What is Self Care?
Self Care is a necessary tool and dare I say it- a lifestyle - for all people not just those with serious, chronic illness both mental and physical. It is a daily proactive habit to ensure that symptoms are under control, pain both physical and mental is keep at a minimum.
Self Care is like a coffee cup or a personal bank account.
We must deposit into our personal Self Care account as much as we withdraw from it. Think of a healthy bank account - it looks best when it stays out of the ‘red’ and in the black. It gets regular deposits and withdrawals are replaced often.
The same as if it was a coffee cup- it needs refilling often to ensure the coffee stays hot, the cup stays full & it doesn't run dry & leave behind all the yucky dregs.
Self Care falls under six categories which are all as important as each other:
Physical - To care for your body by 'moving for your mind', sleep, proper medical care, medication, breathing, supplements.
Lifestyle - Structure/routine, relaxation, setting goals, pleasure, fulfilling work.
Emotional - Positive self talk, working with a counsellor/psychologist, feeling your feelings, positive beliefs, journalling.
Spiritual - Prayer, Meditation, Spiritual community, Forgiveness, Finding purpose & meaning.
Workplace or Professional - Having boundaries for work/family and with your colleagues.
Relationships - Building strong relationships through quality time, boundaries and good conflict resolution. Family & Friendships, community support.
What is Self Care Not?
Self Care is NOT selfish.
Think of the plane analogy; they always advise us to place our OWN oxygen mask on first so we can then help others properly. It's the SAME in life- we can't relate to, love well or communicate with our families and friends properly without our survival kit against mental illness : Self Care.
Self Care is NOT the same for everyone.
Self Care is the art of managing your mental illness for your everyday. Your day may look radically different to someone else. I know for a fact that my day with my mental illness & chronic pain is completely world's apart from others who have other types of chronic pain & mental illness.
And that's ok.
Self Care is not a 'tack on'
Self Care is the daily practice of self loving action to ensure one's mental health, physical health and it's symptoms and triggers are cared for- to that basic function in life can continue.
It's not fluffy doonas & smelly candles (although they are really nice to include!) It is a lifestyle to ensure we are at our best & as far away from the time-suck that chronic symptoms & illnesses can be.
It's our secret sauce to staying well- mentally, physically & beyond.