I DON’T think there has ever been a time where self-care and sleep have been more important.
As we settle into our new way of life it is almost a given that there are going to be days where we are frazzled, tired, worn out and burned out. We are all stuck at home, some of us have kids to mind and educate, some of us are working full time and some of us are doing both.
No-one has it easy at the moment, it is a time when tensions and emotions run high so it’s very important to make sure we take a few precious moments out of the day to give ourselves a chance to breath and take stock of our thoughts and our emotions.
Self-care is a word that is often bandied around and it is something that is personal, it means something different to everyone of us, but the one thing that is universally acknowledged is that self-care is important.
And while it might be something you have had no interest in previously, now is a good a time as any to start practising some self-care.
For me, self-care is really about two key things — giving myself the space to think and setting myself up to get a good night’s sleep. Over the past year or so for me, the biggest game changer when it came to achieving a better night’s sleep was getting out for a quick walk in the evenings. I don’t take any music or I listen to the same few songs over and over, the main things is I leave myself the space to think. I go over what has happened during the day, I think about what has to be done the next day, I just let the thoughts come and go and honestly it has been the biggest revelation for me.
I noticed a massive shift in my sleeping habits once I started incorporating this into my day and if a few days go by where I don’t get that walk in, I will soon know about it when it comes to the night — I start to wake and can’t get back to sleep because my mind goes into overdrive thinking, and usually about pure nonsense!
I think the key to self-care is choosing to do something for yourself that is methodical, relaxing and productive, so activities that don’t require much concentration, therefore leaving you the space to think. It can be as frivolous as doing your nails or your hair, as relaxing as having a bath. It might be a hobby like playing music or DIY, it’s all about doing something that’s just for you. And that might seem like the most basic advice, but ask any mother, parent or busy person how often do they take time out to devote to just their thoughts and I think you might find it’s not many of them that do.
Lately, I feel consumed by the online world, between reading the news to keep abreast with our ever-changing world and social media to have some form of adult interaction. I find my brain is completely fried by the end of the day. So, come bedtime I always leave my phone downstairs and have a phone-free bedroom.
The simple act of reading a book is far more relaxing than reading the news and therefore more contusive to a good night’s sleep.
I used to think social media was a form of escapism and, to a certain degree it is, but it can be a hard place to be when you’re tired, and lets face it, we are all tired lately, mentally and physically.
When you’re tired your thought process is inherently negative and that’s not a good way to end your day. So leave the phone downstairs, pick up a book and go to bed trying to leave the stresses of the outside world downstairs.
It is so easy to let the minutes, hours and days slip by when we are entrenched in making sure the lives of our children run on schedule and without a hitch. Weeks run into months, years into more years, and before we know it the children fly the nest and we’re left looking at ourselves in the mirror, trying to figure out who we were and who we are and trying to fill in the blanks in between.
Self-care is that blank space. It’s those few minutes in the day or the week where we get to sit with our own thoughts and remember who we are and figure out where we are going.
It’s those precious moments where we get to press pause, take a breath and release it without being asked to wipe a bum or get a sippy cup for someone.
As we settle into a new way of life, Eimear Hutchinson shares her advice on the importance of self-care and also gives some tips on getting a better night’s sleep
Self-care is that blank space. It’s those few minutes in the day or the week where we get to sit with our own thoughts and remember who we are and figure out where we are going... we get to press pause.