Self-care is a term that’s bandied about A LOT these days. There are so many memes and GIFs and cute illustrations that pop up when you google ‘self-care’. “Self-care isn’t selfish” and #selfcaresundays are ubiquitous phrases: printed on t-shirts, mugs, bags and falling off everyone’s lips.
Everybody is doing it and companies are capitalising on it too. If you’re not masking, meditating, while simultaneously getting a manicure, do you even self-care?!
Why is “self-care” everywhere all of a sudden?
Well…to be basic: life is hectic. The technology which makes our lives so much easier, has also added a lot of stress and pressure. We always need to be ON: connected and working. Go go go. Do do do. It’s become increasingly hard for people to switch off, to take time out… What used to be called “pampering” or “me time” (and was seen as a sporadic indulgence) is now called SELF-CARE and it has become a weekly, if not daily, necessity.
Self-care, like self-love, are very dear topics to me. Self-care is definitely a form of self-love.
Taking care of number one should be everyone’s priority, because (sorry to sound like a broken record but…) you can’t pour from an empty cup!
When you are feeling balanced and well taken care of, you’re a better friend, partner, colleague and parent.
I love to pamper and go to salons, visit gyms and yoga studios and and buy new books to read… but I realise that these all involve spending money and that is a privilege not accessible to everyone. Since becoming a full-time entrepreneur, I’ve had to seriously cut back on my spending habits, so for those of you thinking that because you’re on a budget you can’t afford to practice self-care, think again. Self-care doesn’t have to involve spending money! There are so many things one can do on a budget or for free, that will leave you feeling “cared for”.
Meditation is probably my ultimate form of self-care. It’s a daily habit of mine that has transformed my mind and spirit in so many positive ways. There are a myriad of different meditation techniques from simple breath work, to using mantras, guided visualisations, affirmations, the list goes on and on… Experiment until you find whatever works for you, with whatever time you can carve out! You do not have to sit for twenty or thirty minutes at a time to reap the rewards. Every little bit counts, so if you have five minutes, do that! I use a few different meditation techniques, because I enjoy variety and I believe in tuning in to what my mind and body needs on that day. Some days it will be a guided meditation on an app ( Insight Timer is my fave), some days I love to chant, some days it’s a breathing technique and sometimes just sitting in silence.
Going for a walk outdoors is another wonderful form of self-care that doesn’t cost a thing… Fresh air, clearing the head, moving the body – absolute bliss. Walking on your own is wonderful for clearing the head – sometimes I listen to a podcast or some music. Walking with a friend or loved one can be equally therapeutic – chatting and maybe getting some things off your chest.
Preparing wholesome food and eating it mindfully is another wonderful form of self-care.
Nourishing food does not need to be complicated or expensive.
A beautiful, colourful salad or a bowl of lightly steamed vegetables with a tasty homemade dressing are wonderfully nourishing and affordable. Eating a slice of carrot cake with a cup of tea is also a favourite self-care practice which I practice on occasion. 🙂
Taking time out is also self-care. Setting boundries. Canceling plans. Taking a day off. Switching your phone off. These can all be wondering and rejuvenating acts of self-care.
And then of course there’s all the pampering stuff, which you can also do for a lot cheaper at home. Run a bath, make your own face-mask, massage your body with some nourishing oils (or maybe you have an obliging partner to do this?!) and paint your own nails. Slide into bed with a good book or take some time to journal your thoughts and feelings.
For the time pressed, you don’t have to do all these things at once! A little self-care here and there makes a big difference. Tally up how much time you spend in a day on your phone, watching TV or scrolling the internet – can you use some of that time for self-care rather?
If you’re still thinking, “Yeah right lady, this all sounds way too indulgent and I don’t have time for any of this.” Well (apologies in advance for the shouting caps!) IF YOU DON’T MAKE TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND LOVE YOURSELF NO-ONE ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU. And eventually, after a lot of neglect and running on empty, our bodies and minds get the message that we don’t really care enough and they begin to rebel or give up on us (illness, injuries, allergies, depression, anxiety…)
So please, I urge you to start making time for little self-care rituals and practices, no matter how big or small. Weave them into your day. Negotiate with your boss, partner, parent, nanny, friend, whomever… ask them for the time or the help or whatever it is you need to make this happen. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
How’s your self-care practice going? What are your favourite forms of self-care. Let me know!
Lots of love