Self-care, self-care, self-care. It’s everywhere. Magazines, TV programmes, websites, social media. All telling us to boost our self-care or how we should be doing our self-care. But what is it self-care, why do we need it and how do you practice self-care when you have zero motivation? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and hopefully some spiration along the way too!
What & Why?
What is self-care anyway?
Essentially self-care is that we look after ourselves. Whether that’s our physical health or our emotional wellbeing. Bottom line is it’s about being kind to ourselves in a way that ensures we are nourished.
Why do we need self-care?
By caring for ourselves in the right way for us, it gives us the best possible chance of being physically and emotionally healthy. Without it, our health and happiness, can be affected, in both the short and the longer term.
Essentially self-care is our fuel. It helps us feel as happy and healthy as we possibly can.
Self-care can be anything from eating healthy meals to exercise, relaxing to music or getting a good nights’ sleep. But more about self-care activities later on.
When life’s good, it can be easy to look after ourselves. If, however, things change, a crisis happens, we lose someone close to us, our mood drops or life just goes from 100 to a 500 miles an hour overnight, all of a sudden, our motivation can disappear and taking our self-care with it Sound familiar?
Maybe, you’ve tried all the activities that used to fulfil you (possibly in a half-hearted kind of way) but nothings hitting the spot. Leaving you feeling even less motivated, grumpier with people around you and even more frustrated with yourself.
There is hope though. There are lots of different ways that you can look after yourself, giving yourself that TLC that you desperately need at the moment without it costing a fortune, taking up huge amounts of time, or require huge levels of energy and motivation which you haven’t got right now.
There are lots of self-care activities that you can do which can begin to coax your enthusiasm and motivation back. The key is to be patient with yourself and not be too hard on yourself, you are where you are right now and that’s OK.
Finding the right self-care for you.
We are all different, what works for me, might not work for you, so self-care can be a bit of trail and error, particularly if old hobbies or activities aren’t working for you. The trick at this point, is not to overcommit yourself to trying 10 new activities in one day, you’ll end up doing none of them and not feeling great about yourself.
10 – 15 minutes a day
Focusing on just one self-care activity for just 10 -15 minutes a day can bring huge benefits. It can really begin to rebuild your mojo.
Take a moment to step back and consider what feels lacking for you at the moment. Are you craving connection with others, a way to express yourself, rest and relaxation or reconnection with our health or spirituality?
Once you have an idea of what area of your self-care that needs your attention, it’s easier to figure out what might help the most right now. Here’s some activities that only take 10 -15 minutes that you might try,
- Accept offers of help from friends, family or colleagues
- Reach out to a friend
- Talk to a counsellor (OK, so this is the exception to the 15 minute rule!)
- Write a paragraph in your journal about anything at all
- Draw or paint
- Say no to things you don’t want to do
- Change your bedding
- Read a book or a magazine
- Listen to a podcast
- Have a warm bubble bath
- Wash your hair
- Cook a healthy, tasty snack
- Sit and enjoy your favourite hot drink
- Walk round the block
- Open the window and listen to the birds singing
- Pray or meditate
So, these lists aren’t exhaustive, there might be something there that you think, yes I can do that or yes I want to do that. Equally, you might be sitting thinking, no way but I could do x,y or z. Either is OK, but choose something that will make a difference to you and your wellbeing.
Do something everyday if you can. It might be the same thing, for example, a walk round the block or a bubble bath or, you may want to mix it up and do something different. It really doesn’t matter, it’s your way and that’s the right way.
It may feel like a real struggle at first. If it helps, make a note in your diary or put a reminder in your phone. But if this feels to pressured, try challenging yourself to do x activity tomorrow morning or tomorrow at some point before you go to bed.
Sometimes we make ourselves feel guilty for taking time for themselves. I get it, I really do, I’ve been there too but here’s the thing. You can’t care for others around you if you are running on empty. You wouldn’t expect a car to make a 200-mile journey with no petrol – think of self-care as your petrol! And you really are worth it.
Gradually over time, as your motivation returns, or time allows, you could try extending the time you spend on self-care, try new activities, or even try returning to some of your old hobbies that stopped working for a while.
Be kind to yourself
Self-care is a habit which can easily break when we feel distressed, down or a crisis happens. We can re-create the habit though. It may take time, patience and a dose of self-kindness but you really can make the change you want to.
Record your progress
Celebrate your progress
I believe it’s really key to celebrate our successes. Particularly when we are feeling down or demotivated. It can be so easy to beat ourselves up for not doing enough but by documenting and revisiting our successes, it’s easier to see our progress and how far we really have come.
So, if you’ve made a meal, walked the block or whatever it may be. Make a note of it somewhere, in your diary or journal, on your phone, or put little notes in an empty jar. As your list or jar starts to fill, you can see how far you’ve come. This can really help on a bad day. Seeing our progress and achievements can be a motivator in itself for many of us.
If you are really struggling with motivation or are stuck on a low mood that you can’t shake, talking to a counsellor can really help. Counselling really is the best form of self-care that I can think of and the benefits can last a lifetime.
I work with people just like you, so don’t struggle alone, get in touch with me on 07305 621885 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading
About the Author: Sarah is a qualified Counsellor, based near Chorley, Lancashire. She works with adults, couples and young people (aged 10+). Helping them to gain clarity, find new direction, resolve conflict, recognise themselves again and be less haunted by painful emotions.
Sarah has a particular interest in working with people who have experienced change (such as redundancy, retirement or divorce), loss or bereavement.