I have been thinking a lot about self-care over the last few months and what this really means, and wanted to share some of it with you.
There are numerous podcasts out there talking about and offering wellness and self-care advice, which is GREAT! We need more of this in our lives.
However, this got me to thinking, what is behind it all. We know that going to bed early, eating well and taking time out for ourselves is beneficial to our wellbeing. So why is it so hard to do?
I think there can be MANY reasons, but some that I have identified in my research and I feel most connected to are
feeling that we are not enough
learned behaviour from family
when I stop my mind becomes too busy with worry or to do list
not able to say no or set clear boundaries
being a people pleaser
The last two I believe are linked to a lack of self-worth or not enough-ness.
It can feel seriously overwhelming to go from 0 to 100 by setting our self the mammoth task of having better self-care everyday, and being perfect at it. To make matters worse if we don't do it one day it can feel like we have failed in some way, even though we know that failure is not a bad thing, as we learn so much from our failings (will save this for another email!).
So, what if we start with the small and easily manageable things?
An example of this was when I first started a home yoga practice I thought I had to practice for 90 minutes a day to be a '"good yogi", and as you can imagine life quickly got in the way, and I began to dislike doing my practice as it felt rushed, and I just didn't have time. In fact if I didn't have time I'd not practice at all as this was not enough, I'd then spend the entire day berating myself for it. I got extremely disheartened for not practicing ENOUGH. Until one day I made the decision that I would go to my mat everyday, and I would be there for as long as I wanted to be there, no judgement. I would practice enjoying and taking pleasure from my yoga practice - however brief it was. Soon after that I noticed a huge change, I was enjoying my practice again, and I was practicing everyday. Even the days I had less time, I would just jump on my mat and move for as long as I could, and felt good.
Why? I think it was down to the fact that there was no expectation. I was doing this for my love of yoga, and even more important for my love of me. It felt good to move my body, but it didn't feel good to move my body when I was just going through the motions because I felt I had to in order to meet some expectation.
This is the same for our self-care routine/ritual, if we are just doing these things because we feel we need to then there will always be an element of resistance with it. The way we treat ourself needs to come from a place of love, and an idea of pleasure or enjoyment, not from the "should" in our heads.
Whatever your self-care routine is or isn't right now try starting from where you are at, make a conscious decision to do the things that make you feel utterly wonderful. Be realistic too, and don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself only to feel like you have failed.
Most importantly, however, you deserve to feel good, in fact you deserve to feel absolutely amazing! Your self-care is not about meeting a quota, or achieving a goal it's about a way of life. It's about knowing that you deserve to have an early night, or that you don't have to stay late at work every evening, help your friend when you're tired, tidy the bathroom (insert your favourite here) to prove you are good enough, and worth taking care of.
We know that when we are feeling good and our cup is full, we are the best version of ourself. We can love 💗 and connect our friends and family, enjoy our time off by creating lasting memories and truly be present.
Take a moment now to think about what your self-care means to you and what will bring you the most joy, then do it! But remember, if you miss a day, week or longer, be kind to yourself, and start right where you are.