Some days, I think the perfect form of self-care may involve breaking into NASA and launching myself into the cold, empty void of space. Usually, I choose a soothing bath instead or maybe a listen to Janet Jackson’s Control.
Obviously, launching yourself into space goes firmly into the “don’t” category of self-care. That’s a no-brainer (even if it sounds like a good idea at the time). The reality is that everyone has bad days and working on ways to get through those days without losing your mind is what self-care is all about.
You’ve probably been practicing some form of self-care since you watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a kid. Incidentally, he had some great self-care tips. But now that you’re out of the Land of Make-Believe and firmly in the world of Oh-What-Now, it’s time to consciously care for yourself.
September was Self Care Awareness Month, something you may have missed. No worries! There are small things you can do when you’re having a bad day to care for yourself. Here are a few suggestions from your friends at The Joint.
Forget the Negative Self-Talk
Have you ever heard someone ask if you would talk to your mom/dad/sister/child the way you speak to yourself? It’s a good point. Negative self-talk is something that’s easy to fall victim to, but one practice you should try to stop.
When you’re having a really bad day, forget asking yourself how you would talk to a loved one and instead think about how you would talk to a beloved pet. Do you want a treat? A nap? A scratch behind the ears? You’re a good girl/boy and you deserve a little praise. You peed where you were supposed to today, so take that as a win and give yourself credit. If you didn’t, well, tomorrow is a new day.
Listen to Music, Over and Over
There are a lot of self-help articles out there that tell you to put on your favorite song to help lift you out of your funk and make you happy. That is a great idea. But some days are so bad that listening to that song once isn’t going to cut it. A more likely scenario is listening to it on repeat for 12 hours. And there is no shame in that game — especially if you want to use your hairbrush as a microphone and slide across the floor in your kitchen with white tube socks on. Just close the curtains.
Channel Your Inner Scarlett O’Hara
So, Scarlett O’Hara is a bit of a narcissist, but when you really think about it, she was also kind of the queen of self-care. Because sometimes, when things feel like too much, the best option is to just think about them tomorrow. Sometimes, self-care is as simple as going to bed.
Also an important lesson: When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a stunning dress.
Write It Down
It’s possible that some of the most influential literary figures in history were just practicing self-care. That anonymous Egyptian who pounded reeds to create papyrus for the first time? He probably just had something he really needed to get out. Ernest Hemingway? Well, his writing was a form of self-care for him — minus all that booze. Kurt Vonnegut? The guy was a POW in World War II but still managed to find a sort of cathartic humor in it.
The point is, when you’re feeling something, write it down. It’s unlikely anyone else will ever see it, but it will help you to pour it out on the page and let it go. It’s self-care and the best part is, you can say whatever you want or need to. Just let it out.
Self-Care Awareness month has come and gone but caring for yourself is something that you should do more than simply one month of the year. Remember, self-care doesn’t need to be elaborate, it simply needs to happen. When you’re having a bad day, these simple techniques can help you make it better. And that’s something to believe in.