Looking After Yourself in the New Year
by See Change Ambassador, Aisling Heavey
Self-care is a phrase that is thrown out a lot these days and is something that has a different meaning for everyone. Getting into a self-care routine doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy and can be as simple as taking time to watch your favourite TV show, or to spend time playing with your dog. Coming into the new year, a lot of people will be taking on resolutions and making promises to themselves. How about instead of, or alongside this, that you make a self-care plan?
I am the type of person who likes lists and tasks. Sometimes this means that I overload myself with work and things to do. This happened last year and led to me having a flare up of my mental illness. Going forward, I must consider what my self-care plan is going to look like, and some of it will involve doing less!
I have set myself some small goals and habits and I usually track them using a diary and planner. Building a routine where I can fit in some of the things that I enjoy into my week, such as reading, painting, running and yoga is important. These are the activities that I really enjoy and help me to remember that life isn’t all about working.
This year I started by doing an introductory offer of a month of yoga in a studio near me to try it out. The classes are accessible from home which is useful, and I get to attend classes with different teachers to help decide what style of yoga and teaching that I enjoy. I’m going to continue by signing up for one pay-as-you-go class a week (remembering to try not to overdo it!).
I have also gotten some books for Christmas, and I am trying to read at least a few pages every day. This is helpful for me, as I have always enjoyed reading, and once I can concentrate, it really takes my mind off everything else. Getting back into reading can be difficult but remember there are different options out there – paper books, kindle books for phones or tablets, or audiobooks (I like to use audible for commuting and running). And once you find a book you like, good luck putting it back down!
Another important part of a self-care plan is having people nearby who you can talk to. My partner, my friends and my family are available when I need to talk, and to provide support when needed. My partner also helps to hold me accountable to the things I ask them to, such as making sure I try and exercise a few times a week. If this isn’t for you, having a journal or an app where you can write things down and get them out can be useful too. Sometimes you can feel better by just getting the thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
Remember that self-care is whatever you need it to be. Having a routine or simple things that help you in your day or week can be self-care.
If you are having a tough time at the moment and need to reach out for support, please contact any of the following