Self Care: How Do You Care For Yourself?

I read a blog post recently that I’ve been pondering a lot ever since

While it’s specific to community management, and so to me, I felt that there were plenty of overlaps we could consider within the software testing community. I’ve been quite focussed on the mental health and communication pieces over the past few months and I’m trying to rebalance the focus across more areas.

So, to maybe give others ideas of how they could care for themselves, what do you do to practice self care?

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What I like about this article is that it comments on the fact that self-care isn’t always just about bubble baths and ice cream. Sometimes self-care is about making yourself do something that is good for you especially when you can’t be bothered to do it.

Self-care for me has to be running.

I am rubbish at it but I carve out a few hours in the week and I definitely notice it when I don’t go. I don’t really do events except parkrun (when I get around to it).

I’m quite introverted by nature, and the only time I don’t have to socialise, please anyone, meet any deadlines etc. I just get a whole hour to myself where I can be completely selfish and only consider myself.

Also, if I exercise in the morning then naturally I end up reaching for healthier food and drink more water in the day. So it comes in a full circle health-wise.

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I’m really bad at self care, so much so that I’ve had to add reminders to my calendar like “Knee exercises”, “Get up and move”, etc. I don’t want to rely on it to much but I think until I build a habit, it’s useful.

Over the past 3 weeks it’s made me spend even half an hour per day doing something for me.

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I agree with the above. Sometimes getting yourself to do the stuff that is hard to do but important is really good. Even just having a routine of self-care activities can help you get into the habit, like putting your knee exercises in the calendar.

I’m gunna blame it on my super big family and countryside childhood, but I have always been really bad at brushing my teeth and washing my face every day. It wasn’t something that was ever instilled in us as being important. Something that helped me was going out and buying products for a really over-the-top 10-step Korean beauty regime. We’re talking cleansers, toners, ampoules (?? I still don’t know what this is), moisturisers etc. I make a great ritual-like ceremony of it, starting and ending every day with this stupidly over the top process. xD Also being in the bathroom for that much time helped make me brush my teeth twice every day too. It’s silly because I made it harder and more time consuming to do the task, but having my own special ritual and products actually helped. Also, my skin is so soft rn like omg sometimes I just rub my hands on my cheeks for the fun of it hahaha

It can be easy to turn your self-care activities into stressful piles of pants though, so having a long bath really can be the right thing to do. For example, I got really burnt out towards the end of last year and decided this year that I would dedicate more time to reading and exercising - two things I enjoy and find relaxing. But what’s happened is I am putting pressure on myself to read every single day (I am actively reading one book on the kindle app, two physical books and one audiobook)((my friends and I have a book club and I am super stressed rn because I have until 5pm tomorrow to read 200 pages, and I’m going to a meetup tonight so I probably won’t finish reading until 3am)), and meet over-the-top exercise targets even on days when I am super busy. So I guess a piece of advice I should take, and would recommend to others, is to know when to step back from your hobbies and do something different. Your self care activities can be self destructive if you take them too far.

Also, making that phone call you’re avoiding right now won’t (probably) be half as stressful as spending the next two weeks low-key panicking about how you still need to make that phone call. Getting someone else to phone them while pretending to be you is also a valid option imo. xD

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Weight lifting. Similar to running, you get a huge boost of endorphins when lifting. I also like punching a speed bag. We have a whole body vibration plate that feels nice on sore joints and stuff.

On the flip side, visiting a local garden or plant nursery is awesome, farmers market, making a nice cup of milk tea.I also like polishing my shoe collection (I have a pretty decent sized collection of dress shoes). I like looking at my cuff link collection. Cleaning all of my pairs of glasses. Sometimes it’s the little things. Many of those things feel therapeutic. Animals, can’t understate the importance of animals.

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I saw this blog pop up in the MoT feeds today

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It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as long as you do something to deal with the build-up of stress. Speaking from personal experience, if you let the stress build up, it will start to really take a toll on both your physical and mental health - I ended up with high blood pressure and depression through bottling it all up.
Take time out for yourself and don’t rush to try and cram it in, ask the question “what really does need to be done now and what can wait?” and then enjoy whatever you’ve decided to do.
I should also add that I’ve this week dropped out of doing a technical test for a prospective employer; I looked at the amount of time available, considered the prep I needed to do for some other upcoming interviews and the work I had on and the need to have some down-time after a hectic fortnight of job-hunting, and decided the downtime was more important.

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I’m glad you reminded us of this today! In response, I decided to institute “3-Minute Office Enhancement” sessions. I have a lovely blooming tree outside my home office, and looking at it makes me happy. I also just got a potted plant yesterday which is in here. But I had the blinds drawn, and there was clutter all over my desk around the plant.

So I set my timer for three minutes, and tidied up the room just enough so that I could enjoy the things I like to look at. I opened the blinds and decluttered the desk. Now I can stop whenever I want to and take a refreshing look at things that I love to see. And I can put on some lavender hand cream while I do it. The scent is delicious and calming.

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3-Minute Office Enhancement you say :thinking: that sounds like a brilliant idea!

I also love the smell of lavender! I’m making lavender soap this weekend as my self care so double the relaxation pay off

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Some suggestions from @testwithnishi about self care in their most recent blog