I think it’s safe to say that we all like to show the “best of us” to the outside world.
This is particularly true when it comes to social media. It just doesn’t occur to us to take a photo of our children mid-tantrum. In the same way, we don’t feel compelled to share details of a recipe that went wrong somewhere along the way and the stress it caused us. We like to document and chronicle “the good stuff” because it’s nice to be able to look back on times when things were going well. It makes us feel good.
However, it is important to remember that in the midst of all the celebrations everyone is dealing with their own struggles and stress. We all experience times where it can be difficult to hold it all together, put on a brave face and act as though all is well in our worlds.
In many ways, it is actually quite sobering to accept stress when it consumes you. We don’t have to like it and we certainly won’t enjoy it but resistance tends to make it worse. Quite often it tends to concern something that you cannot control. Deep down you know that worrying is futile and won’t change the reality but it can feel impossible to escape the anxiety and dread that accompanies it. The looming results, interview, confrontation or bills can overwhelm your mind to a crippling point. Every day basic tasks can feel like a mountain you must climb.
In times like this self-care is more important than ever. It may be the only thing that you can control and chances are it is a lot easier to do than you might think. It doesn’t have to involve spending lots of money which are reassuring for those whose stresses are steeped in all things financial. It also doesn’t have to involve a huge amount of planning or orchestration. In this case, less is actually more. Little moments throughout the day and week that will offer you a small amount of escapism. Pockets of happiness that will inject some feel-good vibes and vitality into your world.
Have you ever considered dropping whatever you are doing and just taking twenty minutes to read a couple of chapters from your book? A simple activity like this can transport you to a different time, narrative and mood and sometimes that is all that you need. It may even offer you a fresh perspective which makes you way more productive for the rest of the day.
For just €1 you could find a face mask to throw into the trolley when you are doing the food shop. Taking a couple of minutes that evening to do something “extra” is so powerful. It’s a treat. Something that is unnecessary and that is for nobody else but you.
When you are feeling stressed practising self-care can feel more difficult than ever. In your head, it can seem like it is simply another thing you have to do. In a weird way. it can feel like it is adding to the stress and the fog. But it will break up the day, give you a moment to catch your breath and remind you that in the throws of all of the junk there really are some things to treasure and enjoy.
Paint your nails, have a frothy coffee, call a friend or let it soak away in a hot bath. This too shall pass.
What do you do to practice self care?