As a season of change, transition and new beginnings, September can sometimes bring unease, anxiety and uncertainty. But in doing so it also presents an opportunity to shed old habits that no longer serve us, seek clarity and finally begin to embrace all the things that make us feel good, content and connected. We can choose to use this month to invest our energy in cultivating a strong and consistent habit of Self Care
Self care can mean entirely different things for each of us and to discover these is of significant worth regardless who we are or what our situation is.
Across our social media, particularly the @daretolivesos Instagram we'll be showing our own methods of self care in our day to day using #daretoselfcare for the month of September. It'd be great to see the many different ways each of us engage in self caring actions every day and even give eachother different ones to try out
To kick off our month, we have a post from a carer about her experience of Self Care and its importance;
SELF CARE AS A CARER
As we start into a month of self care I thought I would share some of my experiences.
Growing up I engaged in various activities, from athletics to swimming to Irish dancing and gymnastics, camogie, knitting and DIY. These were all things I enjoyed doing and got a kick out of. Even after finishing school and staring work I continued with some of these activities, but then life moved on and I got married and had children.
My priorities changed and my time became about my husband and children. My hubby and I often found it difficult to find time for “our time” which in hindsight is not a helpful nor healthy thing. Finally after 7 years of marriage and three children I became ill and we decided to take a “time out” and go away for a weekend. This was the first time that I had ever experienced what it really meant to “Self Care”. I missed my kids, I worried about them, but they were in safe hands and if there was a problem then I would be contacted. I really had no excuse not to relax.
So we played some badminton, swam, walked and talked. All uninterrupted, all relaxed and all just for some fun. But once I got back home it was back to normality, back to running around like a headless chicken and back to not taking time out for myself. I did at one stage go back playing camogie and coaching, and true to form, took on too much at the same time. But sure, I’m super human am I not??!!!
Roll on a few years and the kids are teenagers and Eating Disorders hit our home. Eating Disorders have so many parts to them like; self harm, depression, suicide ideation, panic attacks, anaemia, low blood sugars, osteoporosis etc etc etc, that I was suddenly in a mine field. This journey went on for several years as my eldest and youngest went through it at different times.
Once again, I thought I was invincible. I did everything I possibly could, good bad or indifferent to help and support them. I was available to them 24/7 and guess what, once again I ran myself ragged.
It was only during the second child’s recovery journey, that I attended mixed group sessions (carers and sufferers) that I really heard the words “SELF CARE”. As in really heard it, really began to understand the importance of it, really began to regret not having engaged in it throughout my life. But life is not about regrets, but instead action!
This did not mean that I suddenly switched off from my children and made it all about me, but instead it meant that I got some balance. That instead of pouring all my time and energy into my children, that it is ok to pour some of the time and energy into ME! It is ok to say, give me five minutes and I’ll be with you, it is ok to go out for a few hours by yourself, or with friends, it is alright to just breathe and take stock of your own life.
Apart from all the wonderful things that I learnt during my daughters’ recovery this concept of SELF CARE is the single biggest one. Once I began to engage in some self care, it gave me renewed energy to deal with all the stresses and strains of what my children were experiencing.
So how do you SELF CARE? What does it mean to you?
If I go back to my childhood now, I realise that for the most part all the activities that I did were a form of self care, they were activities I enjoyed doing.
Nowadays though many of those activities are not quite possible for me, so I have had to find new ones. One activity was Reiki, this gave me a complete time out and is something I can practice on a daily basis, before I even get out of bed. I enjoyed it so much that I now have my practitioners certificate!
Other such self care activities could be simple things like,
- A nice hot bubble bath,
- Moisturising your skin,
- Going for a walk, run, swim, game of tennis, badminton etc
- Being creative, painting, sewing, knitting, arts and crafts etc
- Lighting some nice candles or incense
- Burning nice oils
- Reading a book or listening to music.
These are just some ideas. Dare to live SOS are having a month of #daretoselfcare, for September. Why not share your tips, ideas and experiences of Self Care, after all we are not Super Humans only Super Beings, so let’s be clever and give ourselves a chance.