Sometimes people make self-care sound complicated. Hard. Expensive. Sometimes self-care feels unattainable, like yet another thing to cram into an already packed schedule. Maybe we don’t have time to soak in the bath. We don’t have money for a massage. We don’t have extra brain power to read a book.
That’s why I love #BoringSelfCare. Sometimes what really helps our physical and mental health is the boring stuff that often just takes a couple minutes. And it can help even more to be proud of yourself for doing those boring little things. Give yourself a pat on the back. Celebrate the things you did to take care of yourself. You probably deserve some of these merit badges from @makedaisychains. I love the below visual by Hannah Daisy about the small things we can do to take care of ourselves on a daily basis.
Honestly, I first started to understand self-care when I was playing The Sims. Every version of the game has some set of Basic Needs bars at the bottom of the screen for your Sim. The exact assortment of bars varies, but that’s not really important, since the Basic Needs bars for you or your family member might vary, too.
In the game, it really does take some effort to keep your Sims happy in all these categories. Even #BoringSelfCare does take some effort. But, if I didn’t try to care for my Sims, they wound up crying, peeing on the floor of the house, surrounded by a cloud of presumably smelly dirt. So, I had to make meeting Basic Needs a priority in my game play.
And, sometimes while playing The Sims, I just had to get them to “Good Enough” regarding their basic needs so we could complete quests in other parts of the game. Things don’t have to be perfect all the time, in The Sims or in real life.
Whether I’m working with kids or adults (or myself) at some point I’ll probably ask about Basic Needs. If, in the moment, you or your child is struggling with anxiety or anger or impulsivity, it’s helpful to stop and check… Do I need something? Does my child need something?
Use a modified Sims list if that helps.
Am I hungry? I add to The Sims’ list here, am I thirsty? Hangry is a well-known condition often cured by purse granola bars. Hanxiety is just as real but less discussed. Adults and kids are much more likely to melt if we’re hungry or thirsty.
Do I need comfort? This is a consideration for individuals with sensory differences. Your kid is not the only one who threw a fit because of the tag in their underwear poking their skin. Also, for everyone regardless of sensory experience, sometimes we just need to take a minute to do something soothing or nurturing for ourselves. Or we may be in pain or experiencing a physical ailment, which is triggering emotional activation in addition to the physical.
Do I need to go to the bathroom? The Sims apparently only have one-bathroom function, but you can consider them all, including digestive struggles. Most adults don’t have to think about this one often as an emotional trigger. But I’ve worked with a lot of kids who had shorter tempers, higher distractibility, higher anxiety, and if they needed to use the bathroom, and for various reasons they couldn’t or didn’t ask to go. If the kiddo is having trouble now but was fine 10 minutes ago, this one is worth considering and asking them about.
How is my energy level? In The Sims, caffeine and sleep are interchangeable. This is NOT TRUE in real life!! Do you need to chill for a while? Take a short nap? Sometimes the best self-care is just going to bed. There’s a reason why bedtime is often such a hard time in families, since almost everyone is low on this bar. Sometimes it’s easier if we start the bedtime routine before anyone hits complete exhaustion.
Have I done anything fun lately? If not, that might things seem a lot better. Doesn’t have to be elaborate or long. Active play can also get your heart rate up a bit, which can especially help if you’ve been feeling depressed or unfocused.
Have I had any positive social contact lately? Loneliness is a big deal. But sometimes we get a bit numb to it, so it’s good to take a couple seconds to check in with ourselves. Talking, texting, hugs, just hanging out…. Do whichever is attainable for you.
Do I have any hygiene needs? Would it feel good to wash your face, use a baby wipe, take a quick shower, put on deodorant or something that smells good, comb your hair, or brush your teeth? One of those things might really help you or your family member’s mood.
Is the environment around me stressing me out? If so, maybe consider tidying for one minute, at least the area right around where you are spending time. It might help to get outside so the sun is on your skin, especially if you’ve been feeling depressed. Sometimes it’s great to turn on lots of lights to give you energy, open the blinds, maybe even open the windows. Changing up some small things can make a big difference for your mood.
Is there something else I need? Some of us have other things to check on. For example, taking your medicine, doing a task you’ve been avoiding that is stressing you out, doing your money chores, making and keeping appointments with healthcare providers, buying groceries, etc.. A lot of Adulting tasks count as #BoringSelfCare.
I know I mentioned a lot of possible things to do for #BoringSelfCare and Basic Needs. But really, just checking in with yourself about what you need or what your loved one might need is the starting point. Then giving yourself credit and kudos for doing even little things to meet your needs. Little, boring things totally count.
You’ve got this!