Self-care is about doing things for your mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing - not relying on others to do things for you, but deliberately knowing what you can do to help you keep on top. There is a move towards getting people to engage more in self-care to be able to manage their issues themselves in the first instance, removing pressure on the NHS what with cuts and trying to save money and all - but it's not necessarily a bad thing - knowing how to look after your wellbeing can only be a good thing (and something many of us don't do, until it's too late)
We consider creativity to be a form of self-care, as it provides a way of channelling your energy and thoughts into something positive, keeping your mind occupied and not worrying about other things, giving you a sense of accomplishment and pride etc.
So, with that in mind, here are some simple self-care ideas from our guest blogger Ruth O'Hagan who regularly indulges herself in creativity as a way of coping with mental health issues and positive wellbeing.
We spend a lot of our time working, caring for other people and can easily forget to take care of ourselves too. If we are not taking care of ourselves, we might not be at our best to be there for others either, so we need to set aside more ‘me time’. "Self-care" can be described as actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development. Here are a few ways that you can make yourself a little self-care gift from things found in your home. It’s a little gesture of kindness to yourself.
For this body scrub you will need an empty container (I used a recycled hummus tub), Camomile tea bags, E45 moisturiser (or any other non-perfumed moisturiser), sugar (be careful, if the granules are too big they can be too harsh), a large mixing bowl and a spoon.
Pour the moisturiser into a bowl. Take a couple of camomile tea bags, cut them open and pour them into the bowl with the moisturiser. The more tea bags you put in, the more it smells like camomile (I used about 6 tea bags in the end). Once you are satisfied with scent you can now add the sugar. The sugar gives it the ‘scrub’ texture. The more sugar you add, the thicker the body scrub will be. When you are happy with your ingredients you can stir it with the spoon. With the spoon you can pour it into the empty tub. I found some pretty flowers in my garden added it on top to make it more colourful.
The lip balm is just made from Vaseline and vanilla extract. All you need is a medium tub of Vaseline, vanilla extract, a teaspoon and a small tub to store it. Take the teaspoon, spoon out some Vaseline and pour it into the empty tub about ¾ of the way. Then add half a tea spoon of vanilla extract and mix. There you go, you have a lovely vanilla scented lip balm!
Sleep is hugely important for you mental and physical health. It’s important for us all to get enough rest in order to function. Legend has it that, Dreamcatchers keep night mares away. The tradition is that you keep it by your window, it lets your dreams fly through and catches your nightmares to help you sleep better.
I started making dreamcatchers a few years ago and I make them from things in my home. You’ll need sewing thread, wool, charms, beads, feathers, wool and tin foil.
First you take the tin foil and roll is up into a thin sausage shape and shape it into a circle. You can twist the bottom and end together, you can also tie it together with a piece of wool. Then wrap wool the whole way around the circle until you can’t see the tin foil.
Next take your thread and create the web - you can find lots of tutorials online and we have our Pinterest board below to help you. You can also feed beads through the thread (tie a knot to keep it steady). Next you can tie items to the bottom. I generally attach feathers, these are feathers that I have found walking. You can also add long pieces of wool with beads. When you’re finished, don’t forget to hang it beside your window!
We know sleep and resting is so important to our bodies and when you’re resting it’s important to be comfortable...there’s nothing better than a nice comfy cushion!
There are lots of tutorials on Pinterest that show you how to make a ‘sew’ or 'no sew' cushion - see our No Sew Cushion board below, plus you don't have to make a big cushion, you could use the same techniques to make a smaller herbal cushion filled with dried Lavender or your favourite aromatherapy oils.
Did you know you can actually make a cushion from an old t shirt? For this you’ll primarily need an old t shirt, scissors and ‘stuffing’ (I recycled stuffing from an old bed cushion). I normally cut a square around the design (front and back the same size), sew each side and leave about an inch gap. I fill is will stuffing then I sew the inch gap. Want a 'no sew' option? Check out the cushions with 'ties' on the board below.
Journals are highly regarded by mental health professionals as technique for self-care. Journaling has also become very popular and many people keep a happiness planner.
If you’re like me, you find journals hard to keep. I used to think you had to write in them every day but I’ve now found a way that it works for me. You don’t have to be all, ‘Dear Diary…” with your journal. You can write about whatever you like. In my journal for example l keep lists, ideas, I organise my days and sometimes sketch. I just use it when I need it.
Next time you’re out, get yourself a nice blank notebook and decorate it to express your personality - or you could make your own with downloadable printable journal pages for your printable planner, or journaling gift sets for yourself, kids and even teachers. This is your space to create and reflect. Mood trackers are also popular and you could even create these by simply drawing sad or happy faces. You could also write your favourite quotes and write something motivational for yourself. It’s your journal and your rules!
I don’t mean start up pottery (unless you want to). This is a little easier than that. Some days are hectic and we only get less than 5 minutes for self-care (while we grab a quick cup of tea or coffee). For this I just mean design your own mug and all you need is a black permanent sharpie and a plain coloured mug. One of my big loves in life is food so I decided to design a mug for myself that reflects this. You could draw whatever you like, you could even just draw a cute smiley face. There will also be no doubt that this is your mug so people can’t steal from you.
Always remember - you work hard, you try your best and you deserve it.