Self-care

I got my nails done yesterday.

I got my nails done yesterday and this simple act truly transformed my mood. Prior to this little indulgence I felt disengaged. I was sad, demotivated and feeling generally flat. I was having conversations with people but I was never truly present. I could feel myself drifting in and out of life. But then I participated in some self-care and I felt completely reinvigorated. I looked down at my nails and felt excited and ready to take on the rest of the day. Does my nails changing my mood make me vain? Not at all. It makes me someone who values myself.

Self-care is any activity that helps you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health. Self-care can help you recharge and revitalise. It doesn’t have to be getting your nails done. Self-care can better equipped you to take on the challenges and responsibilities of day-day life.  It can be getting a massage, reading a book, washing your face, going for a walk; anything that makes you feel better about yourself and your situation can be classified as self-care.

Part of the reason  I am such a proponent of self-care is because I know what the complete absence of it can feel like. When I am in the depths of bipolar depression I often completely neglect myself. I’m ashamed to admit the harsh reality of it but I can go entire weeks without showering or even brushing my teeth. All this does is compound the problem and make me feel even worse about myself. But it is exceptionally easy to fall into a pit where I don’t care about myself at all. In a way, small acts of self-care become an act of defiance against my depression.

Earlier this year I devised a list of basic self-care things I have to do everyday.  This list includes writing in my journal, reading, personal hygiene, going for a walk and so on. Sometimes I’m not perfect but having a list of things I know make me feel better when I do them is quite an empowering thing when I am at my worst. Some days I might only manage one element of self-care but I feel stronger for it never the less.

Sometimes, something extra special like getting your nails done can be a tranformative experience. The reason I was inspired to write this post is because I realised that the last time I got my nail done was in January when  I was in Singapore. I felt I deserved this little indulgence when I was on holiday but wouldn’t permit myself it in my real world. But I do deserve to indulge myself in little ways. And so do you.

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