I’ve had one relaxing weekend. I did some makeup shopping, watched three Harry Potter movies, ate a pizza, watched 3 episodes of the Handmaid’s tale and a bit of Grey’s Anatomy, topped up with some Youtube videos.
Yes, it was amazing.
And also very much needed.
I often complain (yes, I’ll admit to that) that I’m always tired or want to relax. Being in College means always having something to do and never having real down times, then internships mean always being on the run and not having a break, and also, preparing for the future whether it’s the next step or, gulp, a job. Not relaxing one bit.
Being someone who suffers from anxiety, I now know that I do really need my down-time to chill, hit refresh and get some rest. I don’t have the best sleep and therefore don’t always get the night rest that I should have. It’s not always possible or easy to relax, but when I feel that I’m going to hit rock bottom soon oh boy do I make the time.
Self-care for me is all about taking the time to make a body/mind scan and listen to myself. If my shoulders are stiff, my heart racing, my mind not focusing and I am very tired, then I need to take some ‘me time’.
Self-care will not have the same meaning for everyone, for some it will be sleeping until noon, having a good meal and chilling for the rest of the day, for others it will be going to the gym, meeting with friends and catching up on their private life. And it’s all good self-care. The only version that matters is the one that works for you. And it doesn’t have to be one version. I know that for me sometimes self-care = catch up on some sleep + Netflix all day but other times it means not looking at my phone all day, reading a book on the terrace and doing a workout or some yoga. It depends on which part of myself I want to care for: anxiety? tiredness? tension? bad mood? feeling blue? they all have their own little magic potion to hit refresh or get down the temperature a bit.
I have noticed that ever since I’ve started to really take self-care as part of my everyday life, I’ve been doing so much better. My anxiety is under control, my stress levels are manageable, I am calmer, more in tune with how my body and mind feel and overall happier.
I guess that sometimes we forget that caring about ourself is important too. I used to feel bad about putting myself first as if it means that I take care less of others but it’s actually quite the opposite. By taking care of yourself you can take better care of others, but not less. Because you do a regular checkup with yourself, you are up to date with everything that needs dealing with and therefore are overall better, so if someone needs you more, you can be 100% there for them and not just reflecting (involuntarily of course) your own issues.
Tips to practice self-care/ mindfulness:
- get somewhere quiet or put some headphones on with calm music
- get comfy, for me it’s crossed-legged on the floor, on my terrace or my bed and I make sure to keep a straight back
- take good deep breaths in and out
- do a body check: do a mental body scan of your entire body to notice tension and relax the area
- just let your mind wander and it will let you know what has been boiling in there so that you can calmly think about it
- if it helps, try to address your issues the same way you would for your best friend or a sibling
- it’s also a time for you to pat yourself of the back for the good things in your life or anything good about you lately
- make sure to breath deep and slow
PS: you don’t have to be in a specific “moment” for this, you can be with other people during a quiet moment or commuting. It’s just a moment to spend with yourself truly and just focus on you and how you are feeling. You can also be running or practicing yoga or anything that doesn’t require you to think about something else. Self-care and mindfulness don’t require any accessory but yourself and your attention.
What’s your favorite way to practice self-care?