Self Care…it’s all about YOU

As we near the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, (which falls from 14th – 20th May) it dawned on me that – thanks to movements such as this campaign – a shift in collective consciousness finally has people openly talking about Mental Health.   Raised Mental Health awareness consequently brings to attention our own, individual, mental wellbeing, which makes the present time as good a time as any to shine some light on self-care.

So, what actually is self-care?   And why’s it so important?   By very definition, self-care is taking the time to take care of yourself – that’s your mind, your body and in turn, your happiness.   When you work in Social Care, your capacity to care for and help others is highly dependent on you taking good care of yourself.

Self-care means educating yourself and implementing changes – no matter how seemingly small – to improve your wellbeing and quality of life.   For example, we all know that, ideally, we should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, but, did you know that not enough sleep prevents your immune system from building up its vital forces, increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as having a significantly negative effect on your; mood; concentration; productivity; weight (just to name a few!).

Whether it’s attempting an earlier bedtime, looking at where your diet could improve, or aiming for a consistent discipline such as one litre of water a day, when was the last time you stepped back and considered the way you’re looking after yourself?   When was the last time you did something for yourself?   When did you last re-charge your batteries and indulge in some self-reflection?   Because, often, we don’t contemplate our wellbeing until it hits us that we’re really not all that well.

No matter how busy you are with work, set two hours aside and watch your favourite ever film, listen to your favourite album the whole way through, take a walk in the country and enjoy the fresh air in your lungs, reconnect with an old friend and reminisce about days at university, re-read a book that makes you cry and laugh simultaneously.   Do something for yourself, and do it regularly, and do it without any guilt.

There are thousands of websites, blogs and forums evolving around the subject of self-care, but below are three which come highly recommended:

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