is even more important. Look after yourself or watch your life fall apart. That is the bitter, harsh truth of it. We are powerful but we are not invincible. Practise self-care. It’s a beautiful thing. Scheduling our time for it might help. Your mental health will thank you for it.