Candlelit bubble bath and taking five deep breaths. Gratitude list and feel good playlist. Journaling and adult colouring books. Sleeping more and eating well (although, dear one, that’s just addressing basic needs). Meditation and gentle stretching. Home manicure and pedicure. A massage and flowers.
These ideas for self-care that we see everywhere make a lovely list that you might want to look at when you have the time (!). Maybe you do one or two once in a while. It does feel good for as long as it lasts. The problem is, you do need to do these on a regular basis to sustain that feel-good factor.
I have been pondering on the question of self-care for a while and I believe that it is a much bigger issue than stolen moments here and there in an effort to restore body and soul. Just like with health, it is best to look at how we look after ourselves on a daily basis than having to fix problems as they happen.
Self-care is often seen as a remedy when we are exhausted physically or mentally, and we do need pick-me-ups, yet I believe we are restricting its scope.
The fundamental and lasting basis for self-care is self-love.
Self-love is looking at everything that is good in ourselves and declare it good enough to love ourselves unreservedly, despite the size of our thighs, the shape of our nose, the state of our house or of our bank account. It is essential to absolutely refuse that our inner critic bullies us day in, day out. Time to say ‘NO! I will not put myself down again, in a way that I would never dream of doing to someone else’
Self-love is remembering ourselves as babies and children and allowing our love to match the love we have for our own children. We don’t have to earn it! You don’t ask your children (grandchildren, nephews, godchildren, …) to earn your love, do you? So why would you need to earn your own love?
Self-love is paying attention to your needs every day throughout the day. The ultimate self-care tool is to ask yourself this simple question, ‘What do I need right now?’ Given the circumstances, what can you do to make it easier for yourself, to make it more comfortable, more bearable, more … (whatever is relevant). It’s all about loving yourself. What would you do to make life easier for your children? Be as determined to do the same for yourself!
Self-love also means taking care of your home which is an extension of yourself. Self-care could mean spending the day or the week decluttering or painting your house. If you love cooking, it could mean organising, remodelling your kitchen so you enjoy your time there.
Self-care is asking yourself what would enhance the quality of your life now, in the short term or in the long term. When you take the time to ask yourself the question, the answers might surprise you. They might involve some work instead of taking some time off, treating yourself.
The truth is, self-care might not look like its cliché; it can even look like hard work. You’ll know it was self-care when you experience a long lasting feeling of wellbeing or serenity, and definitely when you love and accept yourself.
Tell me, what do you need right now?