What is self care?
Self care is simply doing something that looks after you and makes you feel happy. It comes in many forms and will be different for everyone but it is always taking some time out for yourself, doing something you enjoy, allowing you to relax, recharge and be the best version of you. Self care is not indulgent or a luxury is a necessity.
“An empty tank will take you exactly nowhere – take time to refuel”-unknown.
Why do we need it?
For most people life is busy, constantly on the go with not much time to pause. Commitments such as work, family life, social life, appointments, errands (I could go on!) can leave us with very little time to ourselves and inevitably we put ourselves on the bottom of that never ending list of things to do! The problem with this is that going at this pace isn’t sustainable- eventually there is going to be a burnout or at the very least a lot of tiredness, lack of energy and maybe even a feeling of resentment i.e. we will not be the best version of ourselves – ideally we would be giving the best of ourselves not what’s left of ourselves and this is where self care comes in.
Isn’t it a bit…selfish?
If you’ve ever been on a plane you know the theory behind “Put your on oxygen mask on before helping others” – whilst we all know the important reason for this for many of us it can be hard to apply this in your way of life-because we feel guilty. We feel guilty putting ourselves first, we feel pressure to be everything to everyone and we don’t show the same care and attention to ourselves that we show to others- this is where we need a shift in mindset and remind ourselves why we have to put our own oxygen mask on first. Taking time to look after yourself is not a treat or reward, it needs to become a given- our health and mental well being needs to be a priority not something we view as indulging. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to this, it’s about overcoming that voice in your head that’s telling you that you shouldn’t be doing this or that you don’t deserve it because you absolutely do! It can be difficult to change your mindset overnight and undo habits that have formed over years so start small, take 10 mins a day to begin with and go from there- once you see the positive change it can make and the difference you feel from it will start to become a part of your daily routine.
Ways to practise self care
There’s no right or wrong way to practise self care, whatever you need to do to feel happy, relaxed and recharged is what’s right for you. It doesn’t need to cost anything, it doesn’t need to take hours out of your day sometimes even just 10 minutes to yourself can work wonders! If you’re struggling for what to do, here is some ideas of popular self care activities
- Light your favourite candle or wax melt
- Read a book
- Have a bath
- Eat drink or cook something you like
- Do some Yoga
- Spend time in nature
- Do nothing! Have a sit down, a rest, a nap, even if it’s just for 10 mins
- Say no if you need to (and don’t feel guilty about it)
- Have some pamper time
- Spend time doing your favourite hobby
- A weekly self care evening
During the first lockdown most of us were forced to slow down and our normal way of life was put on hold- when asked, the majority of people said they wouldn’t like to return to the pace of life they had before lockdown- it had highlighted just how busy modern life had become, however old habits slip back in very easily! Now we are in the second lockdown, it feels like we’re going backwards, people are weary and winter is setting in, making it harder this time around so now more than ever looking after ourselves, our health and our mental well being is so important.
If and when normal life resume I hope we don’t forget the joys we found in the little and simple things that we appreciated during the lockdowns. We really need to remember that it is OK to slow down sometimes, we don’t need to say yes to everything, we can take some to rest and not feel guilty and we can spend time on ourselves doing something that makes us happy because we are worthy of it and we deserve it!