Do you spend your entire life trying to tick everything off on your endless to do list? Does that list ever actually get any shorter? Do you feel yourself in a state of constant stress and tension?
We con ourselves into thinking that ‘when the kids go back to school or university’ or ‘when we go away on that holiday’ or ‘when we retire’, we’ll get to relax and truly invest in ourselves.
If you’re the type of person who is practical and efficient, tending to ‘just get on with it’, chances are that you’ll probably have more expectations of you than others. You may even perceive yourself as needing less help and rest, because you’re so capable of taking care of everything yourself. When you believe that, more often others will assume the same and stop offering. Isn’t it ironic that the people who take on the most, and do more, are the least likely to be offered help (and the least likely to realise they need it)?
Quite literally weeks can slip by without having spent a single moment stopping to check in with your own needs. This constant heightened state of fight or flight increases tension and stress levels. Stress disrupts sleep, eating habits and eventually mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation interferes with the natural healing process of the body, and ultimately our immunity, making us prone to becoming unwell.
So when we do crash and burn, and we do!, How many of us then feel undeserving of rest and self care and focus on rushing back to that list of things to do before we’re ready?
Enough is enough. We need a self-care revolution!
Why is Self Care Important?
The simple truth is, if you don’t replenish your energies, then you will not be able to continue giving so well. You can’t give from an empty cup. Replenishing your own energy gives you the tools to resume caring for others and participating in society in the way you want.
Allowing yourself the time to just stop, guilt free, and be in the moment to observe what it is you need to rebalance and find contentment is critical. We must stop chasing away the chance to do that with the next ‘I must just...’
IT’S TIME TO RECOGNISE THAT YOU TRULY DESERVE TO RELAX AND UNWIND. STOP CHASING WHAT ISN’T SERVING YOU AND TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOU, GUILT-FREE.
How many of us struggle to accept that our own needs are equal to those of the people we care for?
Sometimes we decide ‘I’m going to do something just for me’ and good old guilt kicks in – Sneaky thoughts that we really should be working or playing with/educating the kids, nurturing our partner, calling that friend, visiting grandparents? Or even trying to improve the world?
Instead of seeing self-care as selfish, we need to realise that self-care is a critical part of being able to improve things not just for ourselves, but for everyone around us. If you can be calmer, happier and more confident, then why should we feel bad about helping ourselves be that?
What Defines Self-Care?
Self love and self care can be anything where you have actively chosen to take out time for yourself. You can do anything at all that fuels you, which relaxes you or restores you, but you must commit the time to actually doing it – without distraction. The good news is, it doesn’t even have to take a great deal of time.
Although spa weekends and yoga classes, massages and facials are amazing, you can sprinkle self care into every day even just for a few minutes at a time. For example, what about treating yourself to a sit down coffee rather than a take away and letting yourself stare out of the window at the sky? Or going to bed earlier so you can read that book for 20 minutes instead of blankly staring at the TV?
Taking a candlelit bath rather than a shower, or going for a walk and being along with your thoughts for a few minutes. For the record, half checking your phone and half watching TV whilst you lounge on the sofa is most definitely not mindful self-care! (instead it just confuses the brain into wondering whether it needs to be active or not).
How to Start Self Care
Start small… even 10 minutes that is absolutely all for you is achievable. Don’t let anyone interfere with that time. Switch the phone off and set that time aside when you know your day is at it’s quietest. Whether it’s baking, knitting, painting, stroking the cat, picking flowers or cloud gazing in the garden, own it and feel every moment of it. Joining clubs where you’re using health such as golf or rambling through nature will not only blow the cobwebs away, it will give you the mental break you need whilst improving your health.
Just imagine, a gourmet standard, premier made meal delivered straight to you. Heaven!
Add a Sprinkle of Luxury to Your Self Care
There are so many wonderful hotels that offer pamper weekends and luxury getaways
but if you can’t get away for a serious dose of reviving pleasure, then learn to ask for help. Especially if you’re a doer! You don’t need to feel guilty! If you like; you can offer an exchange where you offer help someone else, whilst taking the help you need to take time out. For example, offering to visit a friend’s elderly parents or pet sitting in rotation with friends or colleagues. Self care can be mutually beneficial!
Make it happen. Every day make a fresh commitment to look after you first, without the guilt. Once you get into the habit of recognising the symptoms of needing that time, and you start to enjoy the benefits of being YOU again, you’ll start to prioritise it. See it as maintenance in helping you to continue giving to others. A better happier you rebounds to everyone else in your life.
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