How to make the impossible possible!
How can we build self-care into our everyday lives in a way that is actually helpful?
July 24 was International Self-Care Day. Reading that might make some people smile and feel good. Self-care is a positive and healthy thing after all, right? But, for some, reading those words might not feel so great.
The reality for families experiencing childhood cancer or blood disorders can be “tired parents with little to no self-care or downtime,” as WCK parent and Board Member Sharon Bulger describes in her blog post that tells her own family’s story. Many self-care tips that are shared are so out of reach that the whole idea can seem impossible. Sure, who wouldn’t love a two-week yoga retreat in Bali, or even a bubble bath? Often, neither of those things are possible.
Self-care has sometimes been used to place all the responsibility for wellbeing on the individual. It cannot be a replacement for social and community supports. This is why WCK exists: to work together and help rise the tide of support for our families. No-one should have to face life’s challenges alone, so while self-care has its place, it's only one piece of the puzzle.
So, how can we build self-care into our lives in a way that is actually helpful?
First, by being clear about what it’s really about, and why it matters. It’s about making decisions, little and big, with your health and wellbeing as a priority. Even small changes to your everyday routines and choices make a big impact on how you feel by the end of the day. Drink that glass of water. Step outside and breathe in that fresh air for 20 seconds. Remind yourself that you are showing up and doing the very best that you can. Positive self-talk is self-care!
It’s also about finding simple things that can give you even just a moment of escape from everything else going on in and around you. One moment of rest or refreshment can calm and reset your whole body, leaving you more ready for what’s next. Here are some ideas to find that moment of escape:
Try the one-moment meditation. It really is just one minute, but it feels like a proper rest!
Listen to your favourite song. Even better, if you’re in the car or the shower, blast it out at the top of your lungs.
Practice box breathing or five-finger breathing to regulate your breath.
Try three-minute tapping to calm stress.
Blow some bubbles. It’s amazing how relaxing it can be to watch them, and it also evens out your breathing.
Get into the daylight, even for a matter of seconds. Feel the breeze on your skin and take a deep breath.
Visualize being in your favourite place. Imagine the sights, sounds, smells, and textures.
Splash cold water on your face.
Move your body in any way that feels good. Stretch, dance, shake it out.
Reach out to a friend. Even a short message can help you feel connected to those who care for you.
- DO NOTHING for a whole minute! Go on, we dare you!
In honour of this year’s Self-Care Day, we want to encourage you that self-care is not something to feel bad about, but something to help you find those little, restful moments that set you up to feel more ready for the everything else. And we promise to be there to support you, too.