What you need to know about self care

One of the things that I find myself talking to nearly all my clients about is self care…

Excuse me for going a bit American, but this really is the best way of saying it. But what is it and why should you care? If you can spare a few minutes, let me share…

In the very broadest sense, self care is what is at the opposite end of the spectrum to health care, where you might seek professional help for long-term or acute conditions or major trauma. Edging nearer to ‘self care’, you have things like managing your own minor ailments like colds and flu and even brushing your teeth. But what I mean by self care is replenishing your spirit by taking care of your own happiness – that’s right, taking a little time every day and dedicating it just to YOU.

Sometimes when I start on this in clinic, there a few eye rolls. Here’s why it’s SOOOO important.

Self care is the recognition that only YOU can make yourself happy and that, if you make sure that you dedicate some time EVERY DAY purely for your own enjoyment, you will have more fun, you will be more fun to be around, and you will have far greater reserves to deal with the stresses of everyday life.

It works, believe me. I can always tell when I’ve not done enough self care. I find myself getting wound up by the smallest things to the extent that even my own family annoy me (and I know I’m not alone here). With the right amount of self care, I stop worrying about all those things around me (including other people) that I can’t control and enjoy life a whole lot more. 

Now, before you think you have this already taken care of, I challenge you this: have you? Really? Are you doing AT LEAST three things EVERY DAY just because they make you happy? 

If you aren’t, then you might like to consider upping your self care. Here’s how:

Self care is a skill and it is a discipline. It is something that can be very easy to do (which is why it is something we often don’t bother to do). So, this week’s challenge: make a list of at least 20 things (even really frivolous things) that you LOVE to do just because they make you happy or they delight you. Just so you know, housework will NEVER be self care, however much you like a nicely pressed sheet.

I’ve got all kinds of things on mine. Some take hardly any time; some take a little longer. You don’t have to spend long for this to be effective. Some snippets from my self care list if you need some inspiration: taking a lovely hot bath, sitting in the sunshine, reading a good thriller, ice skating, watching my favourite comedy show, singing along to my favourite songs on Magic FM (don’t judge), or catching up with a friend. These are all things that feel good in the moment (rather than going to the gym, which is pretty hellish at the time but gives you a warm, smug glow afterwards).

How to find the time

“But I don’t have the time,” you might be saying to yourself as you read this. I thought that too, but truly, when you make some extra time for you, suddenly more time appears in the day as if by magic, which I can only explain by way of saying that, when I focus on my own happiness AS WELL AS my job, my family and so on, I have a much more positive, can-do attitude that gets things done more efficiently.

I emplore you to give it a go. If you can’t trust yourself to find the time, why not schedule it? There are some great free downloadables like this one at Scattered Squirrel. See, no excuses lovelies!

Enjoy,

Yours, in health

Ailsa