Self-care & easy ways to take care of YOU

Self-care –  What does it mean? What does it look like?  And, more importantly, does anyone actually know how to do it?!

Self-care [sɛlfˈkɛː]

NOUN

  • The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
  • The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

It isn’t a new term but it does seem to require a new way of thinking and an acceptance that it’s “okay” to put oneself first.  In a world where demands on our mental and physical resources are at an all-time high, self-care has never been so important. Groups who identify as minority such as LBGTQ+ can find life at times even more isolating and will find the need to work on their self-care.

So how do we do it and what are the signs that we need it?

Have you ever reacted – or like me – over-reacted to a situation that in essence seemed minor?  Have you felt it building with a racing heart, tension in your head, a heavy feeling in your stomach or have you gone from 0-100?

The aforementioned, physical, visceral responses within our body are often ignored – or over-ruled – by our thoughts in that moment; but they are telling us something:

“I’m being triggered, I’m overwhelmed and I need to take some deep breaths and walk away”

If we can tune in to the physical “warning signals”, it gives us some breathing space -read self-care – and allows us the opportunity to consider our responses, be kinder to ourselves (and in turn those around us!!)

Free & easy self-care for everyone

I don’t propose to have all the answers but below are some free, achievable things that always help me.  If you have children at home – whatever the age – these can be hugely beneficial to them too.

  • Breathe – obvious I know but when we really listen to our breathing it grounds us and keeps us in the present, helping our anxious mind from running a muck. Teaching our children to tune in to their breathing can offer both them and you some calm.  Take 8-10 deep, long, slow breaths inhaling as much as you can and exhaling for as long as you can.
  • Get some fresh air – yes even if’s raining! And always look up rather than stare at your own feet – I’ve found there’s always something that you might otherwise miss – a funny shaped cloud, the sun creating ethereal rays, a moody sky…..

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love – Brene Brown

  • Listen to music – it can transport you to another place, evoke memories & lift your soul. On a recent walk I put on an 80’s play list, a song came on that reminded me so vividly of a good friend it prompted me to message her which then lead to some happy, fun memories being shared between us.  When my children were little they loved dancing round the room with me – and even now – if I catch the right moment they’ll still embrace it albeit through laughing at me!
  • Allow your feelings! All too often the tendency is to de-value our feelings, or pretend they aren’t there but it’s so important to allow them.  Avoiding them doesn’t make them go away – they’ll find their way and manifest themselves in other ways.  Part of having a full life is feeling all of our emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant.  If we are open to our feelings and emotions it teaches our children to do the same.

If you are at home with young children you can reach out to on-line family support groups – there is some really useful information on the BTW website.  This can feel scary but sometimes new friendships are sitting quietly just waiting to happen.

If you would like the support and friendship of a group at this difficult time and moving forward, please contact us at: bournethisway.lgbt@gmail.com

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