In my latest post, I spoke about the importance of self-care for a healthy, happy life. This is the first of many posts on self-care that I plan on writing in the future! I know I’m no expert, but I’ll give my two cents and hopefully these tips will help people!
My first ever tip may seem like a silly one, but it’s something that helped me out today so it seems as good a tip to start with as any. I just finished a contract I had so I’m currently out of a job at the moment. In saying that, I’m quite happy to have my time back for the time being, and I’m not looking for another job just yet, but going from a strict routine to a flexible one can cause flare-ups.
When you’re used to getting up at 8.30am, making breakfast and having set times for your meals throughout the day, turning that routine on its head can be a bad thing for someone with mental illness. It can make you feel listless, kind of like a failure, useless. Or a fun mix of all three! I find that a way to avoid these feelings is keeping some semblance of a routine, and one of the best ways to do this is to make breakfast in the morning. Even if you wing it for the rest of the day, grounding yourself with a familiar thing that everybody else does to start their day can make you feel less like you’re floundering.
The act of breakfast making can be very relaxing in itself, whether you’re pouring milk over cereal, making a tofu scramble or flipping pancakes. I usually go for a nutty mueseli with chunks of dark chocolate or blueberries on top. I could opt for something sugary, and if that works for you then go for it, but I like to pick something packed with antioxidants and fibre to give me the best start to the day. I figure if I’m getting out of my bed I might as well make the most of it!
Another great thing to do is to get up early to make breakfast for members of your family, your roommates, your partner. It can make you feel useful, like you’re contributing and making a difference to others’ day. If you’re at home all day like me, you might not speak to another person at all until they get home, so make the most of the morning time. It’s so easy to just lie-in (and yes, it feels amazing until you get up to an empty house) but it’s much better for your mental health to get up and about.
Nourishing yourself and others with food that’s lovingly prepared feeds your soul as well as your belly. I have the luxury of time in the morning now so I can spend as much time as I want preparing my breakfast. Make breakfast a main event rather than an after-thought.
Stroll out into the garden to have your first cup of tea of the day, pluck some flowers or sprigs of mint and bring them into the kitchen with you, set the table properly, make tea in an actual kettle, use the good cutlery, whatever puts a smile on your face. Then when you’re finished preparing, really enjoy your food. Close your eyes and allow your tongue to properly taste the food before swallowing. Make eating an experience. If you’re sceptical, at least give this a try, you may be surprised at how it can set up your day for the better.
What are your best self-care tips? Let me know in the comments!