Self-care is absolutely vital.
When we take care of ourselves, become certain of our boundaries and treat ourselves with respect, this signals to others what our standards are. What we’ll accept and not accept.
Not just that, actions speak louder than words.
They weaken depression’s power over us.
If self-care is something you struggle with, you’re not alone.
We totally understand how hard it is.
We know it doesn’t always come easily and that you may feel a resistance to it too. You might also feel so completely knackered that the very thought of doing anything, is too much.
There’s also resistance. When we make any changes, there will be a resistance, an unsettled feeling in our tummies. Until the change becomes the new norm and the resistance then fades.
We post about self-care a lot on our social media platforms and quite often, we’re asked ‘but what is self-care?’
Self-care are those acts of caring for yourself – inside and out. What you might eat, drink, people you spend time with and how you might nourish yourself. Straightening out those wonky boundaries are also an act of self-care – learning that when you do something for someone, that’s a gift from you to them, of your time and energy, something you should enjoy doing, not something you feel is a sense of duty, an expectation of you.
Aside from the basics of self-care (those of us who have depression know how hard even those can be – brushing our teeth, eating well, washing etc), self-care can look different for everyone.
We asked our Closed Facebook Peer Support Group what self-care means to them:
Sarah Myers Start small, brush your hair, wash your face and brush your teeth and get dressed.
Natalie Fullofjoy Lloyd Get some sunshine/fresh air.
Frieda Blenkinslop Maintenance: do some physical exercise to speed up a lethargic system, it’s sometimes hard to get going but I always feel better after; fresh air; prioritising trying to get enough sleep; quality creative chill out – puzzle, sewing, reading, baking. Crisis: wrap up tight in a soft blanket, hot sweet drink, journal-ling if possible, let yourself self soothe in ways you might otherwise keep in check – rocking, etc.
David Jamieson If it comforts you or calms your mind it counts as self-care. As long as it’s not negative or harmful almost anything can be self-care. Whatever works for you is ok.
Stuart Middleton Try to exercise if you can. Find some time each day to do something that you enjoy even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Get some fresh air. Try and eat healthily.
Sarah Fox I have a happy book where I write down all the things which I enjoy doing (these range from small things like reading a good book or listening to music, to bigger stuff like hiking), If I’m having a bad day I try to do a few things from the book…otherwise I also find writing really helps, getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper can change them – or at least make you see them in a different light smile emoticon
Heather Eyre Mental self-care: Own any successes, no matter how small. Food: Try and pick balanced meals (even if you are craving chocolate). Go outside and notice the small things; feel the wind/rain/sun, hear the birds, smell the scents, see the colours. Even in urban areas you can find nature reclaiming forgotten corners. You deserve time to look after yourself.
Helen Sinclair I’m definitely a big fan of mindfulness and meditation. I find myself feeling a lot calmer with a regular meditation session. Exercise where possible – I do yoga when I can – and the small things like clean teeth etc make a huge difference to how you feel about yourself, I find. xx
Zoe Smith Breathe. I know the first thing that goes when I get in a bad place is my breathing. Take some time to regulate your breathing and it helps to slow your mind. X
Kerry Setterfield Have a soak in a nice warm bath with a good book.
Kitty Cragg Self Care when pushed for time – wash your face with a warm flannel and then a cold flannel, it feels so nice!
Zoe Smith I highly recommend the Calm app (looks like the Clarks sign) which is really good for grounding. Colouring in and/or drawing. The more intricate the pattern the better for me as I get totally absorbed in making it neat x
Helen Sinclair If we’re getting onto apps, Headspace is brilliant! 🙂
Sarah Myers Allowing your self to wallow. Some things happened in the day and you feel poo and just want to hide, say to yourself I can wallow and acknowledge your feelings for half an hour (or different time slot) then say your going to get up and do something ,wash,get dressed etc
Ellie Smith Changing your bedding and tidying your own space (makes you feel more relaxed and distracts you from negative and oppressive thoughts).
Michelle Ishy Comar I like to unwind in a warm bath with a cup of Epsom salt and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Mega bliss if this is candle lit with meditative or relaxing music on low.
Jackie Davies Colouring books, putting some make up on and dressing better. Cooking healthy food. Taking tiny bits of control back can have an immense benefit.
Michelle Ishy Comar Colouring books, doodling
Referring to the self care file on here
Shower or bath
Smellies – perfume, candles or incense sticks
Quick spur cleaning
10 mins then about the same off and back on – say half an hour of cleaning this way x
Anon walk my dogs, exercise and fresh air helps
Sophie Koranteng Setting yourself small goals for the day, even if just being good to yourself by watching a film. Not putting too much expectation on yourself
What does self-care look like to you? Is it something you struggle with? Perhaps you feel encouraged to give some of these a go? Let us know in the comments below.