When you hear the term ‘self-care’, what do you think of? Bubble baths and face packs? These things can certainly be a form of self-care but meaningful self-care is so much more.
Who is self-care for?
You. Me. Everyone. There are no pre-requisites to qualify for being worthy or deserving of self-care. Being a person can be hard, and couldn’t we all do with a little extra love, support and care sometimes?
When is the right time for self-care?
Right now. Today. We might only think of putting self-care in place when things are going a bit wonky in our lives. We might be low, stressed out, or in the depths of despair.
Often self-care is suggested by someone else, because we don’t even think of looking after ourselves when we feel crappy and unworthy.
But what if we built a little self-care into our days, every day? Imagine how much better we might feel by developing some new, nurturing habits like giving our bodies an extra glass of water, taking a screen break and stepping outside for 15 minutes each day or learning how to say no to people who make constant demands on our time or energy?
When I work with counselling clients, I will often ask, particularly at the end of a very heavy session…
“…what are you going to do after our session today to take care of yourself?”
I have noticed that the clients who really buy into self-care and try to put good things in place to support themselves are often more able to weather the emotionally-challenging stuff that is coming up for them in counselling
It doesn’t have to be perfect
Getting into the swing of good self-care can take some practice. There will still be days when you are not very kind to yourself or you forget to drink water.
That is ok, another really important part of self-care is self-compassion: learning to forgive yourself for not getting everything right all the time.
Being imperfect is just a part of being human. So, if your self-care wasn’t too good today, you can try again tomorrow.
Good self-care can look like…
Setting healthy boundaries in our relationships with partners, family, friends, work colleagues
Looking after our bodies – showering, drinking enough water, nutrition, exercise, sleep, fresh air, sunshine, putting on fresh clothes
Activities that uplift us – music, singing, dance, a film, a book, a comedy show
Practices that nourish our soul – meditation, prayer, relaxation
Pampering – a long soak in the bath, a massage, doing your nails
Rest – sleep, relax, recharge your batteries: tune in to what your body is asking for and respond without feeling guilty
Learning to say ‘no’ – you’ve heard the phrase ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’? Well, it’s true, and what is more, we would all be happier if we stopped trying to!
Connect with others – sometimes it is good self-care to surround ourselves with supportive people or to reach out to a trusted friend or family member
Take a social media break – whilst connection with others can be a great tonic, social media can be a source of tension. Taking a break from social media can be a brilliantly cleansing, self-care move: to pause, reflect and reassess
Forgiving yourself for being human – self-compassion. Nobody is perfect and that is just fine. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to someone who you really love
So, my question to you:
“…what are you going to do to take care of yourself today?”
Give it some thought, jot down a few ideas, make a plan and then begin. You are so very worth it!