What is Self-Care?
Self-care is on an upward trend. There is almost no escaping it. Social media is teeming with hashtags and challenges, promoting the use of self-care. Don't get me wrong, I'm not degrading the sudden surge in self-care. In fact, I'm over the moon about it. It means that people are waking up to the fact that we need recharging. We need to give ourselves a break sometimes. And often, we will need to actively make time for this.
Why is Self-Care Important?
The sad thing about this recent push for self-care is that for many people, myself included, it has taken this massive social media push to get us to take our own mental health seriously. The fact that I often need to be reminded that "Self-care isn't selfish" says a lot about how my mind is wired.
Many of us are wired or have been trained to believe that if we aren't manically busy, we aren't doing well in life. If we don't have a to-do list that's the length of our forearms, we are lazy slobs. If we work weekends and have a free day during the week, this somehow doesn't count as a weekend and we must fill it with some kind of task or job. Fast forward a few weeks and we are bone-tired and running on fumes. We haven't had a weekend for months, and we are close to burning out.
When do you fit Self-Care in?
Self-care is about to change all of this! You can still fill your time with tasks and jobs, being ambitious isn't a sin. But being ambitious on an empty energy tank is unsustainable. Self-care is about building in little moments of time for yourself, to recharge your batteries and enable you to have that much more energy for the day ahead.
Some people might reserve Self-Care for a particular day in the week. #selfcaresunday comes to mind here. What a dreamy thought; a whole day dedicated to doing whatever makes you happy. Other people might dedicate a weekend or particular time of year to self-care. For example, going on a wellness retreat, or a spa weekend. These are both amazing ways to schedule in some well-needed me-time. But everyone is different, and not everyone (including myself) has the planning ability or money to ensure that this happens regularly.
The way that I like to build in self-care is to do one small thing a day. Whether it's five minutes meditating, half an hour doing a yoga video, having a relaxing bath at the end of a long day, or enjoying a meal without the distraction of technology. This is more manageable for me.
Very often my life is like a puzzle; fitting together multiple jobs and appointments, as well as social events. Therefore, if I were to schedule in one day a week or one weekend a month for self-care, it is very likely that this would get pushed back or overlooked.
For this reason, I decided that I needed to hold myself accountable [to myself] for making sure that I do something each day that is just for me. Herein lies the beauty of Instagram - a photo diary of my self-care journey!
What do you do for Self-Care?
Not only is self-care scheduled in differently for different people, it is also comprised of different activities. Some people might find meditation frustrating and tiresome, these people might prefer to go to the gym, or a trampolining class, or enjoy a round of karaoke with friends! Some people might get immense joy out of painting, while others might find writing works better for them. For some, making the bed and opening the curtains in the morning is enough to set them up for the day.
For those battling with depression, self-care might comprise of showering regularly, eating regularly, and taking prescribed medications. For some, making and keeping medical appointments is the highest form of self-care. For others, leaving the house once a day is enough to charge their
Whatever puts a smile on your face and warms your heart [or even sets you in that direction], counts as self-care. Experiment with what works best for you. No one is going to tell you that you are doing it wrong. It is not a test, there is not a prescribed formula, you cannot fail. If you miss a day, start again tomorrow. If you miss a week, or a year, or a decade, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and begin again. There is no wrong way of doing this.
If you are looking for some inspiration, try reading 'The Self-Care Project' by Jayne Harding or searching through the selfcareproject hashtag on social media.
If you would like to book an initial counselling session with me, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org