Self-care: an act of courage

What does self-care mean to you? Is it something you find easy, or, like me, do you find it easy to let self-care slip? I don’t think I’m alone in finding self-care a challenge. We live in a world where doing lots and being busy is a sign of success. I’m an expert at pushing myself a little bit more to get that extra one thing done. Why? Because if I say I am busy, then it implies I am wanted, that I am in demand. I know that in the past, being busy, achieving and overworking have given me worth – they have been a badge of honour, even if I wouldn’t have said that out loud! I have had to learn the hard way (like most life lessons) that this way of being comes at a great cost, physically, emotionally and mentally. In the end, for me, it’s just not sustainable.

Over the past few years I have slowly been learning a new way of being, where I am more tuned into what my body, spirit and soul need. When I notice that I am tired, I am learning to lean into the day, to still do what must be done and give myself permission to be restful for some of the time too. I still don’t always get it right, and often don’t realise I have overdone it until it’s too late. I guess old habits and ways of thinking are difficult to change. But they can change, I am seeing it happen. And it gives me great hope and joy to know that self-care is possible!

Today I find myself thinking, once again, about what self-care looks like. I know that a ‘one-size fits all’ approach doesn’t work for me, because I am constantly changing. Therefore, my first act of self-care is to check in with myself and ask ‘what do I need right now?’. It might be to drink more water, stretch my legs, say no, say yes, exercise, sleep more, book a massage, call a friend, write in my journal… the possibilities are endless! What is important is that I take small steps, that I value looking after myself enough to create some space for me. Instead of a mindset that says ‘what is the least amount of self-care I can get away with?’ I shall ask ‘what is the most that I can do for myself today?’ I wonder, what would happen if we all did this? How different would the world we live in be? I would love to find out…  

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