A very long time ago, before I knew better, I used to think that taking care of myself and prioritising myself over others was selfish. I know. Stupid right? I was raised to believe that I had to work hard, to always be “trying” to do well in life and sometimes that meant pushing myself to my very limits physically, mentally and emotionally. All this pushing and pulling leads to burn out of epic proportions, as I unfortunately learned in my thirties.
Fast forward to today and I view life very, very differently today than I did back then. Self care to me is a priority. It’s an absolute must and is non-negotiable. If my battery is low, I need to recharge it and to recharge it, I need to prioritise self care above anything else.
There is a saying, “You cannot pour from an empty cup”. It is literally impossible to continue to give and give to others – our job, our friends, our family, our commitments – unless, from time to time, we pause to reset and refill our empty cup.
My husband has always loved that moment on a flight when the flight attendant is giving the safety demonstration and says, “Always attend to your own mask first before attending to the masks of others…” Every single time the attendant says that my husband looks at me and winks and repeats the line back to me. It has become an in-joke between us now as we have travelled so much together that no flight would be complete without hearing that line! But every time I hear it, it serves as a reminder to me that I need to do something nice for myself and it gets me thinking, what can I do for myself today that is just for me?
Self care for many of us will look very different. For some of us, it’s a long soak in the bath, for others it’s a walk alone through a forest or on a beach…or time spent fishing on a riverbank…and for others again, it could simply be sitting in a chair for half an hour, undisturbed, reading your favourite book or sipping a cup of tea while leafing through a magazine.
For me, self care means all of these things and more. I never run out of ideas for self care. One of my favourite things to do is spending time in my garden among the bees, butterflies and birds, just meditating on life or practising mindfulness as I plant seeds or remove old rosebuds to make way for new ones. I am also extremely partial to a hot chocolate while curled up in a chair by the fire on a cold winter’s day.
I’ve found over the years that if I don’t make time for it, my mental health suffers and this has as a knock-on effect on my physical and emotional wellbeing.
So today, as I type this after a long day working at my desk staring at the laptop, all the while trying to fit in the everyday things in life such as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and caring for others, I have decided to take an hour out this evening just for myself. No phone, no laptop, no commitments. Just me and my thoughts. And maybe a hot chocolate!
I did a meditation video on this recently because I was prompted by a friend of mine who told me she had no time for herself or to look after her own mental wellbeing. She felt as if she was being pulled in so many directions. You’ll find the below and I hope it helps you to take some time out for yourself today. You really, really deserve it.
What does self care look like for you? Do you struggle to find time for yourself amidst the busyness of life, or do you have a good routine of self care that is pretty much set in stone on a daily or weekly basis? I would love to know how you fit your self care in around your daily life.
Till next time…take care of yourself.