Her Guide To Life

An Unofficial Guide to Staying Sane(ish) in your 20s

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

A Note On The Importance Of Self Care

Source: @asian.feminist

In a society that is obsessed with optimisation, with being able to achieve the most in the least amount of time, with working harder days and taking longer trains home... it gets pretty easy to neglect yourself.

We can't possibly go to bed an hour earlier tonight, because we've got that report to finish. We COULD repaint our nails before work this morning, but we could also file our tax return*. You know, the one that doesn't have to be filed for another three weeks? Yeah, that one.

None of this is original stuff, I know. The amount of blog posts and articles about the importance of self care pretty much blew up my laptop when I typed 'self care' into Google this morning. But isn't that half of the problem? We KNOW that we should be kinder too ourselves, but we still feel bad about it. We're still beating ourselves up for not being machines. But, guess what? Even machines needs oiling and fixing up every once in a while. And it makes them run a lot better afterwards, too.

So, start looking at yourself as a machine. Figure out, by trial and error, what simple things lift your mood when you're feeling down.

Whether you're hungover, pissed at your OH or feeling like crying over something everything you saw on the cover of the Daily Mail this morning, I think that there is always something you can do, to care for yourself, to make you feel even marginally less crappy.

The easiest way to do this is by keeping a list. Jot down things, however small, that you notice improve your mood when you're feeling on the crummy side. Add to this list as you discover more things. The wonderful Matt Haig does this in his even more wonderful ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ (which, if you haven't read, I SERIOUSLY recommend), and it's such a great idea. Bodies and minds are unpredictable, it's true. But by having a tried-and-tested list of back-up self care tips, you might find it easier to stop (or at least, slow down) the spiral of bad feelings early on in its tracks.

Here are some things that normally lift my mood from a 3/10, to at LEAST a 5/10:
  • drinking 2 litres of water a day
  • being in rooms with white walls
  • putting on night moisturiser
  • reading Harry Potter (of course)
  • having clean shoes
  • taking a selfie in good lighting
  • going to the cinema
  • making lists

Sometime selfie-ing makes me happier. And that's fine.
These things are all forms of self-care, because I know that they normally make me feel at least a tiny bit better than I did before.

I'd also advise making a list of things that make your mood worse. That way, you can try to avoid them. Once it's down in print, you know that you didn't imagine it: that at some point, you consciously decided that drinking five cups of coffee a day was NOT making you happy, and that you should probably not do that in the future. Because abstaining from or avoiding something is a form of self care too, y'know.

Some things that make me feel worse:
  • having unwashed hair
  • coffee
  • uncomfortable clothing
  • not being able to see the sky
  • having a flat phone battery

Your brain is an excellent little bugger at tricking you into thinking the world is a certain, static, unchangeable way. But it's not. It's just the world, from your perspective, at one moment in time. And if your brain can trick you, you can trick it back. Feeling low? Have a glass of water. Brush your teeth. Open a window. Do something small and seemingly inconsequential. Next time you sit back at your desk, you might still be overwhelmed by work, but the small, shouted-down bit of your brain might smugly stick in: 'Well, at least I'm well hydrated. That's a totally adult, responsible thing to be.' And you might feel a bit better. Maybe. I hope so.

Source: @dailyposi
Of course, there are problems and issues faced by people every day that having a glass of water won't even come CLOSE to improving. Of course there are. But everybody, not just those suffering incredible hardships, needs to practice self care. Find the little things that improve your mood, and run through as many as you can that next time you're feeling crappy. This is the type of everyday self care that all too often gets overlooked, and the type that is more likely to have a bigger affect on your overall long term happiness - not fancy manicures, Indian head massages or spa weekends away.

Although, let's be honest. Those are still pretty great, too.

Hannah x

*disclaimer. I don't know what a tax return is, or if it's even a thing. I am not a real adult.



  1. nice post!same case when it comes to "being in a room with white walls" hh I love everything in white also a book before bad is my fav


  2. I love this, I think I often underestimate self care so this post was great for me to read!I look forward to reading more posts

    andrea x


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