Rethinking self-care

Not long ago, an old blog post by my friend Brita, whom some of you may remember as an anonymous blogger from her unmarried days, led me to stop and think about something. Last year, when I moved to my new house, I had set myself full of good intentions about how to lead a healthy lifestyle now that I was working from home. Add greedy landlords turning our living room into an extra room, and my propensity to catch every cold virus ever, and I’m now sat cross-legged on my bed (for which I will pay a heavy price later), eating saveloy and chips I got delivered, while staring at the mess on my desk which still has the wine glasses and empty bottle I had 10 days ago. One marvels that I still have a boyfriend after he walked into this room…
As I’m about to fly back to the old country for the annual extended holiday over Christmas, and have been eating very poorly both in terms of what I have eaten and how much of the stress of the period I have translated into food, the topic of self-care becomes really timely. On Wednesday I have published a review of a book by John Lamerton which challenged the view that to be successful in business is to be overworked, overtired, poorly fed and over-caffeinated, with a dose of just-that-one-glass at night to relax before bed. So, really, there is no excuse for not having yet put into practice what I learnt when doing my sports nutrition course (which I have shared in this guest post on The Little Peace of Me).

As I sort of get a break from real life for 3 weeks, it seems like a good time to reassess my priorities for when I’m back in the swing of things. The new term at Edinburgh starts on the 15th of January, the campaign will be in full swing by then, and then there is the business…

Time to switch off my brain. I haven’t had any significant exercise routine ever since the General Election. I have just about managed to do some of the exercises I was prescribed for my herniated disk, but most of my activity revolves around knocking on doors, delivering leaflets and kneeling down at Mass the times I managed to actually not be so tired I have a fever come Sunday. I spend a lot of time sulking in front of Amazon Prime/Netflix depending on what’s on, but never really stop thinking about things. I also take up a lot of my boyfriend’s time just ranting and venting when really I should just enjoy the time together. Whenever I engage in activities that are meant to be entertainment and free time, I can never really shut down the brain and stop worrying. Even my Bible journaling in the morning is being done with an eye to the clock and the to-do list. If anyone has a magic formula for focus then please let me know.

Real rest. Following from the point above, if I don’t switch off my brain, I don’t rest. If I’m tired, I can’t focus and end up relying on too many energy drinks/coffees which then make it harder to rest the next day and the cycle goes on. I need to solve my sleeping problems naturally, although the Sleep with me Podcast has been a great help in the past few months (thanks to Theodora for the recommendation).

Taking better care of my skin. I think I need to invest in a freezer to make bulk cooking easier despite the fact we now have a normal 4-levels freezer to split among 5 people in the house. That way there will always be something to get out and pop in the microwave when I don’t have the energy to go buy food to cook, so that I don’t end up relying on less than ideal food from the local take-aways (although that supports the local economy, which is good, right?). Making sure that I get all that I need from the inside is paramount not to make any beauty routine (which I really should be starting up again now I have a lot of products from the M&S Advent Calendar to try) pointless.

Speaking of which, I have lately managed to try a number of really good products including a face mask that cost 79p at the Polish Store on Croydon High Street (something oxygen-based from what I can understand), a wonderful hair mask from Naked Body Care which has done a lot to get my winter hair to be sort of smooth-ish again (scarves make it look like I have a bird nest on my head), and the best thing ever which is the Space Mask. At first it’s really weird. You take it out of the bag and wear it like a normal sleeping mask, but the contact with the air will make it warm up and that feels pretty weird and I have to say for the first time I wasn’t sure if it was normal so I was not relaxed that much, and kept checking my timer to make sure I wasn’t going on fire and I was still within the 15 minutes of the treatment. However, they made my usually tired eyes feel like I slept for hours, a thing not achieved by sleeping for hours (in fact I get dark circles and bags under the eyes…). I love it and would definitely buy it again.

Having said that, products are just props that are meant to give me some time to switch off, but until I manage to switch off my brain, I will always feel like I’m running low. That’s my first priority for 2018, but also I wouldn’t mind a Spa day (please and thank you). My first intention for 2018 is to flush out of my body anything negative and start the year with a kick and the intention to take care of myself more, because there is only one of me and I can’t pour from an empty well, and I’m missing a ceilidh this weekend because I kept doing it for weeks on end this season, and I’m now past all my reserves.

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1 Comment

  1. I struggle to turn off my brain too. Two things help sometimes (not always). When I make a to-do list at night for the next day, that helps me dump all my brain thoughts on paper so they don’t keep me awake at night. Reading an engrossing book before bed also helps, because usually I read past when I’m feeling sleepy, so by the time I finally reach a stopping point, I’m exhausted and fall straight asleep. Oh, and herbal tea helps, but I have to time the drinking of it because then I’ll have to get up 2 or 3 times to pee before I can fall asleep. A mug of herbal tea 1-2 hours before I want to fall asleep is quite good, though.

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