Six Women On Self-Care
I’ve recently started exercising again and I normally catch up with friends over the weekend, but with my reading load for uni I find it hard to find time to read for pleasure.
Sometimes I feel like the emphasis on self-care can be really toxic. Sometimes I don’t look after myself very well but that’s the best I can do at that point and that’s okay. Self-care to me is more about knowing when and how to say no to things I don't have the capacity to take on.
I like to listen to music. This is something that feels really indulgent. I also like to see friends who aren't related to uni/work.
Indulging in things I like has always felt like an innate part of life, but actually identifying it as something that should be guilt free is probably a newer thing for me. I think getting older and doing things by myself makes me want to reward myself, as it feels like my responsibility to keep myself happy.
I try to do a workout session each day. I also stretch every night before bed to relax. I also love researching things… listening to a podcast and writing notes, reading a book or simply scrolling through the Internet.
I've found that if I have a few days off from exercising I start to feel agitated and stressed. Self-care is so important to me as I've learned that it helps me stay calm and helps me not feel as stressed. I also know that if I feel relaxed I will portray that feeling towards other people, which helps keep everyone happy.
It can be really hard to look back at my week and realise that all I did all week was for other people (as in working for others). It’s always super important for me to have that outlet that comes from self-care.
It’s both in the action of doing something for myself, and in the reflection on it, that makes me happy. Just realising that at the end of the day, if no one else is there for me, I'm there for myself, I am my own best friend and that’s so important for me.
I try to find time for myself everyday. Some days are harder then others as life, jobs, family, friends and responsibilities can fill up days to the brim. For me finding time for myself is meditation, reading a book (when I feel like checking Instagram I pick up the book instead!), keeping a diary of thoughts and feelings as they come up and sketching rough self-portraits to let out these emotions.
Most importantly I surround myself with people that I love and that love me for who I am. It’s definitely a gradual thing for me, the more I meditate and diary the kinder I am to myself in my mind. I think it's something I will always be experimenting with because I'm a walking project. For me it’s a constant progression of cultivating love for myself and everyone around me.
As I have become an adult what I have realised is my self-care is really my responsibility, and there a lot of societal pressures that act to threaten that, in a way - be it the pressures of materialism, success, perfection, to be happy all the time... whatever whatever.
As I've reflected on self-care more, I've also come to realise that mainstream media kind of centres the idea on mainly pleasure seeking activities - watching TV, a bath, a massage or whatever. Those are nice things, but self-care can also be practical things that keep your life on track - going to therapy, enrolling for uni on time, keeping your room tidy, being honest in relationships. These are also acts of self-care because they help you keep your shit together and minimise unnecessary stress... in my opinion, self-care is not limited to short term things that make you feel good temporarily, but also good habits that help you achieve your goals and keep you in good mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Edited by Paris Jeffcoat
Thank you to @catfoulstone, @imogen.ivy & @flavourfoodflow for the images.
Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000.