Sophie shares her reflections and considerations put into this year’s Winter Self Care workshop, to help you take care of your body, mind and overall self this winter.
Take a moment now to check-in with yourself and how you experience the Winter season. You may like to make some notes or drawings, or create a mindmap around these questions – there is no right or wrong answers!
How does Winter make you feel?
What do you find difficult about Winter?
How does your grief feel this Winter?
As I sat down to think about what self-care means to me, in preparation for this workshop, I was first aware about just how indiviudal each of our self-care needs are. Here are my thoughts, they are by no means set in stone and may differ from your own, but take a read and see how you feel…
Self-care means simply ‘taking care of myself’. Self-care is kind, caring, nurturing and self-serving. It is very individual and unique because it is what I need personally in that given moment. Self-care is noticing how I feel and what I need. This involves making sure I have space and time in my daily life that is free where I can address anything I am feeling and give back to myself. Sometimes, simply having that time with no agenda to check-in with my body, my mind, my emotions and my overall day is enough. Other times it helps me recognise what I need.
This time around my self-care is boundaried. It is ‘self-serving’ because it isn’t ‘for show’, it’s not for the people around me, or anyone else, it isn’t based on anyone else’s ideas of me or doing something just for the sake of it – it’s solely for me. Sometimes this looks like confronting a ‘life admin’ task I’ve been putting off to give myself that mental peace from it popping up in my head all the time (I know I can be woken up suddenly some days by my to-do list!)
Within this therefore, self-care can feel like ‘getting back to basics’ and taking care of your basic, physical needs as humans. For me, I like to think of this as thinking about how we would take care of small child feeling or dealing with whatever we are. Basic needs involve… have we eaten or drank water? Showered/bathed? Getting changed out of dirty clothes or clothes that are limiting – fresh PJs are a good one. If you live alone – have you spoken to someone today? Do you have a doctors appointment to book or a support session to arrange?
For example… Some days this can be going food shopping and cooking a big, healthy meal. Other days this can be ordering a takeaway or asking a love one to get us some food.
A big part of self-care is active rest. Grief is a very physical experience and our bodies need rest when we are going through this. Especially when we are both dealing with grief and in the middle of Winter (and experiencing lockdown, as well as all the other stressors going on in our unique lives) we can become tired, low on energy physically, socially or emotionally and be prone to burning out. Active rest is different to cabbaging on the sofa scrolling social media – because here your mind is still very active, your eyes are focusing and processing what you’re reading and usually your heartrate is up and you’re disconnected from your stress-out physical body.
We will work through some guidance for actively resting, write any notes or draw anything that comes to mind, maybe what you instinctually feel as I go through these sections or something you would like to use this as a plan to set up for yourself later. Think about your safe place; a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed, think about what you need right now when considering the questions
Environment: Where am I? Do I feel safe?
Taste? something to eat and/or drink
2. Purpose: What am I aiming for?
Be intentional, don’t do something just for the sake of it, think about why you’re doing and it’s purpose...
3. How do I achieve this/ What do I need?
Simply being in that environment is enough. E.g…
What helps me sleep? cry? release anger? guilt? relax? distract my mind/re-focus?
When do I feel my body relax?
Who do I need to help with this (if anyone)?
Feeling resistance and some more tips:
Sometimes we can experience resistance to our self-care and addressing our needs. Often if we are on-the-go and busy, perhaps feeling stress, it can feel difficult to stop. Often people can feel fear around stopping because they are worried about what emotions will come up or what they will have to face. It can help to take it in small steps to reduce this pressure and build it up. Try and make it a part of your regular life so it becomes the norm to take some space out for yourself, this may look different every day. Remember your self-care is for you, no one else, so try not to put pressure on yourself to be ‘doing’ all the time – allow yourself to simple ‘be’. It’s not about being perfect all the time – so speak to yourself kindly and don’t worry if you slip or if it takes a while to figure our what is right for you. We are all human.