I remember in high school, one day a term my mum would let my sister and I stay home for a day just to relax (and sometimes go get a message and lunch out). We called it a self-care day, and it basically just allowed us to forget the stresses of assessment, school drama and to reconnect with doing something we love. But what happens when we forget to look after ourselves? Its a pretty awful feeling, so it's important not too wait too long before taking that precious day off.
I've had my fair share of shitty times, and I've learned my lesson that it's better to get on top of things early rather than leaving it too late. So, here are my top signs that you're in need of a self-care day - and - what you can do during one!
NUMBER ONE: The panadol isn't working...
No one enjoys a headache, especially when it goes on for days. But, when you're taking a Panadol every 3 hours and there's no improvement to the thumping in your head, it might be time for some new action. I can tell you now, that pain isn't (just) from dehydration - but keep up that water nonetheless! No, the throbbing feeling is most likely just a building stress from everything going on. Even if you feel on top of things, just take a break and treat yourself (your body will thank you).
HOW-TO COMBAT: head, shoulder and neck massage
NUMBER TWO: Excessive fatigue setting in...
Be careful here - I don't mean you've had a few big days and now you've been sleeping in a bit late. This type of fatigue sets in hard and fast, and no matter how well rested you are at the start of the day, you crash too soon and often end up with achey limbs. Most of us would push past this, but I assure you a day or two of extra-critical rest will go far.
HOW-TO COMBAT: lots of pillows, a heat pack, Netflix, hot chocolate and soup for lunch - an empty timetable with 100% focus on you.
NUMBER THREE: An unexplained loss or increase in appetite...
Like I said, I'm not a doctor, so there's multiple things that can cause this. But from my experience, a sudden change in appetite has often been the result of a lack of motivation. It might be because you've stayed home all day and haven't found the effort to make your own food, or maybe you start feeling the need to fill an emotion spot with anything in the cupboards. There is no shame, because it's totally normal! Though it's important to find motivation to look after yourself in ways that will last the long run.
HOW-TO COMBAT: find a breakfast, lunch and dinner location you've never tried before, and take a friend on a food scavenger hunt for the day with some shopping or sight-seeing trips in between.
NUMBER FOUR: Your favourite things don't seem so good...
It definitely sucks when you lose the love of an activity. That could be a sport, an art, a game, or anything really. But why does it happen? It's the question I want answered too, because way too often I get that empty feeling come on and nothing perks my ears. Sometimes it takes a while, but there's eventually something that gets me back in the zone, so maybe I can give you some inspiration!
HOW-TO COMBAT: go for a skate or scooter, try a new makeup look, journal or draw, search for a new show or movie, make a Pinterest board, or take your dogs (if you have one) for a walk around the neighbourhood.
NUMBER FIVE: Everything just seems too much...
This one seems self-explanatory, but I'll give you a run down anyway. Sometimes things don't go to plan, and that's completely fine. But it's when we seem to keep getting knocked over, that we tend to start believing it's 'a me problem.' Well, I have some news: it definitely isn't a you problem. Yes, it never feels great for things to go wrong, but if you make the time to look after yourself just for a day - I promise you will bounce back better than ever!
HOW-TO COMBAT: try a new recipe, go for a slow jog or walk, talk it out with your pets, make a bucket list, or set out some fresh goals for the next month or so.
Go for a relaxing massage, or day spa with a friend
Look up a fancy restaurant in a place you rarely visit, and try something new
Write a letter addressed to yourself in 12 months time
Attend a paint and sip class (and actually try)
Host a cocktail night with a group of friends or family, and see who makes the best recipe
Take a beach trip during the sunrise or sunset and gets some extra cute pics
That guy/ girl you've been talking to - make date plans
Shopping haul in Kmart
Visit a flight centre and present you're planning a month long holiday
Teach yourself how to handstand (or cartwheel) in the middle of a public park
It's ok not to have a good day, or to feel down, or to lose passion for something you love. But it's important to pick yourself back up in those times - for both you and those around you. SO, whichever one of these 'how-to' options prick your ears, give it a go and make sure to let me know how it went!