Self Care, a term we hear a lot these days and we're told it's something that we should be 'practising' on a daily basis.
But what on earth does it actually mean?
Simply put, it's taking care of yourself. Allowing yourself to rest when you need it. Spending time on yourself to grow as a human. Giving yourself space and time to reflect and learn about yourself.
It's all of this.
It's putting yourself first.
Bubble Baths & Wax Melts
Initially, I thought it was all about Sunday evenings, when you get yourself ready for the week ahead. Sunday Self-care = putting on a face mask, lighting your favourite wax melts and soaking your day away in a hot bath. Don't get me wrong, this is absolutely part of my weekly routine, when time allows but true self-care goes much deeper than a beauty regime.
Absolutely, taking care of what you look like on the outside promotes HUGE benefits to your self esteem, your relationships, your outlook on life and most importantly how you feel about yourself. But this really only goes so far. You need to ensure that you are also taking care of your mind, to provide a holistic approach to your wellbeing.
A journey of discovery
True self care, is a journey of discovery I have found myself on over the past few years. Running a small business from my kitchen, building my career in finance, raising two young daughters who are watching my every move.
I mean, it's A LOT.
I try not to go on and on about how hard it is, because I knew it would be when I started and there is a voice inside my head always telling me to push through it and keep going. The truth is, it's taken a huge toll on me over the last 9 months, I have been forced to slow myself down and just accept that I need to allow myself to rest. Something I am still working on by the way...
This has not been easy as it goes against the grain for a mother to put herself first when the needs of her children SHOULD be her main priority. When there is always something that needs be done around the house.
At the end of the day, you cannot pour from an empty cup and for those who you love to get the best version of you, you need to focus being just that!
Coming to terms with putting yourself first
One of the things that I really love to do, is listen to podcasts. I tune in weekly to my favourite podcast, 'The Diary of a CEO - Steven Bartlett' and listen to some of the most inspiring and thought provoking conversations. This has had a profound impact on my ability to look at life in a different way and come to terms with the fact that I need to rank myself higher in the 'food chain' and focus on my basic human needs too.
The successes of the individuals that Steven interviews, have all stemmed from their true understanding of themselves, what they needed and then doing something about it.
Build your self care routine
Acceptance is the first step, then it's a case of building self care into your routine.
If this is new to you, my advice would be to start small. Little changes where you focus on yourself for 30 minutes per day, will amount to big changes in the long run.
If your goal is to lose weight or get fit, prioritise 30 minutes of your day for an activity that works towards that goal. Going to the gym, going outside for a brisk walk, or a youtube fitness video in your lounge.
If your goal is to learn more about yourself, try 10 minutes of meditation every day. I find that I need to do it at a quiet time of the day with no distractions, this is usually before my bedtime when the children are asleep.
Whatever your goal is, the key is to build a realistic routine that prioritises YOU for as little as 10 minutes per day. Something that you will stick to.
My 5 weekly Self-Care rituals
Walk to work, listening to a podcast
10 minutes of meditation before going to sleep
30 minute run on a Sunday morning
Taking a hot bath, my favourite candle and a face mask
Doing the weekly shop listening to my favourite music
The most important thing to remember is that self-care is about taking care of yourself. What will you start this week?