Sunday 20 May 2018

Nerd Church - The Basics of Self-Care

(Warning: this post includes frank discussions of a variety of mental health problems, including references to suicidal thoughts, and self-harm.)

May is Mental Health Month in the US, and 14th-20th May is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK.

umbrella protecting the words 'take care of yourself' from the rain

You've probably heard, at some point in the course of your internetage, the phrase 'self-care.'

Hopefully, what you've heard has been positive. Unfortunately, you may have heard others mocking people who practice self-care, or calling it selfish.

Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is vital for everyone.

Just as everyone has both mental and physical health, though not necessarily mental or physical health *problems,* likewise everyone can (and should) practice self-care as a way of keeping yourself as happy and healthy as possible.

Disclaimer time: I am not a medical or mental health professional. I'm a blogger with personal experiences of mental health problems - OK? OK

dividing line

So, what is self-care?

Well, definitions vary. The only constant seems to be 'taking care of yourself' - which, y'know, duh.

But that, at its heart, is what it is. It's looking after yourself - no matter what that may entail.

As far as I'm concerned (and you can totally disagree - I don't mind!) the principles of self-care are these 2 simple points:

1. Stay alive.

2. Try to make your health and general wellbeing the highest level that is practical at this moment.

dividing line

Physical self-care

Physical self-care can be reactive - a response to a problem, for example:

  • staunching bleeding
  • cleaning wounds
  • applying bandages or plasters (band-aids to American folks)
  • phoning an ambulance in emergency situations
  • painkillers
  • physiotherapy for muscles, joints, etc.

But self-care also covers the everyday stuff, such as:

  • eating
  • staying hydrated
  • going to the toilet
  • keeping clean

dividing line

Mental Self-Care

This is even harder to define than physical self-care, but it starts with the same principles.

You need to stay alive - because yes, we need you in this world my dearest, dearest nerdlet! - and you need to be as well as you can be.

Mental health problems often put your physical health in jeopardy.

If you're finding it difficult to figure out what you need, try asking yourself these questions:

  1. Am I physically safe, right now, this moment? If not, fix this before anything else.
  2. Am I in immediate danger of hurting myself, right now (this includes addiction relapses)? If yes, remove yourself from the method you'd use, and get someone to talk to. Call them out from their room or phone them. I don't care what time of the day or night. GET HELP. If you feel you need it, phone an ambulance. NEVER be afraid to seek help - you are IMPORTANT.
  3. Am I feeling an extreme low or having suicidal thoughts? If this is an immediate danger, see the above point. If not, try to lift your mood - do something you enjoy, watch cat videos, WHATEVER you need! If you feel like you need to talk to someone, call a friend or family member, or a helpline. There's a link to a list of helplines at the end of this post.
  4. How much food do human beings need per day? Have I eaten this amount? If no, eat something. It doesn't have to be a lot, just eat one thing.
  5. Have I washed my face/brushed my teeth/put on clean clothes today? If no, try to do so. If you don't manage it, it's not a failure. And I am so SUPER proud of you for even thinking about it!

If you ever feel totally overwhelmed, just take things back to basics. Start with physical safety, and work onwards from there.

If you can't figure out the solutions - it can be so difficult to think sometimes my dearest nerdlets, I know - just think about it carefully and logically. Simplify and then move on logically.

dividing line

Self-care can also take forms which, to other people, might not seem to make much sense.

If you've been lucky enough in your life to not have to work at happiness and/or relaxation, then some of the things people do to achieve that may confuse you.

But - and this is important my nerdlets - DO NOT JUDGE other people.

Here are just some of the literally millions of little things that have saved my life:

  • my cats
  • my family and The Bestie
  • Oliver Queen
  • Judge Judy
  • cupcakes - or any cake, really
  • glitter
  • cat videos
  • crack fan videos
  • The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
  • blogging
  • watching butterflies
  • the sound of owls outside my window
  • my Ted Baker t-shirts
  • My Chemical Romance
  • Fall Out Boy
  • Green Day (especially the song 'Still Breathing')
  • reading - all types

None of these things have saved me on their own - but they all play a part, and most of them quite a big part - in keeping me going during the darkest times.

NEVER be ashamed of what YOU need.

You know what it is you need. As long as it's not hurting you or anyone else (and is like... legal,) then you have every right to it. YOU are important.

dividing line

Of course, we should also def. remember that physical health and mental health affect each other.

You are one person. One whole, beautiful, breathtakingly unique, person. You need to take care of both your mental and physical health - it's uber-important! 

dividing line

If you're struggling with ANYTHING emotionally or mentally my dear nerdlets, PLEASE get help.

There are also suicide prevention and/or mental health helplines you can use.

Do you have any self-care tips, my nerdlets? Talk to me! 💖💬

You can follow me on Twitter @CeeDoraReads, on Dora Reads @ BlogLovin, and on Google+. For more ways to support me, check out the Support Me page

Other posts like this:

Last updated: 20th July 2018


  1. I love this post, Cee! I think many people confuse self care with just being about pampering yourself with face masks and spa days. I liked how you mentioned the simple things that can make a difference in someone’s life, it doesn’t have to be over the top. I usually base my daily self care into how many glasses of water I’ve drunk during the day. That seems like the thing I forget the most especially if I’m wound up in other tasks and it does take a toll on me.

    1. Pampering and spa days have their place, ofc, but they're not the only thing. And they barely feature in my self-care at all - unless you count using moisturiser, which is actually vital for me because my skin dries out to the point where my skin cracks and I start bleeding!

      Drinking water is SO important! It's so easy to dehydrate, and our bodies use water for so many processes - we're 70% water, after all!

  2. I'd like to think that my mental well-being is a lot better than others, but I still definitely look out for those times when I know I'm not 100% okay. For me, the most effective self-care practice is airing out all my feelings--whether to my mother, or my closest friends, whenever I have negative feelings, I need to get them out to someone who will support me. ♥

    1. That's an awesome and emotionally mature/healthy thing to do! XD <3

  3. I love this post. Thank you for sharing it and saying these things- they just may help someone. Awesome awesome awesome.

  4. I appreciate the tone of your advice here as well as the extremely practical points. It's so sad that some folks prefer to mock rather than being supportive so I do hope people who need your words find this post before having to deal with immature negativity.

    1. Thank you - this is *such* a lovely comment :) Thank you so much!!!! XD <3

  5. I agree that often looking after yourself can be seen as selfish---we need to change our perspective on that!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  6. Self-care is something I really need to get better at. I'm the kind of person who can spend 10 hours working and not really get up once. Forget to eat and stuff. Not even talking about pleasant hobby time. Doesn't happen much xD meanwhile, mental self-care... Oh, I suck at that SO much.

    You have an amazing list though :)

    1. I've learnt the hard way that self-care is uber-important! Take care of yourself Evelina :) <3

  7. Great post! Self-care is so important and definitely not selfish in the slightest. We need to meet our own basic needs to be happy and well. On top of the things you mentioned, some of the things I like to do to 'recharge' are unplug from technology, read, write, take luxurious bubble baths, create art, watch 'feel good' movies, listen to music and surround myself with nature.

    1. So true! And I'm lucky in that I'm always surrounded by nature - I live in the countryside, next to a field and a wood! :)

  8. Such a great post! As I've grown up I've started to realise self-care is so important. I love being creative and doing creative things and keeping up with school and and and... it can be a lot xD But I try and remind myself that it's always okay to say no, to take a day to do what I want and JUST things I want to do and yoga really helps me with my peace of mind too. I like that judge judy is on your list and cats <3 Sometimes they are even better than people ;)

    1. Cats are awesome ;)

      Thanks so much Liv - totally agree, it's 100% OK to take a day or two to just recharge. Our brains need processing time, after all!


Comments? I love comments! Talk to me nerdlets!