Before I fell chronically ill, I didn’t really give much thought to self-care. It wasn’t a word I heard often and no-one really talked about it. I guess we were all too busy living life to be concerned with slowing down. It’s now something that I make time for every day. And it’s taken me a while to realise that self-care when you are chronically ill, can be absolutely anything you need it to be.
Self-care put simply is about meeting our needs and doing things that help to maintain our well-being. For many, this includes things like meditation, yoga and spending time outside. And, while those things are wonderful and great, sometimes they feel completely out of reach.
So today I wanted to share 5 simple, easy and achievable ways to practise self-care. These are the small things that I try to incorporate into my day.
1. Putting on a Fresh Pair of Pyjamas
On the days where I feel particularly rubbish, fatigued and unwell one of the things I do for myself is put on a fresh pair of pyjamas. Sometimes, I don’t feel like I want to get up and change. But, for whatever reason, it just makes me feel that little bit better. And– if someone else is home to do it– I love pairing this up with fresh sheets on the bed. Getting into a clean bed with fresh pyjamas is one of my favourite things.
I’ve always been someone who lounges around in pyjamas, even before I was ill. When I was a teenager, my Dad used to call me “pyjama girl” because the second I got home, my PJs were on. There’s just something comforting about them. And when you feel crap, anything that brings comfort is a must in my book.
I am wearing pyjamas from Simply Be in the photos in this post, which I was very kindly gifted. They are really comfortable to lounge around in. Simply Be have a good selection of PJs, so I’d recommend checking them out if you are looking for a new pair.
2. Taking Time Out to Drink a Cup of Tea
I’ve previously mentioned in one of my Instagram posts that, until a couple of years ago, I was never really a fan of tea. I actually trained myself to like it and now I absolutely love a good brew. There’s something so comforting and relaxing about settling down with a good cuppa.
What I try to do is completely switch off when I am drinking my tea. No distractions, no nothing. I take time out to chill and recharge a bit. It can be easier said than done but if I do it, I know I’ll feel much better for it. Making the time to switch off can be really helpful and improve how we are feeling.
3. Relaxing With a Good Book
Reading can still be a bit of a challenge for me at times but getting fully immersed in a book can be so positive for my mental health. It is a form of escapism I guess. I tend to only read a little at a time but, it’s some time out for my body to rest (I’m normally flat out but I propped myself up for this photo). Though I am now able to read in short stints, in the past I’ve used Audible as I found audiobooks more accessible.
4. Listening to Music
I am one of those people who is very affected by music and I use it so much in my recovery. I have albums and songs that I listen to when I need a bit of a pick-me-up; if I want to feel more energised; if I need to calm down and chill out or even if I’m feeling sad and nostalgic.
I think music can be so powerful and healing. And I’m so glad that music is back in my life. At one point, when I was really sick, it was too overwhelming to listen to. So it’s a really positive sign of progress that I can listen to the bands I love again.
I find that my whole physiology can change when I listen to music. Depending on what I listen to, my breathing and heart rate can slow and my body completely relaxes. It’s amazing. And I love nothing better than to dance (or well… let’s face it… shoogle about a bit) and sing along (terribly I might add). It can really lift and brighten my mood.
And I absolutely adore my record player. It’s actually a great tool for pacing. I put a record on, sit and chill (in the aforementioned pyjamas with a cup of tea) and I rest until I need to get up and flip the record. It’s a good way to time rest and it enforces doing nothing but chill out.
This might sound like a strange one to finish on but it’s honestly one that can be so powerful. So much of the time, I can find myself fighting how I am feeling. My health can be very up and down and I find myself not wanting to accept the downs. When I have settled into a new routine of being able to do things (whether it’s as simple as a little bit of housework), I resent when that is suddenly taken away from me.
Fighting gets me nowhere though. It’s learning to accept and surrender to how I am feeling that does. If my body is craving sleep, I surrender to it and sleep as much as I need to. If I need to spend the day resting in bed, I do it.
Surrendering is often the one thing we fight but it truly is an act of self-care. And if we listen to what our body is telling us, in my experience, it always leads to something better.
What are your simple self-care tips? How do you incorporate self-care into your day? Let me know in the comments down below.
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This post contains photographs of PR samples that were kindly gifted to me by Simply Be.