There is a lot of talk about self-care at the moment. Mainly because most of us aren’t practising much self-care because of lockdown, due to any number of reasons – such as trying to juggle work and home life, lack of money or things being closed so no treats like restaurants, pampering or shopping. For me, it’s because I’m homeschooling two primary school children, while trying to do work on my three jobs, and the main stinger for me is not being able to socialise, see friends and let off steam! Most people have a lot on right now, without having the fun, release of a social life. So we need to find things to do that we enjoy, which are a break from everyday life and that are good for us.
Self-care is about looking after yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s about doing things to be kind to yourself, and can be interchangeable with self-compassion which focuses more on how you think about yourself. 70-80% of people are harsher on themselves than they are to others. Being kind to yourself with the same care as you would naturally show to a friend is hard to do but is greatly important to practise self-care. When you face a battle or conflict of any sort, would you want a critical voice in your head or one of a supportive ally? Choosing the right voice makes a powerful change to your outlook, actions and self-worth. I now visualize a grumpy Donald Duck as my inner critic, who’s frowning, moaning and critical of everything. So it's easier to dismiss him, not take it personally and tell him he's just being difficult! Because it’s a silly character, it’s also distracting and playful, so works well for children but I believe we all have that inner playful child inside us. What would you visualize as your inner critic to make it easier to ignore it?
Treating yourself is the kind of enjoyment-self-care that we get sold, like a massage or a weekend away – and these things are still amazing to do and can be fantastic for your well-being. They can reset, refresh and rejuvenate, but they’re temporary self-care solutions. Trying to live your life so self-care is a normal part of everyday is vital. One of my favourite pieces of advice is to talk to yourself like the person who loves you the most would. Or talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend. You can also ask yourself these questions:
What would your life look life if you were kinder to yourself? How can you take care of yourself (rather than “fix” yourself)?