• A New (and Unusual) Take on Self-Care

    Self-care doesn’t look anything like this

    Everyone’s full of great self-care advice, aren’t they?

    • “Make sure you drink at least 2 liters of water a day”
    • “Avoid all processed foods. Only eat organic, non-GMO food”
    • “Never use a microwave, the radiation will harm your food and you”
    • “Make sure to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night”
    • “Exercise and eat right so you can get off your meds”
    • “Say no to anything that doesn’t make you say ‘hell yes'”
    • “Keep your workspace (or home) tidy so the mess doesn’t stress you out”

    Those are all great pieces of advice. For some people. To be clear, they’re fine ways to take care of yourself. But they’re not the only way. Not by a long shot.

    Drink Some Water

    Will it stress you out to count how many ounces of water you drink? Then don’t do it. Stressing yourself out is anathema to self-care. Just make sure you drink some water. There are a couple ways to make this easier if you haven’t been much of a water drinker in the past.

    • Drink a few swallows of water when you get up, with each meal, and before bed
    • Choose a glass or water bottle, fill it with water at the beginning of the day, and keep sipping on it throughout the day. If you drink that much, it’s that much more than you’d been drinking.
    • No matter how much water you drink, make sure you’re getting fluids of some sort be it broth, or the natural juices of many fruits and vegetables.

    Eat Processed and Microwaved Food

    Is the alternative not eating? Then eat all the processed food you want if it’s the healthiest food you have the money to buy and the time to prepare. Don’t let anyone guilt you into not buying a processed microwavable meal that’ll only cost a dollar and be ready to eat in less than 5 minutes. You don’t need to justify your choice to anyone, let alone someone who isn’t paying your bills and cooking your meals.

    Get Some Sleep

    Forget about numbers. When life is coming at you with both barrels, sometimes 8 full hours of sleep each night just aren’t going to happen. Do what you can to get some sleep. I was just reading in the June 2019 issue of Psychology Today that weekly sleep is more important than daily sleep. That’s good news for most of us. Here are a few ways to get more or better sleep. Possibly. I mean, I don’t know why you’re not getting enough sleep. If it’s because there are literal jackhammers pounding outside your window (or other outside forces) my advice isn’t going to be much help.

    • Do a brain dump before bed. Write down everything going through your mind, even the silly, inconsequential stuff.
    • Use a warm heat pack on your belly, chest, or shoulders. Or hug it to you if you’re a side sleeper.
    • Put a drop of essential oil on your pillow case. Lavender, neroli, Roman chamomile, sandalwood, valerian, vetiver, and ylang ylang are the best oils for sleep.
    • Play relaxing music (less than 60 beats per minute). 2 of my favorites are Sleep Soundly and Sleepscape Delta by Steven Halpern. (Both are available on Amazon). These are not just relaxing, they’re created to entrain your brain to delta waves. (The ones responsible for deep sleep)
    • Use a white noise machine to mask outside noises.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours before bed.
    • Don’t go to bed hungry. Try a handful of popcorn, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or tart cherries. Or try a couple whole wheat crackers with nut butter. Avoid simple carbs or fatty proteins.
    • Try to find one night a week that you can go to bed early and/or sleep in. Make arrangements with someone to help out if you’re a caregiver for a family-member 24/7. No one’s an island. Not even you. That said, if you don’t ask (clearly and without guilting them) they won’t know exactly what you need. They also won’t be able to help.

    Take Your Meds

    Yes, it would be great if you didn’t need to take any meds, but that’s not reality for a lot of people in the world. If you’ve been prescribed medications by your doctor, take them.

    If you have trouble remembering, put them where you’ll see them and trigger you to remember to take them… Maybe in front of the coffee pot or next to your toothbrush, set an alarm on your phone or calendar, or ask someone to call, text, or email you reminders.

    If you’ve recently changed or lost insurance coverage, lost your main source of income, and/or the meds are just plain expensive no matter what, do not just stop taking them. Call your doctor and tell them what’s going on. They may be able to prescribe you a less expensive drug or tell you about local (and in some case state or national) resources available for people in your situation. If none of those pans out, they can at least advise you on which meds should be your top priority.

    There’s a reason you’ve been prescribed these meds, so even if your actual life isn’t at stake, your quality of life most certainly is.

    Say No to Whatever Isn’t Necessary

    I love the times in my life when I have the luxury to say no to anything that isn’t a “hell yes.” Sometimes, however, that’s not an option. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do for whatever reason. I’m not gonna judge your reasons.

    That said, you may have to re-examine what necessary means. Do you really have to clean the house from top to bottom on a daily basis? You’re probably not going to develop a mold or mildew problem if the floor goes 2 day or even 2 weeks without mopping. Is it enough on some days that you just make sure you have clean clothes and clean dishes? Probably. No one will die if that’s all that happens.

    Keep your Home or Workspace as Neat or Tidy as You Want

    Some people can’t function if the things that need doing are put away in a desk drawer for the sake of a tidy appearance. In other words, if it’s out of site, it’s out of mind. If that’s you, come up with an organization system to keep things visible without the chaos of piles

    TL;DR

    There are literally as many ways to do self-care as there are people living stressful lives. Basically, when your life has boarded the crazy train, as long as you’re eating something besides junk food, drinking some water, have clean clothes, and a non-filthy house you’re doing alright. The biggest thing to remember is that the form self-care takes in your life will change with life’s circumstances.

One Response so far.

  1. catseye says:

    This is advice that makes a lot of sense. Especially the advice about processed food and sleep. I’ve always caught up on sleep on weekends, and it usually works for me. Each to their own.