Friday, 15 July 2016

My Struggles With Self Care

Self care. It's a funny one, eh? It's kind of always been a thing that us human types do, putting time aside to look after our emotional well-being, but only maybe in the past few years have we decide to give it a name. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for a bit of new age psychology so I guess it might seem odd that the whole concept of self care kind of scares me a little and I struggle to indulge. When life is busy and you've a million and one other things to do, having even a little time to yourself doesn't always seem important and it can sometimes feel like valuable time that could be better spent. 

I know I struggle most with self care when I'm busy, stressed or feeling low, which of course it when I need it most. I don't by any means live the busiest of lives, but with my job, I can't rely on being able to do the same things at the same time every day, week etc. and creating and sticking to a routine is hard. 

Tumblr, Pinterest and the blogging world is full of self care ideas and as much as I want to embrace them, the majority of them just don't feel relatable to me. I understand different techinques work for different people, but there's a lot of them I can't takr seriously or imagine how it could be applied to my life. If I'm feeling so low that I find it a huge challenge, both physically and mentally, to even drag myself out of bed, I'm skeptical of how just much taking a bubble bath or doing a spot of adult colouring is really going to help.

Perhaps there's some element of confidence in it, not feeling like I'm worthy of spending time solely on myself and my emotional well-being. As a fully fledged adult, I can now look back at those turbulent teenage years that we'd all rather forget and praise the Lord that my self-esteem is at an all time high compared to some periods in the past. Generally, I'm quite confident, in my appearance, my character and my views. I don't often feel inadequite or like I need to justify my choices. So why do I feel like I don't deserve to set time aside to do something mindless like colouring in and why do I view it as wasted time?

Another possible reason is that I'm a very 'closed book', for lack of better terminology.  
I don't talk to my friends or family about my feelings very much (not without the influence of a lot of alcohol anyway) and I tend to shut myself off. One of my friends has even nicknamed me 'caramel' cause he says I'm hard on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside. I have a massive complex about never wanting to appearing needy or vulnerable or not in control and although this was funny the first time around, it makes me feel a little sad that even my friends have running jokes about how shut off I am. I guess then maybe by openly engaging in self care, I almost feel like I'm shouting out to the word that I'm not feeling how I want to and that vulnerability scares me.

Because it feels more comfortable for me to just be alone when I'm feeling down, I tend to opt for lesser recommended techniques - eating junk food and watching a film or TV series or lying in bed in the middle of the day staring blankly into space and thinking of every worst possible scenario for all the woes in my life. Compared to some of the self care techniques I've read, this isn't anything particularly inspiring or original but it feels the most natural for me. Afterwards or during it though, I'm always hit with a huge surge of self-loathing and the realisation that this isn't healthy and that maybe, just maybe, one of those self care techniques that initially made me cringe would've been more productive. It seems like I constantly fool myself into thinking these self destructive things is actually self care.

I love the concept of self care and have learned the hard way that ignoring your natural instincts to take care of your emotional well-being and mental health will inevitably end badly, but I can't help but feel a little detached from the concept of self care. I'm currently trying to find techniques that I can incorporate into my life and that will leave me feeling recharged and rejuvenated rather than even lowing that when I started, so anything you can suggest, blog posts, videos or ideas that have helped you, please share. 


  1. Really enjoyed reading your post, I can definitely relate to some of the things you say. I've been thinking of writing some self help/care kinds of posts, will have to look into them more. And if you find it helps to talk to a randomer (I sometimes do!) then feel free to reach out :)

    www.Barely There | British Beauty & Lifestyle blog


  2. I'm down with this. I'm pretty bad at self-care too. When it comes to advice, I try to think 'How would I treat 10 year old me? How can I make that happen?' - Make yourself a hot chocolate, run a bath, take yourself for a walk :)

    Alice | Whiskey Jars Blog

  3. I loved reading this as I feel like I could relate to it so much! Self care is such a difficult thing to achieve and something I struggle with a lot! I always feel so guilty about it because being a psychologist to be you would think I would be all about the self care, but like you I hide my feelings and "shut people out" so struggle to really refresh and revitalise. However I know how important it is so I've been trying so hard to make more time to doing things that make me happy and talking to people more and it has definitely been helping! Thank you for sharing this post lovely, it was a good read! :) here is my post on some tips to improve your psychological well-being, not exactly self care but a similar concept. I hope it helps!

    Heather Xx

  4. The one line that really stood out to me in this post was this:

    ...not feeling like I'm worthy of spending time solely on myself and my emotional well-being...

    I think that's a HUGE part of it, especially when you lead a busy life. As you say, the guilt that comes with that bit of your brain that tells you there's more worthwhile things you could be doing is a difficult hurdle to overcome. But, as I've learned the hard way, if you DON'T make regular time for yourself in which you're not allowed to think about deadlines or feel guilty about the fact that you've accomplished nothing more than 15 levels of Candy Crush you won't have the energy to get the big things done.

    Adult colouring really is a waste of time though.

    Lis / last year's girl x

  5. I really loved this post - you worded this perfectly and I understand how you feel!

    Lauren |

  6. Self care has also been a problem for me too since I don't enjoy many things that get suggested in blog posts/guides, etc. I really dislike spending an hour in the bath and such. For me, I really enjoy getting a book and laying on the sofa under blankets. Or listening to music that really lifts me up.

    Tamsin |