‘Self-care’ is a word I’ve seen being used a lot recently. For me, it’s never been something I’ve actively paid attention to putting into practise or been aware of. Self-care has never been something I’ve taken the time out of my day to do, and I realise now how thoughtless and damaging that has been.
Just to get you up to speed, the last few years I’ve pretty much been a ticking time bomb. I’ve gotten myself into the habit of shutting down when things get too much, choosing to ignore any emotions as they come, and refusing to talk to anyone about how I feel.
The last few months have been especially bumpy. I’ve been through a great deal of change and lost a person that was a huge part of my life, and it’s pretty much shaken up everything to the point that I can no longer continue shutting down or neglecting myself of feeling.
I moved to London to have a fresh start I suppose. A new city where I could start again and become whoever the hell I want to be. For the most part, it’s been great. I’ve gotten close to two girls I met in Thailand, and we’ve got this fantastic city on our doorstep to explore as we choose.
I’ve noticed people in London do not care. The energy here is so different in a sense that it welcomes individuality and new beginnings. I’ve found myself worrying less about how I look or come across. Everyone’s in their own little bubble all the time, and in a way it’s liberating knowing you live in such a big and diverse place.
Going back onto self-care. I’ve realised that it’s not something I’ve actually been denying myself, because the things I consider self-care now are things I’ve actually been doing for most of my life; they were just things I used to feel guilty about, because they weren’t seen as ‘productive’ or ‘healthy’. But if they make me feel that tiny little bit better then who am I to say I don’t deserve them?
My point is that we all focus on things we ‘should’ be doing to better ourselves. Drinking a load of water, getting fresh air, eating fruit & veg etc. Yes, these are all things we should be doing, I get it, but what about the smaller things that get overlooked?
The little moments like hearing a song you love and screaming the lyrics whilst dancing around your room like a maniac. Or laughing until your stomach hurts whilst watching your favourite TV show. And running to the shop in the middle of the night to feed your midnight cravings. These are the moments we don’t think twice about, but I feel like they’re actually the most important.
I recently started smoking again, which is something I’ve been beating myself up and feeling terrible about because I did so well to give up. But I’m realising now that if it makes me feel better for five minutes (sure it’s a terrible habit), then why shouldn’t I? Almost every weekend I just want to sit in bed and play Sims all day, but it’s considered a waste, because weekends should be spent being outside doing as much as possible, right? But sometimes wasting hours building families and houses are the only time I can get out of my head for a day and focus my energy on something that means nothing at all and gives my brain a break from it’s constant overthinking.
I don’t know, I’m just starting to realise self-care can’t be limited to certain things, it’s different for everyone. If you need to cut people off for your own mental health or happiness, do it. If you need to go to sleep in the middle of the day because that’s the only time your brain will actually allow you to do so, do it. I’ve spent so much time constantly worrying about how I come across to others or having to justify my actions, but I’ve come to the realisation that at the end of the day, only you will ever know what your mind and body need.
So practise self-care. In every way you know how. Stare at the clouds, practise writing, cry until you run out of tears, turn off your phone and ignore everyone and everything. It isn’t selfish and it definitely isn’t a waste of time. I’m learning how to become kinder to myself and put myself first for a change.