We have all been told we must love our neighbours as we love ourselves but I will hazard a guess that many of us afford others more attention & kindness than we gift to our own beings.
Now this is not a bad thing per se, being a wonderful human being, caring for our loved ones &/or those we may not necessarily even know that well in itself is a form of self love, as in turn we tend to see at least some of that being reciprocated. Paying it forward so to speak.
My thoughts today however turn to the numerous different ways we can look after ourselves, a few of which I summarise below.
Right now I’ve got you hooked the first thing I want to say is the way we incorporate these bits into our lives is 100% individual. We are all infinitely unique & as such there will be habits that suit some but repel others & vice versa, we should never feel constrained to what society may deem as ‘good practise’ because that has already taken us far away from the idea of this exercise.
To give an example I personally don’t find yoga that calming if I am more anxious or stressed. Yes it works wonders for the mind, yes it relaxes the body, yes it is a fabulous form of flexibility & mobility training BUT when Phoebe has a brain box full of thoughts her body needs to move more actively, there needs to be a distraction, she walks, swims, cooks & jumps around. Then she does yoga.
So yes as they say ‘You Do You Girl’ (with or without the flouncy finger clicking & hair flick, I can’t do it to save my life so we’ll leave the semi sarcastic tone & move on).
Moving on swiftly as I started by saying there are many elements of self care..
- It is the food we choose to nourish ourselves with – high quality, nutritious, delicious things make us feel well, they support our health, they give us energy, keep our skin clear of blemishes, yep the things we put on our plates are an act of kindness to ourselves.
- It is also the time we afford ourselves to do things like eating – rushing around, grabbing a bite here & there, not taking a proper lunch break. These are all things many of us will do but you will notice over time that these don’t benefit you, you enjoy the food less, you feel less well etc, so 100% try your utmost to appreciate your need to relax when you eat. Take time to read a book, speak to a friend, share a meal with your family, or god forbid you have to work through your lunch then take a 15 minute break later on, walk outside & release that tension elsewhere.
- It is also that movement I touch on above – our bodies are not meant to be static, we are designed to roam & we know we feel lethargic if we are sat immobile all day. I always impress however that exercise needn’t be slogging it out at the gym, it could literally be a steady paced walk, or a weight workout, or a dance class, or hoofing it around after your kids. Whatever form it comes in, as long as it’s there, I’m happy.
- Another 1 people may not think of is our impact on the environment. How is this a form of self care you ask? Well whatever we release out into the world will come back to bite us whether it’s pollution filling the air, rubbish scattering the land or toxins infiltrating our soils & food supply. So by being a little more conscious of these things in terms of the way we conduct ourselves to me definitely falls into the self care bracket.
And then finally, & probably the most important of all to my mind is the language we use with ourselves. I spent a large proportion of my early 20s berating myself with words I wouldn’t use on my worst enemy (perchance a touch melodramatic but you get the gist). When not said out loud we can go to town on this, those phrases swim between our ears & bit by bit they chip away at us, making us less shiny, less fulfilled & generally not the sparkly humans we all are.
So yes self care or self love or whatever you term it is incredibly important but it is also eternally individual – much in the same way that ‘normal’ is not really a thing. I wouldn’t class myself as ‘regular’ in any way, I am me, I am a little loopy, I am also an intelligent young woman with a passion for what I do & a heart perhaps a little too big for the hours I have in the day.
And why would I want to be anything other than that just because it doesn’t always fit into someone else’s checklist of ‘appropriate’……