There is a Chinese curse which says, “May you live in interesting times.” Like it or not, women, sadly, live in interesting times. They are times of danger and of fear about our hard earned rights and the safety of children; but they are also among the most creative of times.
The battle for women sex based rights and the safety of children is cause of stress, anxiety and worry for all of us.
It is important you take care of yourself.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care has been defined as "a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being."
It is a conscious act a person takes in order to maintain a good physical, mental, and emotional health.
There are many forms of self-care you can take. For example ensuring you get enough sleep every night or being certain you take a daily walk in the fresh air.
Self-care is vital for your resilience toward the stress this mess we are in creates.
Self-care is a priority, and though the great majority of us cannot go to be cuddled at a SPA week-end, there are many steps we can do to stay healthy and become more resilient in these stressful times.
Digital Self Care
Many of us have met through social networks, all of us united by the worry for ourselves, other women and children.
The alternate universe that is contemporary internet is extremely stressful, what you can do if you feel you are getting burned out is obviously disconnecting completely for a while, but as we are all so wired in for our work and family lives too, it is not always possible, so here is some useful practical advice to be able to stay connected if you are forced to, while not being overwhelmed:
Do not Disturb/Focus mode on your smart phone is your friend, you can personalise the settings and use different types/profiles of “do not disturb” according to your needs.
For example, on the iphone, in your “settings” you will find the “Focus” mode. In this setting, you can choose a list of people that are allowed to contact you while you are in “Do not disturb mode”, so that you can put the phone down, being certain your partner, children, close family can keep contacting you, even while you decide to block out everything else, you can even choose which apps are still allowed to send you notifications, so you can filter that nasty twitter out and have some time to wind down and wire out!
If you use an Android smart phone, you can access your “Do not disturb” too:
to turn Do Not Disturb on or off, swipe down from the top of your screen. Then tap “Do Not Disturb - Do Not Disturb”.
To Set what to block and unblock go to open your phone's settings app.
Tap Sound and vibration and then Do Not Disturb.
Under 'What can interrupt Do Not Disturb', choose what to block or allow.
People: Block or allow calls, messages or conversations.
Apps: Choose which apps can send you notifications.
Alarms and other interruptions: Block or allow alarms, media, touch sounds, reminders or calendar events. This seems like a little thing, but it will make a HUGE positive change in your self-care routine.
2. Be certain to put “DO NOT DISTURB” on your phone or turn it off if you do not have a smart phone, as often as possible, for example 1 hour at lunch, 1 hour at dinner or tea time and at least from 1 hour before you go to bed until morning. We control children’s screen time for their own good, you are no different, take a break!
3. Other screens: other screen time should be limited too, where possible, to help you wind down, and if you cannot limit them, try to limit at least your time on social media.
4. When on the internet and social media, sometimes, take some time to look for the nice things the world has to offer and do not only concentrate on the issues. You can virtually visit art galleries, gardens, learn how to cook something new, learn a new skill, internet can be a great place too, try to remind yourself about it.
Physical Self Care
You need to take care of your body if you want to feel at your best.
Physical self-care includes how much sleep you're getting, what and how you are eating, how much physical activity you can do, taking your medicines regularly as prescribed by your doctor and even giving yourself a little cuddle by doing something nice for your body when you can and where possible.
Is your diet healthy?
Are you getting enough exercise?
Are you sleeping enough?
If you feel you are not doing as well as you could, the NHS has great programs to help you out, you can find great tips here:
Going outside is a perfect way to care for yourself, exercise and keep your stress levels down. If you cannot go outside, for any reason, do try taking some time for you and your body anyway, for example you can:
Take a shower or a bath, just for relaxing (if our current energy issues permit it)
Put cream on your body and massage your legs, feet, arms and hands to wind down
Do some simple stretching exercises or some yoga, following NHS tips and videos here ( https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/body-blast-cool-down/ )
Cook yourself healthy meals, maybe trying new things
If you have a carer and need help, you can talk to them and make a plan for your healthy routine.
As we certainly all discovered in the last years of fighting for women’s sex based rights, the things you occupy your mind with greatly influence your psychological well-being.
Though we are fighting for a better world, It is not healthy for our mind to be solely concentrated on this issue.
Mental self-care includes doing activities that make sure your mind keeps sharp, but relaxes at the same time, for example, reading something fun, puzzles, meditating, drawing, painting, knitting, gardening or watching movies.
Practising self-compassion helps you maintain a healthier inner dialogue too.
Try to make time for activities that mentally stimulate you.
Try to relax your mind without fixating on stressful situations at least once a day.
There are many good meditation guides available on-line, and hundreds of guided meditations available for free on YouTube.
Going outside in the fresh air as much as possible, sharing your life with who you care about, pets and plants included, are very good steps for mental self-care too.
Socialisation is part of a healthy self-care routine. But, often it's easy to neglect your relationships if you are busy.
Socialisation is important to your well-being. We are social animals after all and putting time and energy into building happy, healthy relationships with others is how you can build a better world too.
Everyone has slightly different social needs. Try to figure out what your social needs are and find time to create an optimal social life.
Try to dedicate more time for your friends.
Nurture your relationship with your family.
Why not come to your local WRN meeting to meet new friends? We have cookies.
Emotional Self Care
Sometimes we deal with uncomfortable emotions, like anger, anxiety, and sadness. Emotional self-care should include activities that help you express your feelings regularly.
Whether you talk to a friend, family member or a partner about how you feel, or you set aside time for activities that help you process your emotions, it's important to incorporate emotional self-care into your life.
If you are struggling with mental health, do contact the NHS.
If it's an emergency or you need urgent help
If you or someone else is in danger, call 999 or go to A&E now
If you need help urgently for your mental health, but it's not an emergency, get help from NHS 111 online or call 111
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. You will not be wasting anyone's time.
You can access NHS mental health help both through your GP & through self referral ( https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-a-psychological-therapies-service/ )