Put down your phone, disconnect the internet and slather on a face mask because today we are taking a deep dive into the hot topic of self care and how I'm learning to embrace all it has to offer...
Firstly, contrary to belief, I don't truly believe a face mask will solve all my issues. But I do believe there is some truth to embracing and adding a little self care into our lives, especially right now. All though we tend to forget, putting yourself first before others can be incredibly important. Our natural instinct is to look out for others, but amidst this its so easy to leave ourselves behind and lose track of what truly brings us joy...
So what I'm trying to figure out is can the concept of self care lead to more self love and will it help me in my journey of learning how to be ok with not being ok?
So what really is self care? Self care is different to each individual. But if we want to look at it in its broadest term - its simply the act of doing something for yourself. Self love on the other hand is described as a basic human necessity of appreciating yourself. So surely in order to appreciate yourself you need to take care of your own needs and prioritise your health and wellbeing. Maybe self care is about trying your best not to hurt yourself, mentally or physically. To befriend the person that is your own mind. To attempt to not criticise or belittle yourself. To not self sabotage your decisions at every crossroads.
Although self care and self love are sort of two different things, in my opinion they work hand in hand with each other. Without practicing the art of one, the other struggles to exist. And with my self love lacking at the moment, maybe diving head first into some self care is really what I need right now. On the other hand, a lot of people hate the word self care. Some feel it brings with it a level of self indulgence. Some might just say its an overused term of phrase that has now just lost all meaning. I suppose to some degree I understand what they are saying. It can sometimes feel like a meaningless ideal we have been subconsciously programmed to enjoy and buy into. But by holding this initial judgment are we missing a trick and not allowing ourself the chance to really embrace all it may offer?
Something I am guilty of is letting myself give tips and tricks to my friends and family on how to unwind and relax, but not actually living by the words I preach. So why is it that we love the idea of self care but rarely put it into practice? In the last few years brands, shops and influencers have made a fortune through promoting wellness. We are bombarded with adverts everywhere we turn. So its no wonder we seek to invest in the concept of it. But to me self care can be much more than a great nighttime facial routine or rocking a pair of fun yoga pants. Is it more about investing real time and effort in yourself?
I like so many others are also not very good at liking myself very much. I have a tendency to listen to the nagging part of my brain that constantly tells me 'I'm not good enough' or 'why would anyone like me?'. So much so, you start to believe it and its hard to convince yourself otherwise. Something we can all agree on is that this lockdown has really not helped discourage these feelings. But I'm definitely having the realisation at the moment that I need to make a change for the better.
Something I have recently started doing is just listening to what my body wants. I am in a very fortunate position that I can carry on doing my work from home and around my own schedule. So if I feel tired in the day and have a real lack of energy, I'll let myself take a nap and accept its what my body needs. What I'm still learning to try and do is not feel guilty about these choices. I'm also on a medication thats side effects include tiredness, so why do I continue to feel bad that I need to rest? Would you question someone else with the same predicament... probably not, so why can't I seem to apply these rules to myself? Because deep down I think we are programmed to see the worst in ourselves, and we have to work really hard to fight against these natural urges of self doubt.
Part of my new self care routine is also accepting myself and trying to increase my confidence in the decisions I make. Sometimes this involves just taking a minute to lists the things you like about yourself, what your most proud of. Sometimes its carving out alone time for yourself like taking a long walk or running a hot bath. They may sound like simple acts, but in a world where are minds are constantly being over stimulated and overworked, maybe all we need is to slow down. A sort of reboot of the human system.
So what do I take away from the idea of self care? Well, I think I am starting to realise that we have one life and ultimately its short, so maybe I should be prioritising 'me' sometimes, and listen to what my body and mind truly needs. One day I might need rest, one day I might need to stimulate my mind and one day I might need to just shut everything off. But ultimately the constant is that I will be choosing me.
So maybe I'll buy some sage and burn it around my house or maybe I might just jot down my feelings, but either way I'm taking time to get to know myself...