Guest Blog - What is Self Care? by Ruth, My Simple London
All of our boxes are about encouraging the recipient to practice self care but sometimes I feel that the message of what self-care actually is can get a bit lost in thoughts of bubble baths and beauty products. What is self-care? For some people it can indeed be taking a hot bath with candles and a face mask, for others it can be prioritising a little time each evening to reflect on their day. For some people it's prayer, for others it's taking their dog for a walk. I'm so happy Ruth of My Simple London agreed to do a guest blog about what self care means for her.
Taking a bubble bath, eating a treat or cuddling up on the sofa to read a favourite book are just a few ways that have become associated with the more and more popular notion of self-care. I love to do each of these things but they are just a very small part of what self-care means to me.
For me “self-care” is the gentle practice of preserving and protecting my mental health. Self-care is not something that we need to add to our “to do” lists, which causes more stress and it is not an emergency response when we feel overwhelmed or close to breaking point. Self-care is completely the opposite of selfishness, I prioritise self-care to unsure I have the physical, mental and emotional resources to support myself and others through the ups and downs of life.
Self-care is wide and deep and very personal to each one of us. I think it is important to consider and explore what self-care looks like on a daily bases as well as more broadly. I believe it is important to have good rhythms to our days, these are the fundamental things that support our mental health daily. These may include always stopping for a lunch, getting outside, a cleaning or meal rota, allowing enough time so we are not rushing to school or work every morning. Once we have a supportive daily rhythm we can introduce self-care rituals, some of these rituals may be the same each day but often they can be flexible to what we are doing on a particular day or how we are feeling, these could be journaling, mindfulness practice, lighting a scented candle, crafting, reading, connecting with a friend or taking a bath.
As well as looking at self-care on a daily bases I think it is important from time to time to take a broader view and maybe look at the question – what is hindering my mental health? It may be helpful to explore the eight areas of self-care – physical, emotional, cultural and spiritual, environmental/space, professional, mental, financial and social and consider how we are doing in these areas? Life goes through ups and downs and we cannot control or do something about everything, but are there areas that we need to intentionally work on? For example: Am I struggling with a certain emotion? Could I talk to someone about it? Someone keeps provokes a negative feeling every time I see them on social media, could I consider blocking them? Am I worrying about my finances? Could I download a budgeting tool? Do I have a recurring ache or pain? Is it time to make a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment?
I am passionate about self-care and protecting our mental health, it is something we have to be intentional about and needs to be part of our everyday life. I encourage you today to take a moment to consider: How do you define self-care? Are your daily rhythms nurturing your mental health? What little self-care ritual are you going to do today? During this season is there something regularly playing on your mind? Is there something positive you could do about it?
Take care of you xx
All images by Ruth @ My Simple London