Friday 11 December 2020

5 Practices to Implement into Your Self-Care

 Self-care is necessary at the best of times, but right now it is more important than ever. There are different challenges to our mental health than life pre-pandemic, and we need to adapt and think of new ways to look after ourselves we maybe didn’t have to consider previously.

1. Write a list of everything you need to do

Anyone who knows me in real life will probably know how much of a list person I am. I make daily lists of things to do, and have a huge list on a Google Doc separated into different categories, to help me keep track of different areas of my life (e.g. uni, my blog, other projects, general life things, etc.), and honestly, having these lists helps me so much. 


Having everything stuck in my head stresses me out, and leaves me overwhelmed and confused. My making a list of everything I need to do, no matter how small, I dump everything in my mind onto the page (whether paper of digital) and I can think so much more clearly. I guess it’s quite similar to how some people use journaling as a tool to clear their minds. 


2. Go outside

Get some Vitamin D! As we’re all spending so much time inside now, this has become much more of a chore or something we have to remind ourselves to do. Even if it’s only to pop to the shops or a five-minute walk around the nearby streets, you’ll be glad to have a change of scene. I think having somewhere to physically be is something we all miss and feel like we took for granted, I know I do. I used to spend most of my days out of the house working in different uni buildings or cafes, and I am definitely going to miss that this year. However, I’m still trying to break up my days with scheduled plans to walks outside, even if it’s just to sit on a bench with a cup of tea for 10 minutes. Brave the cold, get moving and get some fresh air!

3. Cook something from scratch

Cooking is like meditation to me. Whether I’m cooking in silence or having a dance party in the kitchen, the act of putting together something nutritious always calms me down. I’m not sure if there’s some psychological links behind it, but having that process does wonders for me and really helps me unwind and to really do something I love. And you have to eat after, something you may forget to do if that’s the space of mind you’re in, especially as the days blur into one in lockdown. 

4. Speak to friends or family

Just because we’re socially distanced, that shouldn’t mean that we have to be socially distant – if that makes any sense at all? If you’re able to, foster the relationships you cherish and try to stay connected where possible. While we do need time to ourselves, humans are social creatures at heart, and this forced behaviour will take its toll. Wherever possible, we must try to mitigate that. Just remember that if you’re seeing people you don’t live with in person to make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions to protect both yourselves and others and that you’re following the law wherever you are (i.e. standing at least one metre apart if not two metres, wearing masks, unless you have a medical reason not to, and being outside if possible).

5. Fight for change 

Like many others, I believe that activism is a form of self-care. Wellbeing is not an individual thing. It is dependent on us as a collective, and political decisions impact on the wellbeing. A bubble bath is useless if mental health services aren’t properly funded, or if systemic racism is damaging both the mental and physical health of people from ethnic minorities, particularly Black people. Calling for wider systemic change not only seeks to improve overall wellbeing in the immediate term, but also for longer term impact so that future generations can have an improved wellbeing and better mental health than those who have come before them. 


In the words of Audre Lorde: ‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare,’ and therefore all acts of self-care, whether acts of sheer survival or of engaging with wider political systems, are acts of defiance and revolt.

If you liked this post you might like: Self-Care is Not Pretty | Rethinking Wellness


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