Over the past two days I've been attending a Mental Health nursing seminar. Today the nurse touched on something called 'self care'. She asked us if we knew what it meant and no one really said anything. She todl us that if we don't know what it is, then we can't engage in it.
She went on to explain that self care is just looking after yourself and knowing how to bring ourselves back to normal if something should disrupt our balance.
This topic of self care had also been brought up in another mental health placement I completed. The nurse here was saying that some days can be very emotionally draining. This is why it is important to check "where we're at". This can be in terms of our feelings, thoughts and physical well being. The self care bit also includes knowing what will bring you back to normal. The nurse today was saying that she likes to sit in her bathroom, put the toilet lid down and sit there enjoying a cup of tea and a magazine. She said the toilet is the best place because if someone knocks on the door, just tell them you're constipated and they'll leave you alone for at least 20 minutes without any further questions.
Other self care methods I heard nurses talk about were things like buying a Curly Wurly chocolate and having a take-away coffee, or taking the scenic route with a view of the beach on the way home.
Because it was the second time I had heard of these self care methods, it got me thinking about what I do to self care when I'm having a bad day. I don't include stuffing my face with junk food as a good method of self care because sometimes that leaves me feeling even worse afterwards.
It became clear to me that I didn't really have anything specific that will guaruntee my mood to be lifted. For me, I think I have lots of different things, but whether it works depends on what has made me upset in the first place.
One of those things is having me-time in a quiet and scenic place. I decided that it had been too long since my last me-time session to I went out to a park that I have wanted to check out for a while now.
The park is called Faulkner 'Volcano' Park in Belmont. The first thing that drew my attention to this park is the giant volcano kid's playground. It's seriously massive and I wanted to climb up on it. The strange thing was that when I went there today....I couldn't find the giant volcano. I'm serious when I say that this thing is giant. You can see it pretty clearly on google maps without having to zoom in too much and from memory it can be seen from the main road parallel to the park.
I'm pretty certain that they did not move or knock down the volcano, so it must just be me. Anyways, the park is very large and I managed to find other parts of the park that were beautiful.
I just sat on a bench, read my book and listened to some music on my ipod. I didn't have enough time to spend hours sitting there, but for the good 40 minutes that I did, I felt so calm.
I like being around people, but I'm glad that I'm ok with being by myself too. For some people, alone time is very difficult, but I think it's definitely something everyone should be able to do. I find that when I'm alone and I'm doing something relaxing like listening to music, it's easier to silence the thoughts in my head when it's just mine rather than having to do that for other people's voices too.