It seems that since COVID-19 has been around, that the term ‘self-care’ has been the catchphrase du jour. The concept of self-care has actually been around for a long time. However, since this dastardly virus has affected the world causing isolation and loss and grief, the mental health toll has been severe. So how do you view self-care and whether to choose to do it.
The World Health Organisation defined self-care back in 1998:
‘Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.’
Is self-care the same as selfish? Absolutely not. If you care for your family and find you are so tired you can’t take them to the park, or spend so many hours at work that you never see your family – how does this serve you in the end? Self-care is about seeing the big picture as it applies to your needs, then any other’s needs. This works well in that if you do allow some self-care in life’s mix, you can then have more energy for others.
Mental health self-care looks different for every individual. If you take 5 minutes to think…. ‘What AM I doing for myself to maintain my mental health?’, and struggle to think of things, here are some easy to implement ideas:
Making time for a yoga class or a virtual yoga class
- Going for a walk
- Swimming at the beach or pool
- Going to the gym with wipes, mask etc
- Virtual dance classes
- Meeting up whenever possible with uplifting people
- Telephoning loved ones (videocalls are fantastic)
- Dancing along with your music selection when cooking dinner
- Reading a good book
- Watching a series on TV or a TED talk and discussing with others
- Online game playing whilst connected to other players
- Sitting in the garden, then weeding the garden!
- Cooking a nice meal
- Going to church
- Meditating or listening to some short mindfulness apps
- Singing to your music selection
Self-care is really about giving yourself permission to do small things for yourself that you enjoy doing. They may feel self-indulgent, but persevere! An example may be a busy mum going for a walk on her own, and a partner thinks, “Why doesn’t she take the kids with her?” thus causing resentment. This stuff may not be spoken out loud, simply implied with statements like, “Oh, I thought you might have taken the kids with you.” This is when good boundaries come in very handy as it is important to also let others know that self-care is vital for everyone.