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Help & Advice

Seven steps to self care

It’s Self-Care Week! This is an opportunity to reflect on what self-care means to us and think about how we can be kinder to ourselves.

So what is self-care? Self-care is about the choices we make every day to stay happy and healthy. These include the small things we do like getting enough sleep, to bigger self-care choices, such as going to see a counsellor. Self-care is an important part of managing difficult feelings and helps us to keep safe when we are struggling and overwhelmed.

At PAPYRUS we know that self-care is different for everybody. Every person is unique, with unique needs – meaning that how we self-care will be different too. One person’s way of practising self-care could prove difficult for someone else, and vice versa. We’ve put together seven self-care tips for this week – but they are flexible and open to interpretation. Use them as a starting-off point, or as inspiration for you to meet your self-care needs. 

Self Care Idea #1: Connect with nature – get some fresh air, go for a walk, plant something. There are many different ways to connect with nature and each of these varied connections, like the changing of the seasons, can bring a sense of renewal.

Self Care Idea #2: Escape – get lost in a book, film, TV series or writing. Stories are a wonderful means of escape. They can give us sanctuary in stressful or difficult times. We can learn from them, or go on an inspiring adventure. But it’s important to consider what we are watching or reading – if you are feeling low or anxious, you might want to avoid themes that may be triggering or upsetting, certainly for the time being. 

Self Care Idea #3: Reflect – we often get lost in our regrets, but how often do we reflect on our achievements? It can be good self-care to reflect on successes and achievements, to help boost our confidence for the challenges ahead. Sometimes it’s hard to do this – we may feel like we haven’t achieved much (even though we have). At times like this you can take things down to a smaller-scale – try writing down the things you are thankful for today.

Self Care Idea #4: Write a list. Taking fifteen minutes to clear your head and write down your worries can really help. It might help you to write these and then scribble them out soon after. You could even write them out as preparation for a future to-do list. Or, just write them out to see them clearly on paper. However you use this self-care idea, externalising your worries and getting them down on paper can be refreshing.

Self Care Idea #5: Treat yourself to something you fancy – whether that is your favourite drink, a doughnut, a book you’ve really wanted for a while or a trip you can afford. See it as a show of kindness and generosity (you deserve this!).

Self Care Idea #6: Take some time to close your eyes and be mindful. Take this time as a mini-meditation to clear your mind. You can use this opportunity to check-in with yourself about how you are currently feeling, physically and mentally. You can even simply listen to the everyday sounds around you (rather than trying to block them out in frustration). You can supplement your meditation time with calming music, pleasant aromas or low lighting. Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps but there are many more that may be able to help you.     

Self Care Idea #7: Unplug for an hour – free yourself from your laptop and your phone. Too often we are left feeling that there are endless things to do or look at online. It can help to strip things down to the basics and go phone-free. There are physical benefits too – blue light from phones and tablets can affect our ability to sleep so there’s no harm in having a proactive switch off if you’re trying to wind-down in the evening.

PAPYRUS has some resources that can help with self-care, from making a Hope Box to Distraction Techniques and Coping Strategies. Of course, you may have your own ideas and strategies. However you choose to practice self-care, remember to make time to do it. Self-care can feel like a luxury when we’re rushing around. In fact, it works best when it’s a regular part of our routine – even if that means prioritising self-care over the expectations of others. Blurt Foundation have a great self-care planner that can help you prioritise your personal wellbeing. There is also the PAPYRUS colouring book ‘The Art of a Peaceful Mind’ which is a great way of practicing mindfulness and allowing you to focus on the present moment.

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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

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