As an able bodied person I take a lot of things for granted. I get out of bed in the morning without thinking, make breakfast, get my son ready for nursery, get dressed, brush my teeth etc. I work from home, so flit between my studio and childcare as well as housework almost seemlessly – things come naturally. When I’m ill, like I have been recently, it’s a different story and tasks are a lot harder to acheive, but I get better and things return to normal. But what if I felt like that everyday? What if everyday had to be a constant challenge?
Facing the daily to-do list of run-of-the-mill tasks like making the bed, washing the dishes, and doing the laundry can feel overwhelming when you live with a disability or mental health issue. Simple tasks can feel especially onerous – but those small acts of self-care can also bring us more comfort and improve our wellbeing.
I discovered the Instagram feed of Hannah Daisy today – an occupational therapist and survivor of mental illness and endometriosis who knows what it’s like to struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I’m an endometriosis survivor too, so I can relate. She created the “#BoringSelfCare” illustration series which aims to celebrate the small victories of accomplishing daily acts of self-care. It’s beautifully simple and a great way of giving yourself a little, if only digital, pat on the back. The illustrations resemble DIY badges honouring achievements that require dedication, energy and resilience, even if they aren’t traditionally valued as such. One commemorates cooking and eating a nourishing meal, another changing the sheets or going outside. Such undertakings can seem simple, but for those dealing with disability, depression, anxiety or fatigue, they can be revolutionary.
As an occupational therapist, Daisy helps people grappling with illness, disability or neurodiversity to accomplish daily tasks, sometimes helping them to readjust to former habits after a physical or mental transformation, other times helping them find completely new approaches and tactics.
“I started noticing that online, self-care was talked about in a very different way, often only about nice lovely things you can do for yourself, like a bubble bath, a massage, buying nice crystals, etc. In my profession, we talk about self-care involving a much wider range of ‘occupations’ or things you have to do every day. For example, doing the dishes, washing, dressing, housework and laundry,” Daisy says. “I started to draw these tasks and call them ‘#boringselfcare’ and share them on Instagram. I was amazed at the amount of people who could relate.”
She believes it’s important to celebrate these small acts of self-care – like going outside and getting some fresh air, going grocery shopping, and cooking and eating a nourishing meal. It’s worth celebrating the times you rise to the challenge and succeed despite everything you’re up against — it really is.
Daisy’s Instagram account can be found here @makedaisychains