Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The telling life: Five tips for self-care

It's happened again. I let myself get run down and I have another cold. My head is congested, my eyes are watery and all I want to do is huddle in a lump, feeling sorry for myself.

That isn't really an option, though I'm certainly moving more slowly than usual.

What this is making me think about is how I care for myself, especially when things are busy or I feel yucky. In lieu of a detailed post (because, really, I feel crummy) here are my top five self-care priorities, the things I try to do regardless of how busy things are. Please let me know how you take care of yourself, maybe your tips will help me head off the next cold. Bear in mind, this list is heavily influenced by my current slow state; what I would write when well might be quite different!

  1. I try to get enough sleep. If I can't get a full night's sleep I at least try to schedule a nap here and there. If I make it my habit to sleep enough then my mood is better, my body can more readily fight off infection and I am more creative/spontaneous/generous in my responses.
  2. I try to get outside most days. Even now, when I have a cold, I will at least stand on the porch for a few minutes and breath fresh air. It helps me remember that there is a whole world out there. It also means that I take a little time for myself every day.
  3. I try to do something kind for someone else. Even at my most miserable, if I can say something nice, give someone a smile or express gratitude, I remind myself that the world is bigger than I am. I know, this sounds kind of polyanna-ish, but it's true. 
  4. I try to be realistic in my objectives and be kind to myself. These are related. For example, days like today when I feel as though I can't think well or focus for long are not the day to write a deep and meaningful blog post. I'd rather admit that and do the best I can with who I am in the moment. When I can't, when I know I have to exceed my current capabilities (say I had a big gig) then I suck it up and do what I need to shine. I then give myself permission to crash later and prepare for that crash ahead of time, since I won't be able to do much in the moment. 
  5. I try to do the best I can, whatever that may be. Today the best I can is this post and then a lot of tv, tea and napping. Tomorrow it will be something else. Whether self-employed or working for someone else, the best we can is all we can do. I don't get paid if I don't work so I try to avoid sick days (I try to make every day a productive day) but I know it's necessary sometimes. Tomorrow will be something else. If I approach every day as a new best I can  then each day offers new opportunities. This is self-care because I understand that the best I can will change. 

What are your tips for self-care, whether healthy or ill? Really, I'd love to know so we can all benefit from our collective knowledge.

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. A lot of these are the same for me! Sleep is number one! Nothing can be helped if I am tired and grumpy. Again the outdoors and fresh air does wonders. Remember to take breaks in work - don't overwork (see number 1!). Friends and music are what get me through what I need to do.
    Thanks for reminding us Laura!

  2. I agree with Simon- your list is a lot like mine, and sleep is primary.
    for my personal list, I'd add some kind of joyful physical movement or exercise every day, to oil my joints, ease any aches and pay homage to the wonderful bodies that convey us through the world.


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