Self Care

Rewind 12 months.

“This is really going to be my year you know, 2018 is going to be the year of self love” I say to my friends, as our January exams draw to a close and the promise of a new year and a new semester is in sight.

Lets just say that didn’t quite go to plan.

Nine months into 2018, I found myself straight back into the habits of late-night working and a diet consisting mainly of sugar and caffeine. Finding myself as tired and as anxious as ever, the “self love” just wasn’t quite happening.

Living a life rammed full of university, part-time jobs, family, friends, relationships, fitness, socialising, commitments, cooking, career planning… time can begin to feel like a bit of a balancing act for a 20 year old.

Add a healthy dollop of Generalised Anxiety Disorder and an overwhelming sense of responsibility to ‘DO something’ and ‘KNOW what it is you are going to do’ now you are in your twenties, finding time to look after yourself can seem like the least of your worries.

Running on coffee isn’t the answer, no matter how pretty it looks…

A few months back, I realised that in all the flurry of late-night coffee-induced deadline-panicked work sessions, I had forgotten to “look after myself”, the very basics of self-care. So after a visit home from uni, and some reading up on the subject, I made a short list of things to do just to keep myself healthy, to get back in touch with reality a bit. I keep it in the notes on my phone.

Of course this list is subjective. What may work for one person may not work for another. But I wanted to share this, in the hope that perhaps some of these little things I have to remind myself of sometimes can remind someone else to take a moment, or a few, to take care of yourself, remember what you need, and take small steps towards reaching that.

So here it is, my 15 point guide to self care:

  1. Tell people what helps.
  2. Work out what makes you feel good, and what makes you feel bad.
  3. Then, change / prepare for difficult situations.
  4. Be kind to yourself.
  5. Spend time with family and friends.
  6. Relax – listen to some music / take a walk or a bath / cook something.
  7. Get enough sleep.
  8. Eat well and exercise.
  9. Personal care – shower, get dressed, feel good in your appearance.
  10. Avoid negative self-talk. Challenge negative self-beliefs.
  11. Be assertive. Don’t blame yourself for things that are not your fault, learn how to say no, set boundaries for how much you do for others.
  12. Set small goals for yourself.
  13. Celebrate your successes, without belittling them.
  14. Accept compliments.
  15. Love yourself first, so you can love others.

Lets hope in 2019 we can be a little kinder to ourselves.