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What do you do for self care?

A friend of mine is facing some difficulties in her life and has recently started seeing a therapist to help her sort through her thoughts and emotions and to help her deal with current and upcoming challenges she's facing. Her therapist asked her what she's doing in terms of self care and, after a bit of discussion, recommended journaling.

Other than spending as much time alone and in quiet as I can, I've never had a go-to activity for self care. In fact, until rather recently (over the last year or so) I'd never even heard anyone talk about self care in this way. What, if anything, do you do for self care?

By resserts8
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Play bass (badly) along with my favourite Pixies album. Indoor rock climbing and yoga, but may see if I can find some kickboxing/muay thai nearby instead. I miss punching stuff.

Yoga vs. Kickboxing — quite the dichotomy! Ha! Have you ever heard of "rage yoga"? I always thought it was nonsense, but you sound like you might be receptive to it. ? []

@PalacinkyPDX It's coming along. Here Comes Your Man still has me stumped.

@PalacinkyPDX, @resserts I see your Rage Yoga, and raise you... Black Metal Yoga!! \m/ \m/
Well, if you're going to join a cult, make it a trve kvlt.


I read and write a lot. But there are two types of journaling your friend or you might want to consider. I had a suicidal client who kept as many three journals. He is doing well now. But some research into journals was conducted and it was found that if you did it in the third person rather than first person the effects were better. For example. Suppose I broke my leg. In my journal I would write “I know a guy named Herb who broke his leg when he fell off his mountain bike. He had a lot of pain and the doctors reassured him that after 6 weeks the cast would be removed and he could start physio.” And every day would write from that perspective about the sensations they were experiencing. People who wrote in this way healed faster than those who did not journal.

I also find beauty in my life as much as possible. I learned that from my mother I think because her life was fairly traumatic but she lived a long time. She also had several hobbies like gardening, house plants, leather work, playing the piano, etc. She died just shy of her 101st b’day. Staying active.

So I have my camera at the ready. Yesterday there was a grey squirrel on a branch outside my window and I think I got a great photo. Hate squirrels in my house but love them in trees! Self-care means connecting with the planet as much as possible.

Oh and what Literatehiker said! Lol I do some of those! No. Mountains where I live though. Nice woods and water.

ToolGuy Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

That's really interesting about writing in the third person for journaling. I'll see if I can do some research on that and perhaps recommend that my friend try it (or ask her therapist about it, as I'm unsure whether it might be counterproductive for her purposes to distance herself from what she's writing in that way). But I'm extremely interested in how this works and to what situations it can be most effectively applied.

I do think that keeping active adds years to one's life and, even if not, we have a more fulfilling life regardless so there's no downside. It sounds like your mother really put her all into her life.

Oh, photography can be a lot of fun. I have friends who are photojournalists, and I have other friends who are hobbyists. They all seem to get a lot of satisfaction from photography.

I have a good-size woodland lot that I'm hoping to spend some time with this summer. It can get pretty muddy, though, so I need to wait until the drier part of the season to really wander around much. But I really do enjoy spending time in the woods (though it's a little loud where my lot is, not from wildlife but from the sounds of machinery and traffic that echoes through the trees).


Thanks for starting this thread; I've really enjoyed reading everyone's responses (and I've gotten some good ideas). I try to "be present" and not distracted by dumb shit. I try to be mindful and intentional. I try to breath deeply when I'm stressed and be aware that I'm stressed (which is half the battle for me).

The best self care I do is not beating myself up.

I can relate a little to trying to be present, though I fail pretty hard in that regard. I tend to feel rather disconnected from my surroundings and from myself in a lot of ways, resulting in a sense of sleepwalking through life. (I suspect, were I to speak to a psychologist, that they'd tell me I have some form of mild depersonalization-derealization thing going on.) I realize that's not quite what you're talking about, but it seems related to me. And, yes, I agree that it's great self care to not beat yourself up. It can be hard, but being too harsh with oneself doesn't often help matters.

@resserts Oh, I think ways of being/feeling disconnected are often connected. I do try to "check in with myself" to make sure I'm not wasting time thinking or worrying about dumb shit, especially things I cannot control. It's interesting, because I never thought "this" as "depersonalization" or "derealization," but I think those are useful terms. I have a sense of what depersaonlization might mean, but I'm not sure about derealization--would that be more "fantastical" kinds of thinking?

@orange_girl As I understand it — and this is definitely a neophyte comprehension at best — is that depersonalization is a sense of being somehow disconnected between mind and body and feeling like you're observing yourself from the outside (though, in my case, it often feels more like I'm observing myself from behind my eyes, but not exactly as the "driver" ), and derealization is a feeling that your surroundings aren't real (and, again, in my case it's a little different, sort of where I feel like I'm out of phase with space and time, ever so slightly, so it doesn't necessarily feel real but not exactly like fantasy). These feelings come and go for me, but not like a switch being flipped usually, just a gradual thing that makes me feel a bit displaced for a while, ebbing and flowing. I just looked up depersonalization-derealization disorder on the Mayo Clinic website and in the overview it says these feelings "may feel like you're living in a dream." To some mild extent, that's how it feels for me. From what I'm reading, it can be far more severe than I experience it (e.g., I don't actually question whether I exist or what's real in my environment, except on a more philosophical level).

Here's a much better explanation of the disorder than I'm able to describe: []

@resserts Thanks for the link. I’m definitely going to read more about this. I wish I had this information earlier today, because our entire system at worked crashed 30 minutes into my morning. It still hadn’t been fixed by 5 pm, so I had a lot of time to kill today!


I find the wonder and joy in life.

Surround myself with positive people.

Get good sleep.

Regular exercise and stretching.

Eat a healthy diet.

Avoid alcohol. Never smoked or drank soda pop. Drink lots of water.


Hiking is a transcendent, uplifting experience for me. I feel centered and happy high in the mountains.

Volunteering to help other people.

Forgive myself and others.

Laughter and conversation.

Play flute.

Ah, this sounds quite nice. A few people have a similar sort of wholistic approach to self care, which I think helps with overall life balance.


I dedicate time every day to hit the YMCA (gym). While there, in addition to sauna and shower, weights and the infrequent cardio work-out, I engage with and when in the mood (educate) theists. I should get back into performing with theater, band, and orchestra as those activities were very rewarding.

Ah, performance art sounds rather satisfying. How long have you been into those activities?

@resserts Started in HS continued through college then directly into community bands, choirs, theater and orchestras. After college I spent just over a decade enjoying those activities. When I moved into a different job/city I never got around to joining any group. I know I could again join community band, orchestra, choir but I haven't picked up the bassoon or sax in many years so I would have to spend a few months practising to regaining the needed muscles.


Extended reading always calms and centers me, as long as it is something I am mildly interested in. I also started getting audio books on audible and listening to them while walking 30-60 minutes a day (to be honest, once we were dumped in snow, I quit that--but the walking does help much more with anxiety, depression, and general positivity than I thought it would).

I also found a couple of extremely long "music for relaxation" video/songs on youtube. I found a couple that I've used over and over, and now I relax almost immediately upon starting them.

Healthy diet. Vitamins. Talking to people about things you enjoy.

Ah, yes, another wholistic approach to wellness. I think that's really good to address mental, physical, and emotional wellness.


It involves a vibrator. smile009.gif

No, seriously, I tried keeping a journal. Right just what I need, write down all the boring minutiae of my life. It did not work for me - I try and eat well, do long spa showers and try to think well of my self. I'm a loner by nature and doing something creative, wire weaving, working with beads either glass or natural stone.

Hey, whatever gives you those good vibrations, chica! ?

My friend's therapist recommended keeping a journal as an outlet for getting her thoughts and emotions out, but told her to not go back and re-read what she'd written. The goal for her is to use the journal as a catharsis, and returning to it later would have her reliving things that she's trying to let go of.

It sounds like you're doing some good things to keep yourself physically and emotionally fit. That's pretty awesome.

@resserts I always found it easier to go out to the river, or sit in the field with my garlic (when I had my 10 acres) and empty out the negative. Let the earth take it away and recycle it.

@silverotter11 I quite enjoy spending time outdoors… when it's not winter (so, that leaves me with about six weeks each year to enjoy nature). But I really do feel much more relaxed when I can just lie outside or wander through the woods and let the stresses of life melt away.


Talk to friends, exercise, reading. Going to karaoke once a week to sing.

Ah, yes, both good — mind and body!


I draw. I do it a lot less than I used to, but it's always been a great release for me. It's just very time intensive. Other than that, the most important thing I can do for my self-care is to spend time alone. Whether I'm watching Netflix, reading, singing during a long car ride, doing my nails, eating, etc. As long as I'm alone and can refuel my energy, I'll be fine.

Wenepai Level 6 Feb 11, 2019

I definitely agree with the alone-time. I need a fair amount of that to feel like I'm at all refreshed. What do you like to draw? Anything in particular, or anything that comes to mind? I used to draw a lot, but haven't had the motivation or inspiration lately.


I have a bubbly, scented bath, accompanied by a book and a large glass of good red.

Reading is great when I'm in the right frame of mind (and it's quiet enough to focus on what I'm reading), and an occasional glass of wine can be delightful (though I probably imbibe only once every couple of years). But it sounds like you have a go-to routine for relaxation. Very nice.


Not much these days. Too cold to do anything outdoors and I work everyday. I listen to music and run on my treadmill. That's about it. I love reading but with too much on my mind lately I can't concentrate on what I'm reading. I love crafting but just can't commit time to it either. I definitely need something though. I do see cooking and baking as something that helps me de-stress and unwind, keep those voices out of my head.

graceylou Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

I sympathize with not being able to spend time time outdoors, as it's miserable weather here, too. It sounds like you have a few things going on that you enjoy, though. Reading is something I like, but I often find my mind wandering even when I'm enjoying the book. I need to quiet my thoughts so I can focus on reading, I guess.

@Kattywampus69 I would for sure. Can’t stand heat.

@Kattywampus69 I was born on a tropical island. But I could never stand heat. Always made me sick.

@Kattywampus69 A true vampiress!!


Drink gin

Amisja Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

I don't drink (other than the exceedingly rare glass of wine with a meal), but I can see that actually being a way to unwind.

Beat me to it. Beer for me


Hot scented bath bombs, go to gym, binge watch a series, take pics of my feet & post them on fetlife? Not necessarily in that order.
I used to do art(paint, collage, draw, mess with images in programs), miss that a lot, too distracted, disorganized but am in fact forcing myself to work on something this week.
Burn incense, listen to music, try to find a "happy place" in my head.
I tend to wall myself off when in a super bad frame of mind but sometimes just calling someone and vowing to hear how they're doing and not discuss anything on my end helps a little.
All else fails I go to sleep.
Buy your friend the book "Hyperbole and a half" by Allie Brosh if she hasn't read it already. Everyone should read that one.

Qualia Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

Wait, are there people into feet on Fetlife? (Or should it instead be called "Feetlife"?) ?

Ah, it sounds like you have a lot of activities that help you unwind. I used to create art, too, and I bought a bunch of drawing and painting supplies a while ago but I just can't seem to get into the right frame of mind or creative spirit for that sort of art. (I do write a bit, which I find comes easier these days for some reason.) And, yeah, sleep is probably my most valued pastime, though it may not be quite the self-care activity I need (as I tend to sleep too much on the weekends, which may not be especially healthy).

Thanks for the recommendation on the book. I've heard of it, but I don't recall anything about it. I'll look it up.

@resserts I've got a shitload of supplies too and suffer hard from "blank canvas syndrome", thus I rely too much on imaging programs...
The book is awesome. She has a very unique perspective. There are bits & pieces of the book on the blog.

and yes apparently my feet have fans.... who knew. I love foot guys. LOL

@Qualia Yep, the blank canvas is kind of where I am. I used to have ideas about what I could draw, always lots of ideas swimming through my mind, but lately nothing seems all that interesting to me. I do spend time in Photoshop and Illustrator (or equivalent programs), but usually with a more utilitarian purpose (e.g., logo design, illustration for websites, a birthday card for someone).

I just listened to the author read her first chapter. It's extremely entertaining. I think I will buy it for my friend — and hope she lets me borrow it. ?

@resserts There's an audio verson???! Oh I look forward to a full report of both your impressions of the book.

If you come across a tip to combat blank canvas please do share. Sometimes I think i need to take a class or something just to paint myself in a corner so to speak.

@Qualia I don't know whether she's done a full audiobook version, but she read the first chapter for this presentation:

@Qualia I suspect taking a class would be helpful, as there would be some direction to get started on a project (even if not of one's own choosing). And then that may very likely spark other ideas and inspiration. If I find anything that seems to be motivating, I'll be sure to let you know.

@PalacinkyPDX OOOOOH!! smile015.gif!!!!!!!!
my girl and I had a custody battle over it when it arrived trying to read it at the same time.
That you gave it to yours really gets me in the feels!???? smile015.gif


At work Im constantly listening to podcasts that make me laugh and/or teach me something to meditate on and pass the time. I drink a lot of water and little else. I fast til the evening so I don't get that afternoon digestive crash. I get stoned when I get home from work, cook a nice meal, do 2 hours of yoga while watchin a show or twitch stream and once im in a final cross legged pose ill practice guitar or somethin. Music yoga n weed are essential for my self care. I usually do a couple hours of cleaning/house repair and laundry n dishes somewhere in there too. Making progress and finishing goals is another important part of self care so you feel accomplished n build momentum/self esteem.

Wurlitzer Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

Oh, it's interesting that you can do yoga while doing other things. I think I'd have difficulty dividing my attention like that. I do enjoy comedies and learning, and I agree that there's a great deal of satisfaction to be had from finishing a project or task.


Post on numerous internet venues.

I suppose that is something I do in small doses, too. A little online interaction can be entertaining and mentally/emotionally engaging.


I have tried journaling and you'd think it'd be helpful for a writer like myself, but frankly all I ever seem to do is grouse to myself about the same old things. There are fixed features of my life that I don't enjoy but can't do much about, and that list is only going to get longer as I age. Writing about it or otherwise fixating on it isn't an effective strategy.

I tried the old "write down 3 things you're grateful for every day" trick and that's okay but it's just as effective (for me anyway) to pause and reflect as it is to write it down. Besides, it quickly becomes a routine of "list 3 innocuous things that didn't sadden you today" and one can always come up with those. I doesn't help with the 500 pound gorillas that boink around in my mental closet. Things that I know that I can't un-know, that I've seen that I can't un-see, that I've experienced and can't un-experience. Things that have diminished me and being in the past, cannot be fixed.

So mostly I just focus on what's actionable and/or enjoyable in the moment and let the rest go. Thats my "self-care" in a nutshell. Also, I'm fortunate to have work that I enjoy and is almost a Zen practice for me (software development). I get lost in it regularly. If I didn't have a family I'd probably become some sort of symbiot with my computer, I suppose.

Not sure if it's self-care or self-destruction yet but recently I also started to see a personal trainer once a week and most days spend 30 minutes in the gym. The objective there is to stave off the alarming increase in my decrepitude, mainly balance and core strength issues. I despise it and have no time for it but have no choice in the matter unless my objective is slow suicide. This is one of the few places where the Bible has it right: "When you are old, you will stretch forth your hands, and others will lead you where you do not want to go".

mordant Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

I think that's a wise strategy, to focus on what's within your control and not worry so much about the past. And, yeah, exercise… I have a hate-hate relationship (not really, but I get where you're coming from).

"When you are old, you will stretch forth your hands, and others will lead you where you do not want to go".

yep, my wife's uncle was recently led into an old folks home. course he managed to stay in his own home until 100 but he'd rather still be there.

however i think that statement now applies to a large % of people everywhere who are being misled & lied to by the people they elected to represent them.


I have gotten good at self care. I journal, I meditate often twice a day. I do something for myself every day, something I enjoy that makes me feel better (aside from the journaling and meditation.) One of those is reading for pleasure. I also try to go to the gym as often as I can. I have been unemployed for a few months, and I have cleaned out my house. I have a bunch of eBay auctions going on right now, some are outrageously successful. But the decluttering is awesome. Yeah, the money helps. I stitch when I can. I've made 4 quilts in 5 months, and I have several smaller projects I work on from time to time. That and eating healthy is self care. I stopped eating sugar. I've lost over 30 pounds in the last 5 months. Part of what is being sold on eBay is the clothing that I shrank out of. My kitty girls are self care, they make me laugh and there is nothing so calming as a purring cat. I probably do other things, but the last thing I can think of is hot baths with Epsom Salts, Castor Oil, and organic baking soda, and sometimes other essential oils. I soak for at least 20 minutes. I have organic candles and soothing music on while I soak.

Ah, it sounds like you do self care right! That's very cool. Aside from being out of work, it sounds like you're doing quite well. I hope everything continues to go well for you and that you find a sustainable income reasonably soon (whether that means a job or self-employment or robbing a bank, whatever). ?

@resserts I am on hold now for a temp job, and at least while we're on hold they are paying us a stipend. So, better than nothing. I am also waiting for reference checks and final determination for a permanent job. If the temp job starts first I will go ahead with it and quit for the permanent job. If the permanent job doesn't materialize then I'm employed until June.

@HippieChick58 Ah, I guess it's good you have a plan, then. It may not be super stable — but then again, really, what is? I hope the permanent job works out.

@resserts Thanks!! Me too! It will actually be a step up, and I'm excited and really happy they even considered me.

Holy Moly Hippie Chick, at 61 you sure do have it all together! That is quite allot of accomplishments for 5 months. Very impressive. The quilts alone would have taken me 3 years.

@sweetcharlotte I made them a priority. Three of them (which are on my profile page) were made of the same fabrics, just different arrangements. I call them my sister quilts and one for each daughter for their birthdays. The oldest got hers first in December, the youngest got hers mid January. The middle daughter has to wait til mid March. The last quilt was for the granddaughter, a rainbow quilt for her new twin bed. She's two and learning her colors. No more quilts for a while now, I'm burnt out!

@HippieChick58 They are lovely quilts.

@sweetcharlotte Thank you!!


Correcting every aspect of my worldview to objective reality, to the extent such is possible.

skado Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

A noble pursuit, for sure. Do you find that to help your emotional state, or is it just something that's especially important to you?

Very much both. There are very powerful hidden benefits.


I believe self care begins with health. I try to eat a primarily healthy diet, vegan four days a week, I walk regularly, usually more than three miles a day, have creative outlets, and I try to have an active social life. I do also spend alone time, incorporating meditation and personal reflection. Oh, and gardening!

I agree with healthy living. This time of year I get very little exercise, but in better weather I like to go for walks. And I try to eat reasonably healthy most of the time. What kind of gardening do you enjoy? I attempt a vegetable garden (but last year it was basically a vegetative disaster, probably because it was such a dry spring and summer).

@resserts I have a vegetable garden...have posted many times in the Gardeners group here.


Hookers and tequila....

or, in reality, read, do yoga, meditate, hike, garden, paint, and cook/create some new dish

Ah, I'm seeing a lot of yoga in the responses. I've never gotten into it, but I know people who love it. I like reading when I can focus, hiking (or ramming around the woods), creating art (drawing and painting) when the mood strikes (though it has been a while since I was in the right frame of mind for that), and cooking simple dishes (as I tend to make a mess and I'll end up with a giant cleanup job if I have to involve too many bowls). ?


Aside from the Gym (I love OrangeTheory Fitness), outdoor hikes, I picked up the Banjo at age 40+. It is a great way to relax! I also get 1-2 massages a month. All to reduce my stress and take pleasure in life...

AlexRam Level 7 Feb 12, 2019

That all sounds pretty great. What made you pick up the banjo specifically?

@resserts I grew up in France, I had never heard country music or Bluegrass. When I first travelled across the US, I came across it and I associated it with true American Music. I love the sound of that instrument. I went to a few concerts and I was hooked. One Christmas, my wife who is a superb pianist gave me one and I started taking lessons. Hard instrument to learn but I love the challenge. I can play with my kids who are both music lovers and play multiple instruments.

@AlexRam Steve Martin the comedian,is quite the banjo player,I understand.[]


For almost 6 months now I've been going to bi-weekly community game nights at a local gaming shop. It gets me out of the house for adult interaction. Once a month I attend an open mic night. As a family we enjoy visiting the nature center, movies, and even home depot workshops.

soulless Level 7 Feb 12, 2019

Ah, yes, I sometimes forget that it can be nice to get out of the house sometimes, too. ? Game night sounds like fun.


once or twice a week i indulge in a good craft beer & or a single malt scotch.
can't do it too often b/c of my heart condition which i suppose is a mixed blessing.

Is your doctor okay with you drinking in moderation? If so, and you find it to be relaxing, might it even do your heart a bit of good overall?

@resserts , no my doc doesn't think i should have any alcohol at all. keeps reminding me how toxic it is.
i have atrial flutter & have been cardioconverted 8 times. the 9 th time just over a week ago didn't work.
i'm now waiting to see a cardiologist. meanwhile i'm on a blood pressure pill + eliquis (a blood thinner) which i refused to take until this latest episode.
my normal pulse at rest is 60 but now hi 70s to 90s but 1 drink too many could send it to 130.
fuck it. if i can't enjoy a good beer & single malt once in a while it's probably time for me to consider exiting.

@callmedubious Ah, I'm very sorry to hear that. I don't know a lot about heart disease, though artery blockage runs in my family. I hope the medication works and the cardiologist has encouraging news for you.


Not much smile003.gif


Nor I. I find some satisfaction and revitalization in volunteering, but my only current volunteerism outlet isn't consistent enough or something I can do on short notice to really be what I would consider effective self care. I'm thinking journaling might be a good idea, jotting down a page or so each evening, though it might not be as emotionally restorative as I'd like. It's worth a shot, though.

@Amisja I am one who enjoys cuddling and have participated in a few discussions here on that topic. Most seem to not recognize cuddling as a health activity and necessary for well being, but view it only as a means to romance and sex.

@jlynn37 No, hugs matter.

@Amisja Thanks!

@resserts I've done journals and written down dreams, but I'm not disciplined enough to keep doing it. I like to work in the garden; a frustrating love affair with dirt.

@AstralSmoke Haha! Yep, I grow a garden… full of weeds. ? But I learned that if I want to pretend I have any ability at all growing vegetables, I should plant kale. I felt like a superhero of healthy crops (because kale will thrive in pretty much any conditions). I couldn't get any goddamned carrots to grow, but I had kale until Xmas.

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