2018 Goals for Self-Care
It's important to be able to recognize when you need to breathe, take a moment, perhaps step back and get a clearer picture of things and figuratively hit "reset" when you can.
People don't realize how important self-care can be, especially if they don't know what self-care actually is. Sure, a new purse is a nice reward, but after you've been through something serious like a surgery or are going through something very difficult like a bad IBD flare, it's helpful to recognize when it's appropriate to stop everything and provide self-care.
Here are a few things I've compiled that help me complete and follow through with self-care:
Most IBD-ers have taken a sitz bath at some point in their time being a diagnosed patient. There are times that I have complications physically and I cannot bathe or am not allowed to, such as when fistulas are present. It can be painful and truthfully, exhausting. Who knew a bath could be exhausting? Sometimes I have trouble getting in, getting out and I am exhausted once I am in, when I'm able to use the bath. I usually soak at least once or twice a day.
To help with my mental health, instead of thinking of a sitz or any bath as a task, bring one thing into the bathroom that will be helpful to motivate you to get you in. Maybe it's a bluetooth shower radio, maybe it's a great smelling candle, incense or some bath products like bath bombs or soaking salts. (Please be careful or don't use at all when you have external wounds like fistulas). For me, when I'm just doing a quick soak, I usually treat myself to a nice cup of tea. (I'll follow up with this later).
I go to the movies at least once a year by myself for quiet time. Usually around the New Year and usually once in summer. I go by myself, get a big soda... and have to skip the popcorn, myself. I grab a nice thick sweatshirt, sweatpants and head to the movies not caring who I see; I'm there to spend time with myself and enjoy a flick and kick my legs up and enjoy a nearly empty theatre! This is not to say that going with a friend or group of friends is not also providing self-care.
Self-care is truly whatever you define it as, as long as it has a positive effect on your overall mental health, which is crucial living with any chronic illness.
Anyone who knows me well has likely seen part of my mug collection. I love to collect big mugs and display them. I love collecting big mugs, sometimes with funny sayings on them. I also love to give mugs away. Amazon.com gets me every time with "My Amazon" because they clearly get my love for mugs. I also collect maps and globes - there probably isn't a room in my house without those things. If I'm surrounded in happiness, acceptance and tolerance of my disease is very relative to that.
Tea Pots & Tea Varieties
I have recently within the last year acquired a great love for tea, teapots and the like. Since coffee does not agree with my IBD, I've tried warm tea, since it seems that even hot water will bother me. One self-care item, I actually set a goal for myself to save up some money for a tea/beverage cart so I can display my beautiful collection. At the end of a hard, exhausting day, I truly look forward to grabbing my kettle, brewing a batch of tea and mixing some honey and lemon in. Some people spoil themselves with a glass of wine, I spoil myself with tea add-ons and trying different types of tea!
I know journaling sounds a lot like a diary to many people, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. There are many different planners and journals that help you get started with your goals, as well as following up with them and making sure they are achieved. I work several part-time jobs that definitely make me a little crazy in different moments if I'm at the wrong place at the wrong time.
My handy planner has been a life-saver for me, as well as my appointment keeper. It keeps me on schedule with deadlines, events and the planners I've personally used have always had some touch of goal-setting involved within the pages themselves. There are many online to pick from; browsing on Amazon may help you find one, may lead you to another website that may have one for you or you can always go to your closest retail store. (The ones I'm currently using right now are actually from Target.)
What do you define as self-care and how do you make sure that you implement it into your daily life when you find yourself stressed, tired and especially when you're in a flare?
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