First things first, I have absolutely nothing against a bubble bath.
I think making time for yourself is really important and a bath can be something that gives you that, but I think self care specifically is more about why you’re having a bubble bath, not the action of having it.
For most, having a bubble bath is easy. If we have time. You just put on the taps, wait a little, and sit. Wash. Get out. I’ve never been someone that spends hours in the bath and it’s purely purposeful – washing to be clean – so I’ve often found myself thinking, is it actually relaxing?
Anyway to me, self care isn’t about relaxing. And baths are a common association with the term ‘self care’ so hey, it’s my kind-of-metaphor for the idea of not just having a bubble bath ‘because self care’ but understanding that you deserve to look after yourself and actually wanting to do that.
It’s quite a hard thing to think about. Do you think you deserve to feel good?
Whether you do or don’t right now, here are some self care ideas which I think make more of a deeper and long-term impact (I can only talk from personal experience though) and can be gradually introduced into your life or thought processes to help you build yourself up.
Here I am again banging on about meditation. If you think it sounds like a load of old shit, don’t worry – I did too. Until I tried it, and now I’ve meditated most nights for the last like three years. I like it because it encourages me to try and clear my head out, and to try and learn to experience anxiety without instinctively pushing it aside or forget about it. It makes me more capable of managing my emotions and sitting in uncomfortable situations, or tuning into my body to understand it better which is think is really important. A big part of CPTSD is being able to understand and manage what’s beneath your triggers which is really, really difficult but meditating made me more comfortable with listening to what my body is telling me without pushing it away because it’s not nice.
Implement boundaries and try to stick with them
Get to know what you need. Make an effort to understand yourself and find a balance between what you need to do and what you want to do. We can’t all never do anything we don’t want to because that’s not how life works, we have jobs, families, relationships, children, but I do think a middle ground is important. Don’t say yes to things when you don’t mean yes, and try not to feel guilty about it. The whole point is understanding that your needs are important and wanting to meet them.
Appreciate your body and what it is capable of
Stay with me – this has absolutely nothing to do with appearance. The appearance of your body has nothing to do with whether it deserves to be looked after. Instead think about what your body has achieved and what it is capable of – hands that write, legs and feet that walk, the ability to procreate, the list goes on and on and on. Try to see your body in this way and don’t punish it. Give it fuel without feeling guilty and look after it – it’s your home!
Give yourself time to think
I don’t know about you but I tend to experience two extremes. One is either going to bed with a brain trying to tell me a hundred things at once and lying awake thinking about it all, or going to bed completely mindlessly without having even given a single thought to the day that’s just happened. I think the reason for both these occurrences can sometimes be down to not giving myself time each day to just think to myself actually what’s going on? What happened today? That’s another reason I like meditation – it gives me an opportunity to check in with myself and be like OK I need whatever, or actually I feel alright about things. You have to give yourself time to process.
Social media for better
I am in no position to tell people not to use social media and that absolutely isn’t my intention. I’m more interested in focusing on how I use it and trying to make my time on social media more purposeful or positive. A few months ago I decided to start posting things that I find helpful or inspirational – usually by mental health creators – and to follow accounts that provide something educational, inspirational or supportive. I really don’t care anymore about famous people posting their latest luxury items or thinking about how active other bloggers are online when I’m all out of ideas. Instead I started following more accounts dedicated to PTSD support or mental health awareness campaigns.