This month commemorates Self-Care September, and here at SheFest we think
being vocal about our mental health is key to breaking stigmas and barriers! We
may be superwomen but the weight of the world (and the patriarchy) can take its
toll, so we thought this Self-Care September we’d share some of the things
which help us survive our toughest moments.
My main source of self-care is hiking in nature; the lack of which I feel the physical and mental effects of. Historically, I had an unhealthy habit of literally running away from my problems, naively forgetting that where my body goes, my mental health follows. I’d book flight after flight, resulting in the places I consider home becoming a painful site of trauma. So I’m grateful to have the Peaks merely 15 minutes away; a reminder that I don’t have to leave the country to feel safe.
Reading is another source of stability, yet stubbornly, it’s the first thing to go when I’m having a wobbler. I’m conscious that maintaining this deserves a pat on the back – regardless of how churned up I may be feeling day to day, maintaining a book reassures me that I’m doing better than I think. Combine reading whilst on a hike and I have myself one potent anxiety relief!
My main guilty pleasure, and something I didn’t really realise was self-care until I asked myself, is gaming. It’s something I’ve always done, enjoyed and love! If I’ve had a busy week and mad freelance projects, flying around here, there and everywhere, I reward myself with a couple of hours at the weekend or when tasks are complete, on the PS4; immersing myself in a world that I don’t have to worry about and transport myself to another place, in another story. Just for a short while, a bit of escapism is my self-care.
Once I’ve caught up on sleep which is my first port of call, one of the ways I practice self-care is spending time in my kitchen baking. I whack my music up and get to grips with a layer cake, or cupcakes. For me, theres something relaxing about following a recipe and being methodical, and it allows me to get out of my own head for a little while; before getting creative with the decorating.
Another way I make sure I look after my mental and physical health is by getting outside on my bike. I live close to a great trail, so I love to take myself off and release some stress, smashing through the muddy puddles and being close to nature. I get a massive release of endorphins when I get home, which then gives me the energy to tackle my massive to-do lists.
I’m quite late to the game when it comes to self-care and actually putting time aside for myself. But I try to go outside and when I can, go up up to the Peak District where I can properly breathe. I’ve also put a lot more time aside for reading this year which I love. And sometimes all I need after a stressful day is a long, hot shower.
I will be honest and say that I have absolutely not mastered the art of self-care yet, and that’s okay. I’ve always been a big believer in “the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”, and whilst that may be true I don’t think I can justify binge watching TV, whacking a face mask on and looking at astrology memes as passable self-care. For me, self-care is often in the little things; completing small tasks around the house, practising my Japanese or simply hanging out with my cat. The last one is definitely my favourite though. I’m thinking of starting a bullet journal to help me practice and maintain healthier self-care habits, so we’ll see how that goes!