Ok, so what is self care and self love first of all?
The regard for ones own well being and happiness.
So in simple terms self care and self love is quite simple, it’s about putting yourself first (as so many of us put others before ourselves which is all great and wonderful but we need to take time out to put us first too otherwise you will burn out and then you won’t be any use to help others then). So it is showing yourself some love and care and every list of items of this will be different for each person as we are all individuals but there will always be similarities because its about stopping, thinking about our needs and putting ourselves at the top of that list for once, and yes that includes you reading this! Let yourself feel emotions, let yourself have a bad day, bad days are normal and it’s ok o have them but it’s how we go about dealing with them that matters.
But what are some simple things you can do for self care right now when you’re chronically ill and having a tough day:
Breathe. Simple as it says on this page. Breathe. (I know, sounds so silly when you read it, say it out loud and think really?) I thought that for a long time too and I’m not telling you to suddenly take up mindfulness as that’s a whole different kettle of fish, needs it whole own blog and I’m not a huge fan being completely honest but it works for some people and its all about what works for us as individuals!) But trust me when I say just taking a moment out of your day to stop, focus on your breathing for just one minute can actually help a lot more than you realize. We are all so busy, 24/7, out, online, constantly on our phones whether from our beds or work or just trying to get through the day and it actually really does help to take a moment.
Deeply and slowly breathe. Four counts in. Six counts out. Or just as many as you can do, the breathing out is the most important letting all that air, energy and stress out.
Put on some new pj’s, doesn’t mean get dressed glamourous, put make up on or even have a shower if you don’t feel up to that (I know I don’t some days). But just putting on some nice fresh comfy clothes can really make you feel that little bit more fresh and better all round.
If you’re able and feel up to it, having a nice relaxing shower or bath can be wonderful to do (bath bombs from Lush are my favourite thing!) If that’s too much for today that’s no problem but just a wash of the face or even a face mask can make you feel that bit better even when a shower is too much.
Hydrate and get food into you, our bodies need it. Whatever way you can, whether it’s orally, through a tube, feed or IV. Hydrate and get fluid and food/feed into you.
Write it out, get creative, I love being creative and that doesn’t just mean drawing (I can barley draw a stickman!) But it just means creating, using art to let out all those feelings and emotions. Drawing, colouring, writing, doodling, scrapbooking, card making, letter writing, crafts of any kind and so much more.
It’s all about getting creative and doing something you enjoy, for me it’s writing, it really helps me get out what I’m feeling and no one else has to see it can just be for you, a vent/rant book, a diary, a scrapbook, just somewhere you go to when you’re feeling a bit meh and you want to write about it.
A little add on to this, if you want to try and get things done but are feeling overwhelmed and stressed writing “to do lists” then writing things out into small, more easy to achieve goals can help too. But a little tip, when doing to do lists, make them into realistic goals that you feel you can achieve and in short term to long term lists. When doing it pick one thing out at a time and concentrate on just that one thing. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Another little add on to this whilst we are talking about lists is writing a “done list”. This may sound strange at first but when I’m having a tough day and are being particularly hard on myself it really helps me to see what I’ve done that day and 99% of the time I’ve done more than I gave myself credit for and seeing it written down on paper/or on a phone makes it real. You may be thinking “yes but I’ve really not done anything today?” But you have. I’m talking, I got out of bed, I changed clothes, I went from the bedroom to the lounge, I did my meds, changed my feed, I had cuddles with Willow and played with her fav toy and game for 10 min, I answered two WhatsApp messages and watched my favourite Netflix series, I then managed to have a shower and write in my diary for the weekend. So actually that’s a lot? Because what I haven’t included there is ALL the medical bits I’ve also done on top of the normal 4x daily meds and feed, all the exhaustion, pain, sickness and flare ups I’m dealing with and you are likely too. So despite all that I still got all the above done? Now that is a lot and writing it down helps us to see it and stop our minds taking over and being negative when actually we should be proud. Continuing to keep going despite the battles, now that’s real strength.
Talk, reach out to a friend or family, whether it’s online, in person, in text, WhatsApp, phone call, skype, reach out to them and let them know you’re having a tough day. People care about you and they want to listen but sometimes we have to take that first step especially on these harder days.
Put your favourite music on, put those headphones in, stereo up, Bluetooth speaker on, phone or iPad with your favourite playlist, happy and upbeat, get your groove on, dance like no one is watching, sing a long to your hearts content, let the music take you to another place.
Just like with the music put on your favourite Netflix series or start a new one, or your old time favourite film that you know backwards but still love to watch again and again.
With the above if you don’t feel up to watching then maybe read a book or listen to an audio book or podcast.
If you’re able to get out and about then do, even if just for five minutes, it can make a real difference a change in our environment and feeling the fresh air on our face, sunshine and blue skies (or rainy days but still fresh air!) Take a walk, with your music and headphones maybe? To a coffee shop, dog walk or just down the road and back. Or if you’re not able then find your nearest window, open it and look outside, take in the nature around you and feel the fresh air on your face.
Snuggle on the sofa or in bed with your blankets, cup of tea (if you can) or drink of your choice (keep the hydration up!) to rest, watch the tv, listen to music, watch a film, listen to that positivity podcast, cuddle your dog, or whatever animal or pet you may or may not have, or close your eyes and have a nap. You deserve it, rest isn’t bad, rest is good. Because we need to savour our energy more than most so we can live our lives and do the things we want to. So never feel bad for just lying back and resting. It’s okay to do, it’s okay to put you first and it’s okay to also not be okay, just never suffer alone and if you’re still really struggling after all of this then always reach out even more, I’m always here to listen too as well as so many others. You are never fighting alone.
But I hope this list helps just a little, let me know if you do anything from it or have a read. Feel free to share.