I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care, recently, both professionally and for myself. And, while people are increasingly getting to grips with the fact that there’s more to self care than a candle-lit bubble bath or spending all afternoon on Call of Duty, there still seems, in popular media at least, the idea that self care is being “nice” to yourself or (if you’re a Parks and Recreation fan) treating yo’ self. Don’t get me wrong, I think we could probably all do with being kinder to ourselves, but that’s not always the same thing as “nice”.
The thing is, though, I started to realise a while ago that the things that actually make my life better, more manageable, aren’t always that much fun. Obviously, I tried to find the loopholes in this realisation because, well, being a sensible adult is sometimes rubbish – particularly when life is hard – but grudgingly I came to accept the things I needed to do and to at least start to do them. That’s when I came across the term “boring self-care” and it just made sense. Hannah illustrates these acts of boring self care brilliantly:
My self-care routine won’t be the same as yours, but there will probably be some overlap. As much as it pains me to acknowledge it, when my living or working space is clean and tidy, I just feel better and more on top of things, so I make my bed every morning when I get up and make sure that all my washing up is done and put away in the evening. I’ve also taken the same approach at work – I spend the last 10 minutes on a Friday (or the first 10 minutes on a Monday), clearing my physical working space. And it make a difference. I’ve started to do the same with my digital workspace too but, well, that’s trickier.
I’m not claiming to have discovered some brilliant, mysterious secret with this, but it’s the type of “common sense” that can go out of the window when we’re stressed, feeling overwhelmed or struggling with other mental health issues. Certainly, a couple of things I have noticed are that (a) if I stick to my self-care routine my wellbeing increases and (b) that when I find it harder to stick to my routine, things might not be going so well and, therefore, it’s even more important to get stuck into #boringselfcare. A bit like the quote from Saint Francis de Sales about meditation:
“Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.”
Five things that I try to incorporate into my daily routine are:
Make my bed and shine my sink
Get outside and exercise (even if it’s just a walk)
Make dinner from scratch
Have a conversation with a friend
Get to bed before 11pm.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, pretty much as soon as this blog is finished, I’ll be running the bath, ready to bathe, not by candlelight, but by the wholesome glow of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But THAT’S because I’ve done my boring, helpful stuff already.
So, I invite you to think about your boring acts of self-care that would make your life better. And, if you’re feeling brave or want to make yourself feel accountable (or if you’ve got this stuff nailed and want to share how you’ve managed it), why not leave a comment?