Everyone seems to be obsessed with “self-care” lately – not that I’m saying it’s a bad thing or anything. Still, I am a bit skeptical about what self-care really means to some people…a lot of people work an insane amount of hours and never get enough sleep and eat terribly but that one bath bomb a month with a glass of wine…that’s self-care?
I think I have become the master of long-term “self-care” (or self-preservation) over the last few years because I actually, physically and mentally, cannot handle too much without facing a literal mental breakdown. I work half-time, I volunteer only as much as I’m comfortable with, and I work very hard to protect one day a week where my husband and I have zero responsibilities (our sabbath).
I know this isn’t possible for everyone. While I love working half-time, I know what I am sacrificing for now. It will take me and husband longer to afford our own house and pay off debt. We have to give up little luxuries and say no to many things we want but don’t need. My own career will probably progress slower because I’m not working full-time.
It’s the same thing with school. It took me five and a half years before I graduated instead of four. Plus, I took a year off between high school and university. I took two full years part-time. One semester, I only took one class.
But I worked hard and only took on what I could handle, and because of that, I ended up with a published book and graduated with distinction! On the flip side, I didn’t finish my undergrad until I was 24 when some of my friends were already working on their Master’s.
For me that’s long-term self-care. There is also short-term self-care, which is often more feasible for the average person – especially those in high-stress jobs or students. So here are my favourite short-term self-care methods for when I can’t completely control my life (which is, of course, most of the time). Prepare for some obvious tips.
Self-Care Method #1 – Chill With My Dog
If you stalk my Instagram or even read some of my recent posts, you will see I am obsessed with my dog. I have been obsessed with dogs since the moment I knew they existed (which was at about two years old according to my parents).
Walking my dog, training my dog, taking him to the dog park. All of these dog-related activities can transport me out of my head, even if it’s just for an hour or so. Plus, we all know that exercise is great for you, and can really help with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Self-Care Method #2 – Video Games, Aw Yeah!
In July 2016, my husband got his first full-time ministry position. We promised each other we would celebrate this exciting “first” with a Nintendo Wii-U. But as every month came and went, we just couldn’t justify such an unnecessary purchase when we still had so many bills to pay.
Now, a year and a half later, my husband has moved on to his second full-time ministry position and we are in a better place financially – so last month we bought the Nintendo Switch! What a great decision.
I don’t care what anyone has to say about video games – when I need a quick distraction or want to shut my brain off for a bit during the day, video games is a great option for me.
Self-Care Method #3 – Get Out Of The House
I have the tendency to become the ultimate hermit when my anxiety spikes or depression sets in. The last thing I want to do is get out of my pajamas and see other people. But if I work up the courage to put a pair of jeans on and actually walk out the front door, I always end up feeling better.
So there you have it. Do you have any interesting (or not-so-interesting) self-care methods that work great for you?