When you hear the words self care, what pops into your mind? A night out with your girlfriends? A mani/pedi? Haircut and colour? A stay at home in your pj’s all day, kind of a day? Buying those shoes you’ve been eyeing off for awhile? Some concert tickets? Curling up on the couch with a good book or your latest Netflix binge?
Self care! Is it something you prioritise in your life? Or does it seem too far away in the busyness of your family, work, health, fitness, home life?
For me, when in the midst of depression, self care takes on a slightly different appearance. Don’t get me wrong, some of the things listed above do happen or are a work in progress. But some, however, are already the norm! For example, spending all day at home in my pj’s is not something I need to work towards, rather the opposite! My psychologist says that if I am spend more than 2 days in a row in my pj’s, I need to phone a friend and get out of the house for a bit! The same goes with binging on Netflix, online shopping, social media and gaming!
I discovered this wonderful Instagram account called makedaisychains that has some delightfully whimsical interpretations of boring self care.
For me, self care can be much simpler! It can be preparing, cooking and eating a healthy nourishing meal. It can be showering every day – even if I am not going out anywhere. It can be putting the rubbish in my bin rather than piling it on my bench. It can be wrapping my arms around myself and giving me a hug. It can be making sure I spend time with the families whose children are happy to share their cuddles with me. It can be sitting in a sunny spot while enjoying a cuppa. It can mean buying myself some flowers as a reward to myself, after a challenging Psychiatrist session.
Self care, for me, does include a fortnightly visit to the magical hands and caring heart of my Ying! Ying has become a key member of my group of health professionals. I could also call her my friend. Many years ago, when Ying and her husband moved from China to Australia, she was a fully qualified paediatrician but decided that as she wanted to begin a family and she felt her English was very poor, she would not do the required extra years study to qualify her to practise as a doctor in her new homeland. Instead, Ying used the fact that when training in China, it was a requirement to study traditional Chinese medicine and began to specialise in acupuncture, remedial massage and cupping. She has been serving the people of Brisbane for many years with affordable treatment.
What a firecracker this woman is and I go to see her just as much for the pearls of wisdom and loving laughter we share together … in spite of her still broken English!! She shows such care and compassion towards me. When she can see I have an overly busy mind, she will entertain me with stories of her family, so that my mind might be distracted and rest for the time I am with her. She knows exactly when I need a hug. She knows I love my family and is always interested in what my boys are up to. She never forgets if I have a function coming up and often brings in to show me the clothes she is going to wear, if she has a special occasion to attend. She raises me up and encourages me, with absolutely no judgement.
Ying is not one of my simple self care actions. She is my A1, top of the pile, heaven sent, thank you Lord, self care blessings.
So I am in the middle of a Taking Care of Mandy fortnight, as prescribed by my psychologist. Where I am not to do any, I should or need to, actions but rather things I like to do, spend time with people I enjoy and go to places I like. That doesn’t mean just because they are things that make me happy there are not challenges involved – there are! And I will be challenged.
Yesterday, I went to the movies alone, which I really love to do and I also cooked a nourishing dinner. Self Care Tuesday – ✅ Today, I am writing, which my love of, is slowly returning after a period of second guessing my ability. I am also eating well for the second day in a row. Self Care Wednesday – ✅ Tomorrow I will be visiting with one of my favourite families for dinner and kid cuddles. Self Care Thursday – ✅ And so on for the next 2 weeks.
If only this could be my solution!
How about you prioritising some self care for yourself in the coming days?
What might you choose?