There is a certain stigma surrounding self-care that we are so desperately trying to fight... because self-care isn’t selfish. If anything, it’s a necessity. And it can really go a long way in impacting how we think and feel about ourselves and our bodies. - Jaya, Champion
Champions use their own experience to change public attitudes about mental health. Sharing some of our own experiences with people without mental health problems can change the way they think and act about mental health.
Think about what aspects of your experience and story you are comfortable to share with others.
You may have people approach you who want to seek support for their own mental health. You are not expected to provide this support but can signpost to local services or information lines. This leaflet has lots of tips and support contacts which you could give to them.
Make sure you have given yourself enough time to plan your activity and that this is a good time for you to do an activity. Get help and support from others and be sure to priorities your own well being whist planning and running the activity.
Running your own activity can be incredibly rewarding and uplifting. It can also be stressful to manage the preparation and to cope when things go wrong. Do you make sure that you look after yourself? What could you do to be kinder to yourself?
We've put together some tips to get you thinking.
What helps you to relax? Champion Jaya's top tips for self-care:
- Have a bath, get some sleep, meditate
- Read a book, listen to a podcast or music, write in a journal
- Take a walk, do yoga, go swimming
- Clean and organise room, write lists of what you have achieved or are grateful for, do some DIY
- Eat well, do some cooking or baking
- Paint your nails, use a face mask, call someone for a chat
Using your imagination
Can you remember a place where you felt at peace, safe and calm? Close your eyes. Bring that place to mind and look around. What can you see? Really notice the colours, the shapes, the different parts of that safe place. Then bring to mind the sounds around you, those close to you and far away. Notice any smells. Finally what can you feel here? Are there any sensations on your skin or within your body. Stay a while in your place and experience your different senses and bring yourself back whenever you're ready.
Using different senses
A great way to recharge is to experience things that activate your senses. That could mean using cosmetics and products that you like the smell of, going to an art gallery or going for a walk and really taking in the beauty of the paintings or scenery, listening closely to music, exploring interesting or pleasing textures of objects or materials with your fingers.
Once you've chosen what you would like to do, remember that what is going on for you is important, your feelings are important, but see if you can allow yourself to fully experience this for now. If you can, try allow yourself to be present to what you're experiencing.
Expectations of yourself
Is it possible that your expectations of yourself are too high? Are you taking too much responsibility?
If so, could you give yourself a break by spreading out your work, asking friends for help, or simplifying your activity?
What would you say to a friend who had such high expectations of themselves? Could you show the same kindness to yourself?
Predicting the worst
Are you predicting the worst possible outcome and thinking and feeling about your activity as if that might happen?
Is it possible that things might not turn out as badly as you’re predicting? What might go well? What might go badly but not be a disaster? What are the other possibilities for what might happen?
Getting out your frustration
Do you need to let out some frustration? Sometimes it can help to do this in a physical way.
Could you go to a kickboxing class, rip up a newspaper or draw a picture of what’s annoying you and tear it up?
Accept the situation
Something's gone wrong and it isn't what you planned. This can bring up all kinds of difficult feelings, such as unfairness, disappointment, frustration that things shouldn't be this way.
These feelings are absolutely justified, but see if you can accept that this situation is what it is. See if you can say to yourself: "This isn't fair, I don't like this situation, but this is the way things are and I'll make the best of it." Take a break, even if just for a few minutes, then make a plan for what to do next.
Put things into perspective
Are things as bad as they seem? Has “everything” gone wrong or has just “something” (however big) gone wrong?
Think about what is going well, despite the challenges. Can a more balanced perspective help you to feel better about the situation?
Find your strength
Everyone reacts differently to different situations, almost like different characters inside us – can you think of a time when you felt really strong or determined? Think about how it felt to be that way, what you did and said. Try to step into that part of yourself and experience it as you. What will you do as that part of yourself right now?
Strategies to improve things right now
See if you can answer any of these questions, which should give you ideas of what to do next:
- Who can I ask for help?
- If I can’t fix the situation, how could I make it better right now?
- Is there any element of this activity I could let drop and still do an activity?