I had another post NEARLY ready to go, but then saw the fantastic #ClaimYourDays hashtag on Twitter, started by Bloomsbury and fabulous author Emery Lord who wrote the superb When We Collided, and wanted to join in. I found that it was difficult summarising what I do for self-care, though, so thought I'd write a quick blog post about it rather than tweeting.
Rereading books - I love reading (not the biggest surprise to any of my followers), but I find rereading particularly relaxing, especially childhood favourites and fun reads. My go-to series and books are the Drina series by Jean Estoril which I loved when growing up, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome - still the funniest adult book I've read, Candy Harper's Faith trilogy which is hilarious and Susie Day's Pea's Book quartet which is a sweet and funny set of books.
Watching TV - For me, watching TV these days is something I tend to do while also doing other things. I prefer things that don't involved massive concentration - I WILL get back to The Shield, and properly tackle Orphan Black and others, at some point- but I actually really enjoy watching stuff which is easier to follow while either drawing, colouring, or browsing the web. Full House, which I missed first time around, is a current favourite, as is rewatching things like Buffy, The OC, or Desperate Housewives where I have at least vague memories of what's going on.
Colouring - I hadn't coloured for years when I picked up a couple of Anastasia Catris's Colour Me Mindful series after so many of my friends loved them, but I quickly realised why they were so keen - colouring is a really great way to focus on something and feels very satisfying when you've finished. (I especially like the CMM series because of the great mix of complicated/large pictures and smaller/simpler ones.)
Drawing - I also like drawing, even though I rarely share what I've done (because I am REALLY bad at it) - I tend to find one of the 'how to draw a cartoon animal' things online and have a go at doing it for ten minutes when I need a break from thinking about stuff.
Keeping track - this sounds really geeky/sad, but I actually keep track of how happy I'm feeling at the end of every day. (I have a spreadsheet showing what I've been doing, and use a number from 1 to 10 to indicate how happy I am when I'm ready for sleep.) This is something I've only started doing this year, but has three major benefits for me - I can see what things tend to leave me feeling in a good mood and try to do them more often, I can remind myself of some of the amazing things I've done already this year when I'm feeling down, and I can also remind myself that even the WORST days I've had this year aren't that bad. (The lowest number I've used is 5.5; I'm fairly sure if I'd been doing this a few years ago that would've been a great day!)
Talking to people - After years and years of struggling to talk about anything with my friends or family I'm more confident talking to my family when I have problems, but I also have an amazing support network of friends I've met over the last few years. (Mainly through blogging!) I won't name people, but I really appreciate you all - THANK YOU.
For more on self-care, I really loved this post from Jess over on Safe Space in February!
How do you self-care? Share what works for you using #ClaimYourDays on Twitter!