“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not selfish, caring for myself is an act of survival”
– Audre Lorde
There are so many unhelpful stigmas attached to self-care. So many attachments of guilt.
So many beliefs that self-care is selfish.
That I don’t deserve it.
Or I only deserve a ‘treat’ when I’ve worked hard enough.
Women in particular are phenomenal multi-taskers, which mean we can often be ‘all things to all people’. We struggle to say no and frequently put everyone else’s needs at the expense of our own.
Self care put simply is: the actions we take for ourselves to develop protect, maintain and improve our health or wellbeing without the need of medical intervention.
I like to think of self-care in these terms – when we travel on an airplane, during the safety demonstration we are always told to put our breathing mask on first before aiding anyone else, even a child. Self care feels similar to me. How can we live, create, work, parent, or function to the best of our ability if we do not take care of ourselves properly first?
We need self-care.
Self-care is vital for self-preservation, eliminating burn-out and looking after our mental well-being.
Better understanding what self-care actually is and being able to incorporate self-care into your routine on a daily basis takes a mindset change, but it is absolutely vital to maintaining good health, and building resilience. So let’s start today!
Enjoy these 5 simple tips to incorporating self-care, that you can easily implement!
Preserve your energy. Learning to say no, is one of the most powerful things you can do to protect your self-care. We regularly overextend and burn ourselves out as a result of saying yes to things we should be saying no to. We find it difficult to say no and end up being all things to all people. Fearful that we might be seen as being unhelpful, or selfish. Saying no does not mean you are being cruel, it means you are prioritising your self-care. We teach others how to treat us by our own behaviour. When we de-prioritise ourselves it teaches others whether we are worthy of care… or not. Set your boundaries, start learning to say no and enjoy the freedom it brings!
Feel Good Folder
Create a feel good folder, on your computer or in hard copy! When was the last time you asked friends, family, peers or colleagues to tell you something they love about you? How you’ve positively impacted their life or business? Do it. It is an instant self-esteem booster – dopamine galore! It’s also a great idea to store these for when you are having a day where you are feeling flat or spent, these will serve as a welcomed pick me up.
Be of Service
Doing things for others doesn’t just give the receiver a boost, but gives a positive boost to our own well-being too. It doesn’t need to cost money, you could donate your time to services like Be My Eyes/. Give to others, volunteer, help someone in your family or friendship circles, just because.
We’ve become so accustomed to being “switched on” that we have forgotten how to switch off. Literally.
Discover Mindfulness – it allows us to be present. To pay attention to the present moment, on purpose. To be aware of our thoughts and feelings so we are better able to manage them. Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress & anxiety and increase productivity, focus and creativity to name a few things. Give your mind attention (and a well deserved rest from worrying about what’s next) just 10 minutes a day by practicing mindfulness. If time is a concern – you can easily incorporate mindfulness into activities you do in your every day, like going for a walk or making a cup of tea. Here’s a few basic steps so you can have a go.
Making a mindful cup of tea:
LISTEN – pay attention to the sounds of the water heating, boiling, gurgling. Just be still for a moment to sounds I bet you have never heard from your kettle before!
NOTICE your environment, how your feet feel as they touch the floor, how your clothes feel on your body, the weight of your body, are there any areas of tension/ lightness.
POUR your tea and pay attention to the sounds of the water hitting the cup. SEE the different colours as the water hits the teabag and starts to brew. NOTICE how the weight of the kettle feels in your hand.
LIFT the teabag out of the cup, notice sounds and sensations, notice any tendencies to do this on autopilot, pay attention to the colours, texture, smells or sounds as you do this. If your mind starts to wander, bring it back to focusing on making your mindful cup of tea.
PAY ATTENTION if you have a sweet tooth like me, notice your body how If feels and moves when you reach for the sugar or honey, notice the smell, the sounds it makes as it hits the water & sounds your spoon makes as you stir in the flavours.
NOW DRINK. The bit you’ve been waiting for! Bring the cup to your lips – notice what you notice, the weight of the cup, the heat, the smell any sounds of sensations, are you salivating? Continue listening for sounds. Take a slow sip – notice what your taste buds are doing and how the heat of the tea affects your lips, your tongue, your teeth, the back of your through, all the way down to your belly. Enjoy drinking your cup of tea mindfully.
We’re seeing more and more statistics showing a dangerous correlation with how our mental health is negatively affected by overuse of social media. Dedicate time a week to unplug – to switch off, to disconnect from the digital world and be present in your environment. We don’t need to document every waking moment to “prove that it happened” the world won’t end it if we switch off and psychologically you are going to feel better for it in the long run.