As someone who has a chronic illness, it took me a long time to look after myself. I had a new normal that wasn’t the normal of the world. I felt guilty I wasn’t normal and working the way everyone else was. I still tried to keep busy and over-volunteered. After many years of stops/starts, I finally started looking after myself properly. That is I listened to my mind and body. In fact, I looked after myself by doing this blog post a week after its usual posting.
Everyone is different and you don’t need an illness to slow down and look after the most important person in your life - you. Because if you don’t, how can you look after others, or achieve what you want to achieve? Burn out is a big issue for a lot of people.
With the uncertainty and the chaos of the last couple of years with Covid-19 entering our lives, it’s more important than ever to look after yourself.
What people have realised is that the stress and doing of working and a busy life takes a huge toll. To avoid covid, we know to mask up, social distance and get vaccinated is sound advice. We have been so busy with that many have forgotten to do the normal looking after oneself.
So what are some normal things we can do to look after ourselves?
Nap or Meditate
I love my afternoon naps and have them most days. It helps me reenergise.
Can’t get to sleep? Don’t worry. Use that time just to close your eyes and relax. Or meditate. Personally, I tend to fall asleep most times I try to meditate, but the deep breathing is good for you. I heard recently that we don’t breathe out fully as we should and having a few deep breaths fully in AND out is beneficial.
Move away from the computer. It’s so easy to pass the hours away in front of the keyboard typing out a story (or checking your social media) but it’s important to move. Put reminders to get up, or do something requiring movement in between tasks. I use chores as a way of moving. I do one task, then go sit at the computer for an hour and then do another task.
Remember to have that drink bottle on your desk. I find it better than grabbing a glass of water because I’m more likely to drink more. However, if you are good - you can use the refill of the glass for ‘moving’ as mentioned above.
For many years I didn’t have a proper breakfast. I notice the difference now that I do. It helps stimulate the little grey cells (as Poroit puts it). Eat regularly and having a balanced diet helps you overall. It’s so easy to skip meals and forget when you’re busy or on a deadline.
Is pampering for you getting a massage? Or getting your hair or nails done? A facial? Going on a shopping spree? Having lunch with a friend? Eating an expensive chocolate? Having a bubble bath?Whatever it is, spoil yourself once in a while.
Hanging out with kids or pets
Kids live in the moment, and as adults we tend to think in the past or the future, so it’s a great thing to remember. They have boundless energy and love doing all sorts of activities.
Pets are the same. My dog enjoys being fin the moment and loves to be petted ALL the time. Her unconditional love and companionship is just priceless.
Don’t have a kid or pet? Games are a way of living in the moment and they’re so easy to get. The app stores are full of them and there are a few games stores around with physical games.
I like Solitaire. It helps me unwind at end of the day (sounds counter intuitive I know, but it works that way for me). I also enjoy doing an online jigsaw sent out daily to a group I’m in.
I truly believe reading feeds the soul. It helps to reenergise and let our imagination run wild, and our inspiration (and muse for writers) spark off as well. You can escape when reading and forget about your life for a little while.
With such a choice in streaming services these days, and with so many shows available, it's so easy to veg out and watch a favourite program. are only a click away. You can binge an entire season or space it out by watching an episode here or there (or watch a movie instead).
Commune with Mother Nature
Being outside - even if it’s in your front or back yards helps us get out of that funk that we can get when we’ve been too long inside. I always feel better for it even if it’s for a short while. We have a luch green garden that is so wonderful to be in. I’m not the green thumb of the family but I appreciate it. Do you have a local park you can walk to? Or the beach nearby? Perhaps you want to start your own garden.
There are many ways to be creative - you can do anything arty such as drawing, painting & colouring, or something crafty - such as making scrapbooks or cards, pottery, or ceramics. There's so much to choose from.
Social media can help people be connected. You can find like minded people and stay connected(I have writing friends on Facebook and use it also for my design business).If it helps, connect with people you haven’t in a while. I do think a time limit is a good thing if you are wanting to be productive in other ways.
Social media can also make people feel more isolated as they have can feel overwhelmed at the amount of posts, or have FOMO (a fear of missing out), or people compare their lives to others,(especially to glam pics thats are usually staged). If you need some time out, take some social media free days.
Mixing it up
Since our lives are on the screen a lot these days, I recommend mixing activities that are non-screen related in with your screen time.
So how about it - are you ready to look after yourself?
And do you have any tips on looking out for yourself for our audience?
Eleni Konstantine writes speculative fiction and has had a number of short stories published.
Read one of Eleni's earliest short stories with Apprentice Bound - free on her website.
Ddrill is on the hunt for candidates for apprentices to enter the Order of Enchantment.Can he find it in the backward land of Marinndi?