Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare – Audre Lorde.
Self care goes out of the window when we go round the hamster wheel. We work to make money to pay for bills and to buy things that we want and pay for experiences that we hope will change our life. When we’re not working, we attempt to keep ourselves alive and fill our time with social activities, hobbies, side hustles and somehow manage to sleep and eat in between too. Where’s the down time? These past couple of days, I’ve been living the reality of too much stress, trying to do everything at once and quite frankly, failing at it. My body rejected all the things that kept spinning around in my mind. That and getting drunk and wandering home in the rain in nothing but a little dress and leather jacket doesn’t bode well for a healthy body a couple of days later. The inevitable happened. I got sick and I spent an entire day in bed dozing on and off which I haven’t done since I got seriously ill earlier this year. I don’t want to burn out again any time soon and so I thought of a few things that I want to instil into my almost everyday life that might also help you if you are on the verge of getting the dreaded cold that seems so small, but impacts your entire life in one fell swoop.
GO TO BED EARLY
I started going to bed early when the sun began to set earlier, signalling the change in season and a time when it is perfectly acceptable to wrap up warm under blankets and shut the rest of the world out completely. Honestly, I love getting cosy in bed with just the bedside lamp on at around 9pm in the evening, especially on a work night. It completely relaxes me and allows me to have me time too. I have always loved going to bed early in the winter, ever since I was a teenager in school. I even prefer going to sleep at around 10.30pm. It sets me up well and truly for the next day during the colder months so that those dark mornings don’t seem as terrible when there is no natural light to solidify a brand new day.
READ A BOOK
Of course I’m going to say that reading is one of the greatest forms of self care there is. I love reading and it is a passion that allows me to get lost in another world for a time that could last as little as a lunch break or as long as hours on end. Reading does – for me – what watching a film on Netflix can’t. With a book, I am able to fully immerse myself into the story and take however long I need to understand the characters and relate to them in a way that only scratches the surface in a film. I can enjoy the story for however long it needs to be read whereas a film has a specific time frame. If you don’t enjoy reading, insert whatever pastime that truly takes your mind off everything in your life, whether that is a TV series, a form of exercise (I really need to do this more often!) or playing a game that has you hooked.
HAVE A LONG BATH
I have a feeling that my bath is going to become one of my best friends this autumn. I’ve never been a “bath” person unless you count the days before we got a shower in my family home when I was little. I find it quick and easy to shower and never really understood everyone’s desire to have a long, hot bath. I’m beginning to understand the relaxation of it these days. I ran myself a soapy bath in the middle of the day and read my book in there for a little while. It was glorious.
GIVE YOUR HOUSE AN “AUTUMN CLEAN”
Forget spring cleaning your house, get it ready for the winter months. With Christmas slowly creeping up on us, your house is about to be bombarded with wrapping paper, decorations and hopefully some special gifts that need a new home! Go through your things and sort them into piles that need to go to charity, be sold, or put away for the brighter seasons. Tidy your books, your food cupboards, your drawers. Make your home cosy and invest in candles to light as the darkness looms. This is the place you will be spending the majority of your time (apart from work) during the colder months, so make it the best place it can be.
WRITE DOWN YOUR FEELINGS AND YOUR DREAMS
For a lot of people, autumn is like the beginning of the year, a time where goals are set, and reflection begins. Sometimes all we need is a little bit of time to ourselves to write down what we are truly feeling, no matter how bad or how good it is. Perhaps there has been a lot on your plate recently and it is all pent up inside of you with nowhere to go and so it goes round and round in circles until your mind is completely exhausted. Writing it down might not alleviate all of your problems, but it will put them somewhere other than your mind. As for dreams, they come and go. Write them down and begin now.
GET SOME FRESH AIR
Wander around your hometown or city. Go for a long walk in the countryside. Drive somewhere random and then walk for miles. Wherever you go and for however long, breathing fresh air into your lungs will instantly lift your mood, clear your mind and make you feel a hundred times better than before. As the air becomes brittle, the last thing on earth you want to do is leave the warmth of your home and head outside, but that feeling of cold air against your face as you’re all wrapped up will be quite possibly one of the best things you do for yourself all day.
How will you be practising your self care this autumn?
Love, Faye xo