It’s clearly that point in January when Christmas is barely a memory, new years resolutions have gone the way of the dodo and the forecasted -15 degrees is getting people down. To combat this advice is flying all over the internet; I woke up to about 101 emails on the subject of self care.
Now, self care is something I’m still wrestling with. I know it’s important, I know it’s helpful and I’m working on feeling that I’m worth it.
In amongst the emails, there were a couple which stood out for different reasons. Blurt had sent an email which included a link to a long list of suggestions for self care and part of my struggle is knowing what works for me. I know from a lot of attempts, that a bath is not self care for me. Now I know these days I can’t actually get in the bath so it’s not an option but prior to that I had this vision of the perfect bath which would make me feel better. Instead I would lay in the water getting cold and filling my head with nasty thoughts about my body. Back then, this was the only thing I knew about self care so you can understand why I wasn’t into the idea. I’m now a little wiser. I know a bath will never fix me. I also know that a bath isn’t the only option for self care.
And that’s why I like the list from Blurt but also Chronically Kate because I know that she knows that self care is harder when you are ill. Yes, self care is hard when you’re struggling with depression, I know, but factor in epic pain and exhaustion and take away a load of self care options, and you’re in a different situation.
I can’t go for a walk in the fresh air, I can’t write frantically in a journal, I can’t hole myself up with a book and read and read and read, I can’t bake, I can’t go to the sea on a whim, I can’t do anything on a whim. So what does that leave you with?
Well, one of the things that Kate advises is pausing and checking in with yourself. I think for me this is becoming a big way to look after myself. It’s something that I’ve been working on with my psychologist. I imagine different people have different ways to do this but I needed some tools for it. So I have started to use tarot cards to check out what I’m thinking and feeling more clearly. I also have a couple of inner versions of me which, sort of like the idea of an inner child, and I check in with them as a way of checking in with myself. It’s similar to voice dialogue but has been a very organic thing which has developed in my therapy sessions.
I’d be interested to hear how other people check in with themselves or what other people do for self care.