Wednesday, 8 August 2018

What is self care?

Self care has become a huge deal in recent years. More people are taking time for themselves – and treating themselves – using the #selfcare hashtag liberally and actually saying out loud that they need it.

But self care is often seen in soft focus. The truth is, it’s not always a photogenic mix of bath bombs, glossy magazines and milky tea on rainy days. Sometimes it’s much smaller, but with equally enormous results. 


(Photo: Erin Veness)



Sometimes, self care means quite simply switching seats on the train so you’re not facing backwards. It can be taking photos of your locked car and the full bowl of cat food you left behind before going out, so you are reassured when you panic about it later. It's treating yourself to some new albums when you go away somewhere, to create a soundtrack for your trip that will stay with you forever. 


(Photo: Erin Veness)


Self-care is treating yourself to an extra coffee, but making sure you have a good glug of water first to prevent jitters. It’s muting certain words on Twitter, not checking who’s seen your stories on Instagram, and deleting your ex on Facebook. It’s making sure you eat some form of breakfast, even if you’re running late.

It’s gently telling the restaurant staff about any dietary requirements when you make the booking, to avoid any awkwardness when you arrive with a group of friends. It’s buying a train ticket even though the barriers are open, just to ease anxiety of being checked – and possibly fined – on board. It’s ordering toiletries and groceries online when you can’t bear to leave your flat. 


(Photo: Erin Veness)


Self care is Irish Goodbyeing when you feel like you can’t tell your friends you’re bailing on the party – and leaving bread in the toaster ready for when you get in. Or it might be saying no to the night out in favour of a Netflix session, cuddles with the cat, and an early bedtime. It’s taking time to decompress after a long day. It’s asking a housemate or parent to remove a spider on your window sill before you get into bed. 


(Photo: Erin Veness)


Self care is prioritising your own feelings. It’s telling others what’s on your mind; being honest when they ask ‘how are you?’ It’s strapping your own oxygen mask on first – literally and metaphorically. It’s all about you; what helps your mind breathe and makes the stresses, no matter how small, ease. 


(Photo: Erin Veness)

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