Let’s Talk About Self Care

March 03rd 2017

Let’s Talk About Self Care

Self-care is one of those buzz words that is beginning to become more popular - especially when talking about our mental health. In this blog I will talk about what self-care is, why it’s important and practical ways to fit self-care into your life.

What is self-care? 
Well, in its simplest definition self-care is caring for the self. That being said, self-care can look really different for different people. Self-care is actively taking time out from your day, week, and month to participate in activities or experiences that nourish and re-energize you. For some people self-care may be just spending some quiet time alone, turning off your phone and tablet and just relaxing.  Self-care could include participating in an exercise you enjoy or playing sport. Sometimes self-care could mean cancelling an activity or saying no to an obligation. Self-care can look like painting a picture, listening to music, or simply getting some extra sleep (my personal favourite)! Self-care can be really easy to miss in our day to day busy lives, so it is really important that you pro-actively think about what activities or experiences do re-energize and nourish you, and then make sure you set aside some time to do those things. 

Why is self-care important?
There are a few really important reasons to make time for self-care. One of the first is stress reduction. When you participate in activities that you find enjoyable or relaxing it reduces stress. Stress reduction has all kinds of important physical and mental health implications it’s good for your immune system, your heart health, and it can boost happiness levels!  Another important reason to take time for self-care is the positive impact it can have on our work and relationships. When you have a chance to de-stress, and to feel nourished and energised it can leave you feeling more patient with others, more in-touch with your own needs and emotions, and can even help you to think more clearly and have better focus.

How do I fit self-care into my life?
There are a couple of enemies to self-care that can often hinder us from fitting it into our lives. The first is guilt. People can often feel guilty saying no to work tasks or social events in order to take time for self-care. Sometimes we feel guilty when our to do list is a mile high and we are relaxing, but the truth is that we will always have work, a social life, and to do lists and if you are waiting for a time when you have none of those you might never fit in self-care. Another enemy to self-care is that we underestimate its importance. Self-care can seem selfish and/or unproductive, but the opposite is actually true! Self-care can make it much easier to be a good student, employee, friend or partner and it can make you happier over-all. The benefits are clear so take some time for yourself today, don’t even wait until tomorrow
Sometimes we feel very worried, sad, or stressed. In those times self-care can be especially difficult. If you are feeling this way please talk to an adult you trust. There may also be a Jigsaw near you who can provide guidance and support for young people aged 12-25 who are experiencing  difficulties. Check our website to by clicking this link find your nearest Jigsaw.  Alternatively, you can log on to yourmentalhealth.ie and search for mental health support services near you or talk to your GP (General Practitioner) about supports in your local area. 

Violet Johnstone   - Clinical Support Worker   -   Jigsaw Dublin City