What Is Self Care?
If you use the internet, and you are reading this so presumably you do, you read magazines or use any form of social media these days then no doubt you’ve seen the term ‘self care’ bandied about. There is a dizzying array of information out there about self care. With much of it leading you to think that self care is simply about scheduling regular spa days into your busy lifestyle.
And let’s face it, there is nothing wrong with that. The idea of regular spa days is wonderfully appealing, who doesn’t love the idea of indulging in a relaxing massage or facial?
BUT, as great as this idea is, self care is about so much more than booking ongoing appointments for regular bodywork.
So, What Exactly IS Self Care If It’s Not About Massages And Facials?
Wikipedia describes self care as ‘the maintenance of one’s personal wellbeing and health’. And right now, everyone it seems from Tony Robbins to Oprah is publishing information on self care and how to do it best.
As this website is all about alternative health and taking charge of your own healing from chronic illness, it seems timely to publish a post about this ‘on trend’ subject and list self care ideas and products that can help you manage your illness.
Surely, there is no more obvious group of people in need of practising self care than those suffering from a chronic illness. Particularly an illness like chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating illness for which standard medicine has no answers other than prescription pain meds, anti depression meds and sleeping pills.
And of course, many of these standard medication ‘solutions’ come with their own side effects potentially making you temporarily better, but worse in the long term.
Again referring to Wikipedia, they state that ‘in modern medicine preventative medicine aligns most closely with self care’. If you currently have chronic fatigue syndrome or another debilitating chronic illness it may be a little late to start on the preventative side of things, however it is never too late to start reversing some of the actions, beliefs and habits that may have lead you to your current health situation which at the very least will hopefully prevent your condition worsening in the future.
Your Current Situation
If you are reading this, there is a chance you have chronic fatigue syndrome or another form of debilitating chronic illness. You have already done the rounds of doctors and specialists and have your diagnosis. But no doubt you are disheartened to discover these medical professionals can’t do anything to cure you.
At this point, if you truly want to get well, your mindset has to switch to one of taking care of yourself rather than leaving your health in the hands of standard medicine and hoping for a miracle cure. This is ‘self care’ in a nutshell.
If you are a regular visitor to this website hopefully by now, you have started to reach out to a naturopath or functional medicine professional who can help discover the root cause(s) of your illness and get you on the right road to recovery.
In the meantime as you slowly start your journey back to health, understanding how to deal with your illness on a daily basis by conserving your personal energy using pacing and practising self care can help greatly in gaining much needed relief from your symptoms.
Keep reading for some cool self care ideas and products that can help you:
Conserve Your Limited Energy.
Help You Stay Comfortable When Your Symptoms Flair.
Provide Some Much Needed Pampering.
Personal Energy Conserving Products
Practising pacing and conserving your meager energy reserves are key to managing your chronic illness. Stay within your personal energy envelope by using some of these useful gadgets. Preserving your energy is the first step in preventing a worsening of your symptoms and avoiding flair days.
Any gadgets you can use to help in this quest for personal energy conservation definitely fall into the ‘essentials’ category rather than the ‘indulgence’ category.
It can be completely draining just carrying out everyday tasks and getting around and anything that helps with this is a definite must have.
Bizond Portable Lightweight Steamer
If just the thought of standing ironing a pile of laundry makes you feel exhausted this portable handheld clothing steamer is just the gadget for you. Much easier than ironing, this steamer removes the wrinkles from clothing quickly and easily.
It is lightweight and comfortable to use, heating up in only 25 seconds and requiring minimal effort to use. You can work the steamer at any angle, so using it while sitting down is a breeze. Unlike using a conventional iron and ironing board there’s no need to use energy constantly move your clothing item around as you iron it Instead, just leave it on a hanger and run the steamer over it.
This steamer is so quick to use, steam only the clothing items you need to wear here and now and save your energy for other tasks. You’ll be dressed presentably and ready for your day in no time flat while your energy remains intact.
Looffy 3 in 1 Hair Dryer Brush
On low energy days it is just too much effort to blow dry your hair. Holding both arms above shoulder level can take so much effort and it definitely saps your energy. If you can’t afford visits to the salon a couple of times a week to keep your hair in perfect order this Looffy 3 in 1 hair dryer brush could be the solution to keeping your hair great looking without expending too much energy.
And it’s absolutely true that everyone feels better when their hair looks good, even those of us without a chronic illness.
Instead of holding a brush in one hand and a dryer in the other, you can make your hair look good using just one hand. Half the energy usage and your hair will still look styled. This 3 in 1 hair styler dries, smooths and styles your hair in one step with way less effort and expended energy on your part.
The handy one step hair dryer and styler has nylon pin and tufted bristles that make detangling your hair easy while still providing enough grip to your hair for styling. With 3 heat settings and an ergonomically designed handle this styler provides maximum comfort while using it. Say goodbye to bad hair days with this cool styling product and dryer in one.
Drive Medical Euro Nitro Rollator
If getting out and about is important to you, but your energy is low a rollator with a seat can help you stay mobile. And this lightweight rollator is easy to maneuver and use. The one handed folding action means it is also easy to fold up and take with you either in your car or on public transport.
A trip to the mall becomes easier as you use less energy by leaning on the rollator as you walk. And if you are practising pacing you can sit down on the rollator for a few minutes to rest before carrying on with your journey thus keeping your energy intact. Read my review of this sporty looking rollator to check out if it’s the right one for you.
Nutrichef Auto Hot Water Dispenser
When you suffer from a chronic illness, pain can be a constant companion, making it difficult to carry out many normal daily tasks. Lifting a heavy kettle can be energy sapping and painful. However, using this Nutrichef Auto Hot Water Dispenser will make life easier. With just the touch of a button you’ll have your favorite hot drinks and herbal teas instantly available.
You can even set it up in the bedroom on days when you need to stay in bed. Or in the lounge room if you are having a day on the sofa. Wherever you are spending your day, you’ll be able to make your hot drinks easily and conveniently.
The Nutrichef Auto Hot Water Dispenser has a quick heat function meaning your drinks will be ready in a flash with minimal effort. No tedious standing around waiting for that kettle to boil.
Another cool feature is an adjustable temperature control allowing you to make your drinks exactly how you like them every time. Herbal teas and hot chocolate are ready in a flash.
Comfort For Flair Days
We all have days when unfortunately we overdo it. It may be that you are still getting the hang of pacing. Or it can be that you know you’ve been pushing too hard, but life gets in the way and circumstances mean you just haven’t been able to rest as you should. And now, you find yourself flat on your back in bed or on the sofa for some enforced rest until your energy returns.
On days like this, there is nothing for it but to rest up in comfort while your body regains its strength and your batteries are recharged with enough juice to get you up and about again. What you need now is rest and comfort.
Serta Heated Electric Honeycomb Faux Fur Throw
If a couple of days on the sofa are in order to recover your energy, settle in with some books and Netflix and get comfortable with this faux fur heated throw. This throw rug is fully reversible so you can use it showing the smooth soft plush side too. Manufactured from super soft polyester yarn this heated throw is also conveniently machine washable.
When your symptoms flair resulting in multiple body aches and pains this heated throw will help provide soothing comfort. The easy to use controller has 5 heat settings enabling you to find just the right temperature to keep you comfortably warm and soothe your pain.
This plush throw rug measures a generous 50″ x 60″ making it perfect to use on the sofa, in your recliner chair or on your bed.
Simply placing it around your shoulders will allow the heat to soothe the pain from tight neck, shoulders and upper back. But, wherever you use it you’ll benefit from the soothing comfort and plush warmth this heated throw rug provides.
Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Bed Sheet Set
If you need to spend a lot of time in bed during a flair, practise some self care and invest in these ultra soft and comfortable bed sheets. The idea of having natural cotton sheets is cool, but cotton can be a bit scratchy and rough unless you pay a lot of money for the finest Egyptian cotton.
And if you are buying the cheaper cotton sheets you’ll have to wash them many times before they soften up to be comfortable enough to use, particularly if one of your symptoms is painful tender skin. Not to mention all that energy spent on ironing the creases out of them. Cotton sheets can be wonderful, but even the more expensive ones still need to be ironed.
These Mellanni sheets are made from brushed microfiber polyester and are wrinkle resistant and easy care. Fully machine washable and they dry quickly in a tumble dryer.
The microfiber yarns make the feel of the sheets super soft and luxuriously smooth feeling. So if you suffer any form of pain, you’ll find these sheets ultra comfortable.
An added bonus is the Mellanni sheet sets come in a huge range of plain colors and patterns too so you are bound to find just the right color to suit your bedroom decor.
This sheet set is such a reasonable price you can afford to buy a few sets. Anyone who has to spend a lot of time in bed with chronic illness knows how great it feels to have a fresh set of soft, comfortable bed sheets on hand for a quick change.
Great Useful Stuff Eco Bamboo Multi-Device Charging Station Dock & Organizer
If you are recovering from a crash whether you are on the sofa or in bed you may still need to keep in touch with friends and family while you rest. Keeping all of your devices neatly organized, charged and close at hand can be tricky.
All those cables and adapters lying all over the place can end up in a big tangled and frustrating mess. This charging station, dock and organizer means lost chargers and tangled cables are a thing of the past. No need to use your precious energy searching for the right cables and adaptors. This gadgets keeps everything in one handy place.
It keeps all cables neatly out of view while your devices charge and the design of the stand keeps all of your devices neatly organised too. This multi use organizer is designed with slots suitable for a variety of devices, laptops, tablets, Kindle and phones.
Manufactured from Eco Friendly Bamboo, this gadget works well, and looks good in all types of interiors. Easy to move and lightweight, you can easily lift this organizer to whichever convenient location you need while you recover. You can keep it on a kitchen bench, or move it into the lounge room or at your bedside when you are resting.
If pain is one of your symptoms, no doubt during a flair it gets worse. Taking drugs to manage your pain is probably off the list if you are trying to handle your chronic illness naturally.
Penetrex anti inflammatory cream is a natural product using the power of plants and natural substances to reduce pain and inflammation. I found this cream fantastic for reducing the pain symptoms of my chronic fatigue syndrome. Check out my review.
The great thing about Penetrex besides it being a natural product is that it doesn’t just mask the pain by artificially providing a cooling or warming effect as some other natural pain relieving creams do. It works to reduce the inflammation that is causing your pain. I found it extremely beneficial for the pain from tight muscles in my shoulders and upper back during the time I had chronic fatigue syndrome.
Penetrex can provide relief from various types of pain whether you feel it in your nerves, ligaments, tendons or muscles. As well as this cream formulation Penetrex is also available in a handy roll on version that is easy to carry with you on the go. It comes in a container similar to a roll on deodorant size and the Penetrex solution is easy to apply to painful areas without the need to rub it into your skin.
Pampering Products That Just Make You Feel Good
Anyone with a chronic illness probably needs more pampering than a completely healthy person. Dealing with any type of chronic illness each and every day is draining. And sometimes using up all of your available energy trying to simply carry out daily tasks can leave you feeling a little less than human.
As well as the rejuvenating qualities that pampering bestows, a bit of pampering self care helps take your mind off your illness, for a little while at least as you relax and indulge your senses.
If you have the means, getting a regular massage or facial is probably one of the most relaxing pampers you can indulge in. Even having a family member or friend gently massage your feet for a few minutes can help switch your mind off for a little while.
However, if funds are tight and don’t run to a weekly massage session you can easily create a pampering day at home using a range of natural products that support your skin and body without introducing any harsh and nasty chemicals that might cause your symptoms to flare.
Using natural products is important as your body is already struggling, and adding a toxic load of chemicals which your body then has to use energy to process can be detrimental.
Natural Beeswax Tea Lights
As a first step, set the scene for your self care pampering day by lighting a few tea lights and placing them around your room. Even if it is still daylight the gentle flickering candlelight will help start the relaxation process. Make sure you choose tea lights that are natural and don’t contain any nasty chemicals.
Beeswax candles are smokeless and unlike paraffin candles made from petroleum, beeswax has no chemical additives. Burning beeswax candles are cleaner meaning you won’t be left with any black soot on the walls next to where you burn your beeswax candles. Even worse just think where else that black soot ends up for example, up your nose and into your lungs.
Natural beeswax tea lights have no harmful fragrances and will not release any toxic chemicals into the air. They burn with a very soft natural scent. Some people with chronic illnesses can be sensitive to artificial fragrances but will be able to tolerate these smoke free beeswax candles OK.
Negative ions are released into the environment from beeswax candles which help get rid of any contaminants in the air like dust or pollen.
These Natural Beeswax candles already come in their own clear cup holder, but placing them in colored glass holders can enhance their soft flickering light effect and add to the relaxing ambience of your room. And because they are smokeless you won’t find any soot on your glass candle holders either.
Belle & Beau Luxe All Natural Hemp Lavender Bath Bombs
Made using all natural ingredients and loaded with organic hemp seed oil, lavender oil, and moisturizing shea butter relaxing in a bath with one of these bombs will get your self care pamper off to a great start.
Relaxing in a warm bath during cooler weather helps alleviate any tight and sore muscles, and nothing feels quite as self indulgent as soaking in a fragrant bath. Play some soothing music to increase the tranquil mood in your bathroom while you enjoy the flickering gentle light of the candles.
Lavender is a beautifully relaxing scent known to have several beneficial effects not least its ability to calm anxiety.
Hemp seed oil, lavender essential oil and shea butter combine to soothe and moisturize your skin while you soak in the delicate lavender scent relaxing in the knowledge these bombs are free from harsh chemicals, fillers and artificial perfumes.
Divine Woman Miracle Oil Serum
While you relax in your bath surrounded by flickering candle light, slather some of this beautifully rich and moisturizing Divine Woman serum over your face and neck.
Chock full of potent anti ageing Vitamin E, Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Certified Organic Oils from chia and sea buckthorn, Divine Woman say this serum helps prevent premature ageing and accelerates skin repair naturally.
The ingredients used in this Divine Woman serum include:
Sea Buckthorn Oil – A botanical oil rich in multivitamins and carotenoids known for reducing inflammation and redness and its ability to penetrate into the deeper skin layers.
Vitamin E – Its antioxidant qualities neutralize free radicals helping prevent damage to collagen, fine lines and wrinkles.
Squalene – Coming from olives, it is similar to natural skin sebum and creates a barrier between the skin and the environment.
Chia Seed Oil – A rich source of Omega 3 helps reduce inflammation and sensitivities.
As well as containing certified organic ingredients, this 100% natural serum is also EWG Verified so you can be sure you are not using any potentially dangerous chemicals on your face while you benefit from the natural moisturizing and healing qualities of the oils.
Sea Kind Body Lotion – Ocean Breeze Scent
Finish off your pampering with a delicious slather of natural moisturizing body lotion from this Sea Kind body lotion while inhaling the light and refreshing natural Ocean Breeze scent.
Sea Kind Hydrate Body Lotion is not only deeply hydrating but also provides nutrition for your skin. Containing Marine Actives this 100% natural moisturizing lotion uses four sustainable sea plants to provide excellent hydration to your skin.
Essential fatty acids, anti oxidants and over a dozen active vitamin elements nourish the skin. Alginic acid moisturizes the skin by providing a natural barrier.
This gentle body lotion also has the EWG Verified mark for healthy ingredients so you know you are taking the best care of your skin without using any nasty ingredients.
Putting It All Together
So there you have it………..the list – self care ideas, 3 essential ways you can support yourself by practising self care, some ideas for products to help you achieve it as well as the reasons why you need them.
Support yourself with self care :
1. By knowing your limits and conserving your energy as much as possible.
2. By resting and allowing yourself to feel comfort when you experience a flair of your symptoms.
3. By indulging in some regular pampering sessions for your body to help take your mind off your illness.
I hope this article has given you some ideas for your healing journey with self care. Please feel free to leave a comment below and share with others some of the ways you use self care to manage both your symptoms and your illness.