The Skeleton - Physical Self-Care
Physical self-care can be a tough one, but is so straightforward when you get into a routine. Basically, you're just making sure that your body is well-nourished and happy. That's all.
Firstly, let me get something straight - this is not going to be about diet or weight loss. Ever. This is about taking care of yourself physically and loving the body you're in for this whole lifetime, and making the positive changes so that you feel the happiest in it.
If you are living with mental health issues or chronic illness, physical self-care can fall quite far down on the list. So the advice below can be adapted depending on what you feel you can manage day-to-day.
The basics of physical self-care are nourishment, hygiene, exercise and rest. Additionally to this, take a few deep breaths and assess how comfortable you feel right now, and if there is anything you can do which can improve your comfort level. This can have such a positive impact on your emotional well-being as well (check the advice from The Cat for more emotional self-care support). You're just checking in, like you would with a friend, and asking if there is anything you need.
Best tip ever -make sure you stay hydrated. Drink water. It's boring, I know, but this can help - not only with your physical health but it can support clearer thinking.
Treat yourself to your favourite food - if your favourite food isn't accessible to you right now, make a note of it and remember it for the next time, and how good it makes you feel. In the meantime, there will be something you can gather together (easily, if needed) and you can enjoy it mindfully rather than watching TV and not even noticing you're eating, which is something I'm sure we all do without realising.
Some of us have a more in-depth body care regime than others, but its all about what makes us feel good in ourselves. Even if its a spray of dry shampoo and a short shower, versus a long soak in the bath (away from your phone), whatever feels right for what you need and what you can manage.
This can be as active or gentle as you can manage. Take a walk outside and pay attention to everything around you, (check out The Witch's Hat for mindfulness and grounding exercises) or just try this indoors if that feels right for you.
Sitting stretches are a big help for me, these can be done at any point during your day when you find yourself sitting, and are gentle enough for most people's abilities. Head to the Spooky Self-Care Society Facebook group for a downloadable worksheet showing some stretches you can try.
You can also try the progressive muscle relaxation technique - this can be done standing, sitting or laying down. Just take a slow, deep breath in and tense up all of the muscles in your body all at once - clench your fists, your stomach muscles, your legs, your jaw, everything. Hold this for a few seconds, and then release with a big exhale. This helps get rid of tension wherever you're holding it (for me, its usually the neck and shoulders!) and relaxes the body and mind.
Get a decent amount of sleep, if you can. I know it sounds easy but many of us experience insomnia and difficulty switching off. One of my favourite pieces of advice that I was given when I couldn't power down was just to remind myself to rest quietly. I often find that sleep follows more quickly when doing this than trying to force myself. Say to yourself 'I am just resting quietly', coupled with some slow gentle breathing and your mind and body will follow. We'll also get into putting together a pre-bedtime routine which can make a difference too.
If you have lots of things running through your mind at bed time, maybe try writing them down to get them out of there. Check out The Crystal Ball for more advice on how to control your worries about the future.
Come and share your tips or talk about what you need support with in The Spooky Self-Care Society Facebook group, or share your routine with the hashtag #spookyselfcaresociety on Instagram.