Self-care is so much more than bubble baths and relaxing or taking “me-time”. Most of my clients when discussing self-care immediately jump to the very obvious physiological areas of their lives which are not getting the necessary attention i.e. rest, nutrition and exercise. Yes, these three things are super important since without them we simply cannot function at optimum levels.
I’m about to tell you that there is a lot more to self-care especially if we consider the state of health of our relationships and how we choose to interact – or not – with the people around us.
Self-care is also:
Unfollowing social media accounts and people who bring you down or make you feel bad. Ideally we want to limit our time on social media and be conscious about how and when we choose to engage. Endless scrolling of your news feed is not going to make you feel good. Consider curating your news feed and limiting the amount of time you spend online. It is known that social media is not good for our emotional health.
Deleting apps on your phone that interfere with your emotional well-being. If you really can’t do this, please consider dis-enabling notifications. Beeps and pings from our phones are a distraction, they stop us from being full present and so easily draw us in.
Avoiding watching the news and television that makes you feel upset or sad. I am not suggesting living under a rock. If you really need to be up to speed with world affairs spend a limited amount of time reading the news that is relevant online or listen to the news on your favourite radio station – they only really provide the headlines. There really is no reason to stay tuned into CNN or Sky News. Avoid series and movies that may trigger you. For example, I feel very strongly about GBV so am less likely to engage with a programme on this topic as I know it will upset and / or anger me.
Not taking on anymore commitments. I really like to use the metaphor of a plate. We all have the same size plate, however we are each responsible for what we decide to put on it and of course everybody’s plate looks different. No one’s plate is better or more important. They are all just plates. If we choose to pile our plates with commitments, something is likely to fall off or not get the attention we or the other party would like. Boundaries are important and can easily be put in place with both love and kindness if we know how and when to say no.
Giving yourself permission to have a lazy day, guilt-free. Everybody needs a day to do exactly as they like at home. If you don’t want to get dressed, that’s okay. If you want to eat cereal or toast for all three meals of the day, that’s okay. If you want lie in bed reading your book or on the couch watching series, that’s okay. Never feel like you have to justify what you choose to do with your time to anyone else. I personally am a proponent of “no plans weekends”. A weekend where you have zero plans and can do whatever your heart desires. Be spontaneous or just lay low at home with yourself and / or your family.
Forgiving yourself for screwing up. We all make mistakes. Forgive yourself, take the opportunity to learn and move on. There really is no need to spend both time and energy mulling over something that you could have done differently. That time is passed. Reflect on it and move right on.
Recognising that just because someone is upset with you, it does not mean that you did something wrong. How people behave towards you has more to do with them than it does to do with you. So often we internalise and personalise things and very quickly jump to the conclusion that we did something wrong and that’s the reason he / she / they are upset. Nonsense. They are upset because something is going on for and with them. Don’t make the assumption that it is you until you have asked.
Never feeling pressured to fit into someone else’s plans. If plans that a friend or family member makes don’t suit you, say so or suggest an alternative. We don’t have to simply fit in with others when we really don’t want to.