The Importance of Self-Care

I’ve been talking to my therapist a lot about self-care since I got out of the hospital, and how it needs to be my top priority right now. Sometimes it’s hard to justify taking the time I need to take care of myself, especially after taking so much time off from work already. But for those with chronic illnesses, I think it is essential to take care of ourselves physically and mentally. So in this post, I thought I’d talk about what self-care means to me.

For me, sometimes it just comes down to taking care of the basics: am I eating enough, staying hydrated, and sleeping enough? If I’m doing those three things, sometimes that’s good enough. On top of that, it means doing things that make me happy, letting go of anything nonessential, and letting go of any guilt associated with doing those two things.

Here are some things I do to take care of myself:

  • Listen to music. I have a playlist of songs that I’ve put together to lift my spirits when I’m not feeling well physically.
  • Watch movies or TV. I have trouble watching things I haven’t seen before when I’m feeling run down, so I like to go back to old favorites. This time around I’ve been rewatching The O.C. and I just rewatched the movie Music and Lyrics. I’d forgotten how funny that movie is. Things that make you laugh are good.
  • Read. Somehow I always end up in the middle of reading something heavy when I end up getting sick, and then I don’t feel like reading. I hate starting a new book before I’ve finished an old one, but I’ve made exceptions in these situations. When I got out of the hospital in January, I started reading Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. This time around I just finished I Know What I’m Doing – And Other Lies I Tell Myself by Jen Kirkman. 
  • Meditate. If you don’t know where to start, check out my Resources page.
  • Get an adult coloring book.
  • Do yoga or take a walk (if I feel up to it). I haven’t been to an actual yoga class in awhile, but I have a subscription to Yoga Download so I can do classes at home. They have a ton of classes for a range of levels. I especially like the classes taught by Celest Pereira and Elise Fabricant.
  • Take advantage of services to get groceries or meals delivered.
  • Take time off from work or work from home if I need to.
  • Go to therapy.
  • Talk to friends and family.

My friends were happy to send me book/movie/TV/podcast recommendations when I was in the hospital, and some brought me magazines. Don’t be afraid to ask for whatever you need from others.

It’s also important to let go of anything that doesn’t really need to be done. Your apartment is probably clean enough.

And if you need cheering up now, watch this video.

What things do you do to take care of yourself when dealing with a flare?