So, according to the NHS, from the 13th to to 19th of November, it’s going to be Self Care Week. So, since I’ve started the Postnatal Depression Toolkit, which will have a lot of self care related suggestions, I thought I’d do a post about what exactly self care is.
What is Self Care?
I’ll be honest, it’s probably pretty self explanatory. The Self Care Forum describes it as the following:
“The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.”
Without really realising it, self care is something I’ve gradually used to keep my depression at arms length. I’ve gotten that good at building my repertoire of things I do that my depression (not counting the postnatal version I had earlier this year) has petty much completely cleared.
If you want to get a better idea of what self care is, and some of the things you can do to help promote your own mental health, then here’s the Self Care Wheel:
I’ll be honest, that wheel almost looks a little daunting. But it’s not like you have to incorporate all of the above into your life to give yourself a better mental balance. It’s all going to be trial and error; you’ll be adding a bunch of things and then forgetting about some of them.
But this is a long process. For me, over the last few years, I’ve managed to sort my diet out (I’ll cover that in a post), took up yoga, done meditation on and off, exercised quite a lot, started getting more reflective about myself, I keep looking for new perspectives on life and of course I’ve started writing a blog (which you are currently reading).
When it comes to depression, and probably mental health in general, it’s very easy to just seek a simple, straight-forward answer that takes the least amount of effort. Depression, after all, is something that can easily cripple someone’s motivation. This is often why medication is dished out as a solution to a much more complicated problem.
Don’t get me wrong, medication has its place. Before you start even thinking about self-care you have to actually have the desire to do it. Being on medication can start the momentum rolling in the other direction, and when it gets rolling, it’s your job to keep it going.
Personally, I feel that everyone has easily forgotten what animal we actually are. We were never meant to live cooped up in a house, surrounded by technology, isolating ourselves from the outside world whilst eating sugary, processed foods. We’re still the same creature that lived in caves and had small close-knit tribes that depended on each other daily. But we’ve lost all that, and these days we think we’re something so much different, when in reality, we’re not that much more developed.
I’m not saying let’s all go live in caves. That would be silly. But what I am saying is that we need to remember what our bodies want, and try to help it out. You take care of yourself in this way and the mind will easily follow.
Just remember: self-care isn’t selfish. Planning out time to give to yourself should be an important part of your life. Being at your best mentally will mean everyone around you will benefit too, so try to give yourself that time.