What Self-Care Means to Me
Today is Global Women’s Self-Care Day and to mark the occasion I am blogging about what self-care means to me.
Self-care isn’t just about scheduling ‘me time’ and having relaxing baths and ‘down-time’ which is something I’ve written about before (and something I LOVE). These things are important to me but there is a whole other layer to self-care which I wanted to scratch the surface of in this post.
Self-care is about nourishing mind, body and soul and when I’m eating well and doing the things which make my soul happy it feels like I am caring for myself in the best way possible. It’s also about knowing what things can trigger me to slip into habits which, in turn, threaten how well I care for myself, both physically and emotionally. When I recognise these triggers I can put strategies in place to bring self-care back to the top of the priority list again.
Nourishing my body
When I eat well and exercise I feel mentally in a better place. Planning my meals and preparing simple but nutritious meals is a self-care ritual I have really got into this year. It feels like I am doing something kind to myself and giving myself food that is not going to make me feel sluggish.
When I was a bit younger I’d often reach for convenience foods or eat out a lot in the week because I was doing long hours. The not-so-great food choices (and alcohol) during the week would deplete my energy and whilst I kidded myself that I deserved a ‘treat’ after a hard day this was making me feel far from my best.
I am now much more conscious of how I fuel my body during the working week and this small change does wonders for my mindset which has a positive ripple effect in other areas of my life.
This is a big one and something that has become very important to me this year. There are so many external things in life that impact our state of mind on a daily basis.
When dealing with tricky situations, or people, protecting myself is the most important thing to do. Our natural reaction can be to try to change or control people or situations at the expense of our own state of mind, which can cause more harm than good.
For me, a big part of self-care is about really knowing my core values and what is important to me in my life and letting go of the stuff that threatens that. I don’t mean ignoring feelings and not confronting them, I simply mean learning when to let things go in order to protect myself and move forward, otherwise we can end up giving over our power to someone else and that’s not a happy place to be.
Be selective about what you consume
I sometimes feel like I want to float around life in my own little bubble so I don’t get brought down by others, but of course this is not possible (what a shame!) so it’s about forming strategies to protect myself. Jules von Hep was a guest on my new fave podcast, The Emma Guns Show and he used an amazing expression – mood hoovers. We all know a mood hoover don’t we? Someone who can, in one fail swoop, suck all the life and positivity out of you.
Our mood can also be hoovered up by the media and social media. Next time you scroll through Instagram take a moment to notice how the things on your feed make you feel. In our busy lives most of us seem to manage to squeeze in some social media time so why not use that for some self-care time. Follow accounts which uplift you, interest you or make you laugh.
I have made a small change to my morning routine which has felt quite indulgent on the self-care front and I’m loving it. Rather than listen to Piers Morgan moan on ‘Good Morning Britain’ whilst I get ready I now put on a motivational podcast or audio book – something which gives me a little boost to start my day. Just a tiny change like this can make the world of difference.
Know your triggers
The older I get the better I know myself which may sound like an obvious thing to say but unless you consciously think about what you like, what you don’t like, what makes you happy or what stresses you out, you are less inclined to tailor your day-to-day life accordingly. For me, I have really got to know my ‘triggers’ when it comes to getting stressed out, overwhelmed or anxious. If I have too much on I feel like I am not being productive and therefore my motivation takes a hit and I slip into bad habits so I try my best not to overcommit.
I also know I hate the feeling of being disorganised so self-care for me also includes spending time planning my weeks and making sure I keep on top of life laundry (and actual laundry).
Lots of the ‘boring’ stuff like this can be turned around so that we use this time for self-care. Play uplifting music whilst you do chores, or listen to a book or podcast like I often do. You soon get consumed by what you’re listening to and before you know it you’ve done all your chores and feel amazing.
When thinking about how you can add some self-care to your life don’t put pressure on yourself or this will completely defeat the object and before you know it ‘self-care’ will be an item on your ever growing to-do list. Instead, think about how you can subtly weave in some little moments that nourish your mind, body and soul and enjoy noticing the difference this will make to your overall wellbeing.
Let me know what self-care means to you, I’d love to hear some new self-care ideas!