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Yes, have that beer at 4pm.

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How to practice self-care when you hate the idea of self-care.

We’re all working hard, these days often with little regard for our own needs because we’re working from home or have reduced paid hours but we’re still smashing out more than we usually would, while schooling our kids from home, and navigating this new world where we’ve been solely focused on surviving. 

It’s not sustainable. 

If we want to be successful without losing every last one of our marbles, then we must be reasonably healthy and happy ourselves. 

That means we’ve got to engage in some self-care, people. 

I hear a collective moan… but it’s not all bullshit! Yes, commonly praised self-care strategies can feel like utter fairy floss for anyone who’s not spiritually inclined. Meditation, spiritual journeys, bubble baths, fulfilling hobbies (ain’t nobody got time for that!) - some of us need something a little more practical or enjoyable, which brings us to our list of ways to practice self care for those of us who hate it:

 

1. Cut the shit

Remove negativity from your life. Delete Facebook. Block your boss’ number. Uninstall your banking app. Stop paying tax. Forget math.... #self care. Okay maybe we’re going a little overboard, but there’s no doubt that the always-on, always-connected nature of our world creates feelings of stress and dissatisfaction. 

Studies show that social media may no longer be a fun way to stay connected with friends, but could become just another source of stress. So take time out from social media, stop checking your emails, turn your phone on silent (even if it’s just for half an hour) and chill out without any external stimulation.

2. Screw your routine

You’re not in a nursing home having dinner at 5pm yet - so don’t act like you can’t make a spontaneous decision to do something for you, outside of your ordinary work-eat-sleep-repeat drudge.

Head out for an evening walk, check out which bars are open, go bowling, catch up with a friend… finish work early and open a cold one. Yes, have that beer at 4pm. Because if that’s a small moment you can take for yourself to clear your mind and focus on the simple task of enjoying yourself, then it’s excellent self care.

3. Have a laugh for f*ck’s sake

There’s that old saying that laughter is the best medicine, and like most old sayings it’s not entirely bullshit. Research into laughter shows positive physiological effects for those who engage in it on a regular basis.

Whether it be watching your favourite sitcom, listening to a podcast, heading out to a comedy festival, or playing a humour-based game with friends (Cards Against Humanity anyone?) make yourself an appointment with laughter at least once a week. 

4. Just say “No”

Say no to doing a bunch of meaningless shit that you don’t think is important in life. Say no to people who overstep boundaries and make unfair demands of your time or attention. Say no to make it clear to others where you stand and what you will and will not tolerate in your relationships.

Saying no is difficult, but when you learn to say no to the people and things that harm or overwhelm you, you’ll find you have more time and energy to do the things you want to do - even if it’s just having more time to go to the pub.

5. Take a nap, eat a salad

Because we’re all so bloody busy, we forget that our bodies need just as much attention as our minds. We forget to eat lunch then fill up on fast food, don’t sleep enough but just power through, don’t bother exercising - because who has time, right?

Would you not go to the service station to fill up your empty car because you thought it was a waste of time? We need to think of our own bodies in a similar way, and take time to fuel up, service and maintain them. If you’re tired, get some extra sleep with an early night or a nap. Don’t skip your healthy lunch in favour of catching up on something, then rush to fast food. Take a walk, or 20 minutes at the gym, or whatever physical activity you enjoy. Because we all need these things at a base level. 

You can do this.

Hell, I’m doing it and I barely managed to dress myself this morning. Make time for yourself even when you think you don’t have time... future you will thank you for it.


 

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