On the Importance of Self-Care

Are we? Are we at the end of it yet? No? MOOOOOOOM

Okay so it’s been… a while. Counting down what day we are on right now really doesn’t work for me, does it work for you?

If you’re feeling very bothered by this whole lock-down, going around and around inside your own room, not feeling well, finally understanding how animals at the zoo must feel – Ok, we might be spiralling here. Point is, I’m quite certain you actually have a bit of work to do for uni, no? If you do one small thing a day, the list will get smaller and smaller. And also, it’ll help pass the time and you’ll feel more productive and efficient. And after it, you can take some time for yourself to reward your efforts. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and think about how you’re feeling and what you need right now. Don’t give up quickly, give yourself at least a full minute to think about it.

What did you come up with?

Were the voices and noises hard to drown out, did they overlap while shouting what they needed from you? Or was what you heard an oasis of silence, like the nighttime sky over a sleepy village in the mountains? Did you hear your own heartbeat?

Taking a minute to listen to your inner self, your mind, can help you figure out what it is you need right now. Your professors are still working you hard with classes and assignments, the government is working your patience and self-control by telling you to stay inside, and your family is bombarding you with questions on how you are and what you are doing. When do you get to take a moment of your time?

Self-care can be an incredible gift for the mental chitter-chatter you’ve got going on right now. All that non-stop noise inside your head? Calm it down by taking care of your mind and body. It’s surprisingly easy while totally individual, and it can take you 5 minutes, or 2 hours. The amount of time you spend on yourself is totally up to you and your schedule. And what it can look like is up to your own preferences, too!

It’s important is to find something that calms you down. Like for example…

a long, warm shower with nice-smelling body wash, shampoo, exfoliant (used coffee grounds or sugar will do perfectly), and afterwards re-hydrate your freshly exposed skin-layer with bodylotion or oils. It stimulates both your senses of scent and touch. Plus your skin will feel sooooo soft afterwards

A quick mindfulness meditation – hear me out ok? Just sit down for 5-10 minutes, breathe in and out deeply for a minute, then scan down your body. Do you feel any tension anywhere? Give it some attention to let that tension melt away, just think of how that muscle is suddenly filled with warmth and as the warmth radiates further and further away from it, the tension melts away with it. And have you felt your breath yet? I mean really, how does it go in and out of your body? Calm and in long drags, or does the chaos in your head make you draw in breath quickly? Try to listen to your breath for a minute. Does it change now that you pay attention to it? How? And then just – let go. Let go of the breath, the tensed muscles, the kids screaming outside. Just let it go for a minute. Then come back to check how you’re feeling now.
And that’s all it can take.

How about a small dance session? Put on that song you would always go crazy about on Friday evenings after Happy Hour or, if it turned into a long night, somewhere on Oude Markt, and just dance like no one’s watching. Or, if that helps you, as if someone were watching. Just let off that steam for a bit! Go crazy and dance like these are normal times! Feel the endorphins! Wait, are you smiling right now? Yeeeeeeees

Watch that movie or that special episode, the one that always warms your heart when you’re down. Let it give you comfort like it usually does. Snuggle down in your bed and settle into what you’re watching. Feel the emotions you’ve buried all day, or even for the past two weeks. The characters on the screen won’t judge you (neither will we!)

Go for a solitary walk. Being back outside, in the fresh air, with some sunlight warming you up – oh yeah! Avoid people and places with people, and put your headphones on. Our brain needs fresh air and sunlight to function properly, so allow yourself that small thing.

Not far enough if Tom Cruise is in our vicinity. KEEP MOVING

Now, I could go on and on and on about how your self-care steps could look like. Really, I could bore you with it. But what’s more important than my rambling is how you feel about self-care. Have you got something that works super well for you but I didn’t mention it? Please share it with everyone else in the comments below!
Is there something on this list you find works like a charm? Let me know!

Until next time dear Pangae-ians, stay safe, healthy and kind

sending you all hugs!

Published by thepangaeablog

We're the staff of Pangaea, the Intercultural Meeting Centre of the KU Leuven in Leuven, Belgium! Welcome to our blog where we aim to inform you of all we are doing, have planned, and keep you connected with what has happened lately!

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