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  • Writer's pictureZhamilya

Self-Care Recommendations

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

The "Self-care" has become a cliché word in mental health.

It has become a trend or a "right" thing to say like "I need to practice more self-care". Sometimes people do not realise how little they put into those words. There is also an element of guilt about it for many people, who think self-care means being selfish and might put them off, but this is another issue worth a separate post.

There are plenty of articles and recommendations around how important self-care is, particularly in the current pandemic environment, and what is included in essential self-care: sleep hygiene, healthy diet, regular exercise, doing what you love, being positive, etc. This is indeed all important and essential for our bodies and well-being.

Similar to paying attention if you look after your body well, if you allow to move it, nourish it, let it rest and recharge, I am inviting you to expand the concept of self care to include care about how you FEEL inside of that body. I am talking about mental self-care, or self care about our emotions and feelings. These are vey often neglected, suppressed.

So with the concept of mental self-care the focus is looking after own feelings and self-worth. Start paying attention on how you think about yourself and talk to yourself, what you believe about yourself and how you feel about yourself. Is it actually CARING?

The approach to mental self-care is pretty much same as to looking after your body- nourish, stretch, move, cleanse, re-charge. But remember- this is essential care for maintaining your well-being. For addressing challenging feelings and issues it is best to seek support of a therapist.

The following 6 steps are recommendations how to practice mental self-care individually. Pick any or all of the following practices to build into your daily routine. At least for 10 minutes a day. Your self-worth will hopefully be slightly brighter and nourished after each practice : )

1. Rest: Meditation. Immerse yourself in plain vanilla stillness and calmness.

Up to 10 minutes is great. This downregulates your nervous system into calmness and helps your nervous system to be "at rest" as opposed to "ready for fight".

2. Cleanse and replenish: Switch on your awareness on your internal dialogue with yourself. Observe and identify your patterns of self- criticism, self-doubt, self-shame, self-diminishing. Make a conscious choice of replacing the old patterns with new affirmations. You can pick one at a time and replace it by new affirmation: "I matter", "I am worthy", "I am good enough" or "Its ok, I allow myself to learn" or any other nourishing affirmation. Write them down, remind yourself that throughout the day, and breathe. Even if you don't believe it in the beginning, its ok. Practice makes perfect.

3. Move: Gently explore your feelings. This can be done with assistance of journalling or drawing and by shifting your focus internally. The feelings don't need to be fixed or changed. They need acknowledgment and expression and that transforms them. By writing or drawing you are allowing yourself expression that help them move rather than be stale. Remember to keep breathing.

4. Move: Continue the expression of the feelings. Speak to someone and share about your feelings. Try not to keep it to yourself only, that can isolate you. Sharing is caring :) Chose a confidant based on your trust. Tell them in advance how you want to be supported- do you want to be just listened to, do you want them to hug you, or do you want them to make you a cup of tea. A lot of times our closed ones do not know how to support us and the other way round.

5. Recharge: Indulge into abundant stream of gratitude for your achievements, abilities, skills, people in your life. You can pick just one and linger on it, allowing yourself to spread the feeling throughout your body. Gratitude is a very recharging emotion that enriches inner world and resources.

6. Nourish: Wrap yourself in the warm memory. Choose one, even if it is small and something simple. Allow your soul to warm up in it. Its ok if you can hold onto it just for a few seconds.

Please look after your self-worth regularly, as it is the most precious asset you have!

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