Self Care: What it Really Means
This is a guest post from a reader, Christine (follow her on Twitter here). Thanks for sharing these insights with us Christine!
The best description of self care I’ve heard is: on a plane you put your own oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else with theirs. Looking after you is so important.
Self care is a concept I read about on a daily basis. For a while I struggled with the definition of it. Was it like finding the elusive needle in the haystack in that once I embraced self care I would be instantly a better person.
To begin with I had no notion what it was or what it might do for me.
Although let me explain what I think it is and what indulging myself in a caring way has achieved.
1. I say No to people.
For a long time I was a Yes person. I did all the things for all the people without questioning their motive or agenda. Saying Yes was actually a negative thing most of the time, it made me resentful, bitter and cross. By saying no with a smile, there’s more chance I’ll be happier because I can choose what I do.
2. I walk a lot.
Walking is the best exercise for me, it clears my head, lets me relax, forget or remember things. I walk every day whether it’s into work, on a beach, in a park. I would definitely notice if I stopped.
3. I drink tea.
I definitely believe in the restorative properties of tea. Even making a cup is a calming ritual. Watching the tea infuse in a cup is a nice calming exercise. That in itself is a moment of mindfulness. Herbal teas are worth trying, you’ll have one that you prefer quite easily, whether it’s to calm you down or give you energy.
4. I use a curling iron.
I have naturally wavy and thick hair. I used to spend a lot of time straightening it or at least trying to but now I’m quite happy to embrace and enhance the curls I was naturally given.
5. I wear makeup most days.
For a long time I just wore make up on nights out. I associated it with making an effort for a special occasion. Although makeup can make you feel good early in the morning when you wish you could have an extra hour in bed. Discovering that was a revelation.
6. I watch what I eat.
I’m a reformed semi-professional chocolate eater. Before I started really looking at and watching what I ate, I didn’t care what food I consumed. There were ready meals, chocolate, ice-cream, biscuits, cakes and chips. Now I like cooking my own dinners as much as I like going to nice places to eat. Healthy food can taste nice, even rice cakes which I never thought sounded appetising.
I’m not saying that now I care about myself more than I did I am perfect. Self care is really part of every day life, like a good habit or a ritual that calms and restores when the going gets tough. Of all the things I have changed about my life, putting me first was the best decision for me and everyone else in my life.