Prioritising Self Care

Many people have remarked on how well I’m coping with all the setbacks I’ve faced in my life, especially this year. Developing resilience doesn’t come naturally, it needs to be learned and nurtured. I thought I’d share some of the ways I incorporate self care into my daily routine, and hopefully inspire others to develop their own resilience.

Until I prioritised my own self care needs, I was a bundle of nerves to the point of social anxiety. I had difficulty enforcing my boundaries so that I was a punching bag for others’ abuse. My self esteem was so low that I had absolutely no confidence. If I did speak up I was knocked back down so I built up barriers and sunk into my shell.

I went to therapists and they helped to some extent but I still lacked confidence. Getting really fit helped with my self image but I was still lacking in self esteem. Even though my external appearance was the best it had been for years, my inner self was struggling with self doubt and negativity. I was rushing around trying to fit all my responsibilities into my daily routine, which left little time for myself.

The real change came last year, when I finally lost a lot of weight. I had a coach for my weight loss program who rang me every three weeks, not only to set goals with me, but also to give me positive feedback about my progress. Having that regular contact helped me lose over 17kg and graduate early from the program.

That success gave me so much confidence. The changes I had made included regular exercise, a new healthy diet with lots more vegetables and the joy of cooking and gardening. With it came the realisation that I had to prioritise self care.

My top tips for self care are:

  • Get outdoors daily. Natural light is better for you
  • Ladies wear makeup (even just tinted moisturiser and mascara) even when you’re not going out, and men shave. You feel better about yourself when you’re groomed. It goes without saying, but shower and brush your teeth too. You’d be surprised how many people don’t, as a nurse you see it all. Wear clothes that make you feel good, and that make you look good too.
  • Exercise daily, even just a walk. You will get natural endorphins.
  • Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. Eating junk food depletes your energy and will have long-term repercussions if you base your diet around it.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re tired, rest.
  • Have regular massages, beautician visits or manicures purely for the enjoyment of it. If this is outside your budget, you can do at-home spa sessions . My favourite routine is a soak in a bubble bath with a face mask on, and lovely soft music playing, followed by beautiful scented body lotion. I definitely make time and room in my budget for regular professional massages though because it helps me manage my chronic back pain.
  • Listen to the sound of water. We have a pond with a fountain and the sound is so relaxing. You can get the same effect from white noise apps or a small water feature. Bubble baths, swims in the ocean and looking at waves lap on the shore are also calming.
Tips for prioritising self care collage
Tips for self care
  • Practice gratitude. Regularly write down a list of all the things you’re grateful for. Thank other people too, it goes a long way.
  • Spend time with your pets and loved ones. If you have young children or grandchildren play with them. Being around pets and children allows you to see things from a different perspective. Play games with them and their laughter will cheer you up.
  • Hug someone! Social distancing laws made this impossible and a lot of people struggled with not being able to have physical contact with their loved ones. I really missed not being able to hug my best friend and relatives that didn’t live with us.
  • Do something creative for example drawing, painting, baking, music or writing. I found a great colour-by-numbers App, very similar to the paint-by-numbers paintings we did as children. It’s so relaxing. Jigsaws are also calming.
  • Use your brain – do crosswords, puzzles or Sudoko. Learn something new like a language or skill.
  • Read books written by people who are inspiring in some way. I’ve read a lot of books by people who have faced the worst adversities and come through them. That gives me confidence to tackle anything that comes my way.
  • Have less screen time. Avoid reality TV especially – it’s just trash. Only watch news from trustworthy sources – don’t get all your knowledge from Facebook and Instagram. Knowledge is power, so don’t get sucked into believing everything you read or hear.
  • If you’re sick stay home. I know we’ve heard that constantly this year but I’m shocked by how many people go to work and school when they are sick. By resting and recuperating your body has a chance to heal. If you’re working and mixing with other people, it takes a lot longer to fully recover and you’re passing it on to other people. Those people may have compromised immunity or other health issues which would lead them to develop much worse illnesses than you.
  • Most important – reach out to someone if you are not coping. There are resources there to help you. Avoid people who suck your energy from you or make you feel worse. These are some help lines available in Australia:
Australian Help lines for people struggling mentally
Help lines in Australia for people struggling

Once you start prioritising self care, it will become part of your daily routine. It will be easier for you to assert your boundaries and say no to people. Your confidence will grow, and you’ll feel so much better within yourself. You will be more resilient when life throws unexpected stresses and crises your way.

Go on, you deserve it.

Please share if you enjoyed my article. I would love to hear what your tips for self care are in the comments below.

Please note: I am not a registered mental health practitioner. The information provided in this article is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not replace information provided by your own mental health practitioner. Please refer to my Disclaimer

https://www.denysewhelan.com.au/denyse-blogs/share-your-snaps-5-25-51-lifethisweek-50-2020/

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19 thoughts on “Prioritising Self Care

  1. Hi Christina – these tips were so practical and sensible – obviously from a perspective of someone who has found what has worked – not what sounds good. I love that they’re not expensive either – it’s all well and good to recommend spa days and weekends away in lovely resorts, but for those of us on a budget it’s much more helpful to have ideas we can do for little or no cost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leanne, yes very true. Most people are trying to save money where they can these days, and the best things in life are free! During lockdown I think it was contact with their loved ones and the freedom to do simple things like go to the beach that people missed the most. Thanks for your comment – much appreciated, regards Christina

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  2. Some great tips here, I especially like getting outside for some fresh air, some puppy cuddles and a soak in a bubble bath. One of my favourite self care tips is for sleep. It is so precious so I’ve been leaving my phone in the living room at night time which is great because it’s not the last thing I look at before bed or the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and I’m not exposing myself to that nasty blue light!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sammie , as a chronic insomniac I love that idea. I really should leave my phone alone at night because I’m sure it just keeps my mind wired up. I might try that tonight. Thanks very much for your feedback, regards Christina

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  3. You’ve found so many things that work for you – thank you for sharing. We have a birdbath that my husband made in the backyard that we can see from our kitchen and living area. The young magpies are always so entertaining when they jump in it – always makes me stop and smile and just be in the moment. Enjoying those moments without feeling like I’m wasting time by not doing something “more important” is a form of self care for me. Smiling and feeding your soul is important too.

    Take care now. Sandra. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great tips. For me it’s getting outside, my morning beach walk, and my doggy cuddles. I read yesterday that there’s a name for that: The Lassi Effect. I love that. It really is about the simple things.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post with lots of takeaways Christina. Thank you. Congratulations on all you have done to help yourself…even when it is ‘the last thing’ you want to do.

    I read something recently and it’s helped me. “Even if I can’t get motivated, I can be disciplined and do what I have to do”. Being disciplined even though I might not ‘want’ to has helped me eat a bit better despite my limitations and get outside more.

    Today, I needed a break from a pretty stressful week and I was over-thinking..so I drove over the the ocean and spent some time trying to see any whales (none) but it was getting out and ‘being in nature’ that shifted things.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek and I look forward to seeing you again next Monday when the optional prompt is 26/51 Best Time Of Day. 29.6.2020 Take care, Denyse.

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    1. Thankyou so much for your lovely comment Denyse. It means a lot. I do find it hard to push myself to do something when I’m not motivated. I probably need to do what you did today – take myself somewhere peaceful and beautiful like the beach, clear my head, then get back to it. A good balance is the key. Thanks for the suggestion, regards Christina

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  6. Christina, This is great information and resources always and especially today. We are living in unprecedented times with new challenges. And yes, you know first hand about challenges and coping with setbacks.

    Really great points on “resilience.” Another great point on “inner self” versus “outer self.” All of your tips are doable and make a huge difference to our overall health. One tip I am focusing on lately is less screen time because of all the negative news. Thank you for sharing an excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Erica. I’m glad it resonated with you. I agree, we are living in unprecedented times and we’re having to cope with new stressors for the first time. I wrote this to try and help those who may not have dealt with so much adversity in their lives, to inspire them to still find time for self care. Regards, Christina

      Liked by 1 person

  7. HI Christina I love your positivity despite all you have been through and yes, self-care is an important tool to keep us going when the going gets tough. Only last week I put on some makeup and a scarf and felt a million dollars. Self-care doesn’t have to be overly complicated or expensive. I know that sitting and watching the ocean and taking the time to breathe are easy to do but the benefits are huge. Thanks for sharing with us at #MLSTL and wishing you a speedy recovery. xx

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  8. Lovely post! Wow. Thank you for sharing such personal experiences and giving your advice. I agree with your tips and right now, with what’s happening in my country, I am practicing the less screen time more than I’ve ever done before as the news really sets me on edge and triggers my anxiety. Thank you for sharing these and reminding that self-care comes in many forms – such as writing. I see that some of us here in the blogging world has used this medium for our very own outlet of self-care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m glad you found my article helpful. I do draw on my personal stories when I’m writing because I feel like I can give a first hand account of what has helped for me, and perhaps inspire others. I agree that blogging helps us to use writing as an outlet but there’s still many areas of my life that I won’t write about and that is where journalling comes in. Regards Christina.

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