As part of our wellbeing month, The Joy Club member Anna Treasure shares her tips on how you can lay the foundations for your own “self-care” toolkit…
Over the past year I have looked at a variety of self-care techniques and one of best, and most surprisingly effective, I have found is identifying your self-care toolkit.
When times are good it always seems easy to look after yourself but what about when life gets a bit busy or stressful? We all have times when it seems as though there aren’t enough hours in the day or when things aren’t going our way, and we put off the ‘nice’ things as though they aren’t important. However, it is just as life is getting harder that it is most important to look after ourselves and a self-care toolkit can help.
A self-care toolkit is a range of things that you know make you feel better. It can be anything from a soak in the bath, your favourite comedy show or a walk in nature. It’s the uplifting things that you can go to when you are not feeling your best. If you take just a few minutes to write down the things you find comforting and uplifting you may be surprised at how many you can think of but that you don’t do often enough.
Some things may be quick and others take more time. Personally, I know that I should go for a walk each day and try to do something creative to keep my spirits up. I also meditate and meet up with friends when I can. If I don’t do any of that I can find that stress has a chance to build up and when that happens I remember the things in my toolkit and just a ten minute walk or a five minute meditation can help. However, we are all unique and your self-care toolkit may include things very different to mine.
We often give advice to friends to ‘take care of themselves’ and yet ignore this very advice – or aren’t sure where to start. By identifying your self-care toolkit, you make it easier to spot the reasons why you might not be feeling your best. Are you a creative person who never gets to create, or a sporty person who doesn’t get a chance to let off some energy? If you are not doing any of the things that make you feel good it’s more difficult to keep your spirits up and deal with life’s challenges. You don’t have to do all the comforting things at once but simply dip into your toolkit whenever you need to. And, it doesn’t have to be static. Your toolkit can change and evolve as you find things that you’d like to include.
The only caveat is that they should be healthy so, although sitting on the sofa with a big bar of chocolate might make you feel better in the short term, it is better to stick to things that will improve your overall health. If possible, they should be based around healthy eating, movement, prioritising sleep and connection with others. It should be about finding the things that lift your mood and give you energy.
So, why not spend a few minutes today considering what you would like to have in your toolkit? What should you avoid that drains your energy versus what makes you feel good? Keep the list of the good things somewhere prominent as a reminder and start enjoying some positive self-care. I think you will be surprised at what a difference it can make.
What do you have in your self-care toolkit? Share with your fellow members below to help them develop their own wellbeing strategies!