I'm guilty of not being very good at self-care. But I've been very aware of the importance of it, striving to find effective ways to incorporate it into my days for 7 or 8 years now. The rude invasion of chronic pain has made self-care critical to my pain management as well as my mental health. I wish I could report that more than 4 years in I have this self-care thing down. BUT, it's still a struggle. I'm definitely getting better at it as the need progressively heightens. Here are some of my favorite self-care tools and techniques:
1. Using the dishwasher: until about a month ago I washed all our dishes by hand to save water and money. Our dishwasher is really old and definitely not energy efficient but the cost of running it is worth it considering how much pain hand washing causes me. This is not limited to dishwashers; I'll take advantage of any mechanical shortcut that's available.
2. Chatting with a friend online or on the phone: I live about 1000 miles from all my friends back home. To say I miss gathering and chatting with them would be a ridiculous understatement. Since I'm not able to see them I satiate myself with facebook, skype and phone communication. Doing so gives me a glimpse at the me I am underneath all the pain and makes me feel part of something again.
3. Giving myself a pass: On my worst days I grant myself a pass from the usual chores of the day. I take a page from my husband's handbook and decide nothing is so important that it can't wait until tomorrow. This only works on my worst days because normally I guilt myself into doing things like cooking and dishes.
4. Feeding myself healthy food: While eating better hasn't made a difference for my pain, it has helped me feel healthier and more vibrant. I just feel good treating my body well, and maybe in return my body will deal with all the other crap better.
5. Indulge in comedy: I've said it before and I'll say it again, finding things that make me laugh every day is maybe the kindest thing I do for myself. My husband is a big help in this department. He has a wonderful sense of play and can make me laugh even when I don't think I can.
What kinds of self-care things do you do?