If your first thought regarding self-care is, “Sounds lovely, but I literally do not have the time for bubble baths, yoga retreats, morning smoothie bowls or other such things”, you might be in need of a self-care mindset adjustment!
Personally, I feel the Social Media ‘highlight reels‘ is contributing to this unrealistic and somewhat confused mindset. If you look up the hashtag #selfcare on social media you’ll find almost 15 million (!!) posts showing a whole range of insta-worthy images – beauty treatments, yoga retreats, float tanks, vacations, workouts, coffee breaks, massages, midday naps, delicious meals and so much more. And if this is what we’re going by it’s no wonder we think self care is time consuming, expensive and/or glamorous. Sure, it can be these things…. but it also doesn’t have to be any of these things.
Here’s four truths to help flip your mindset so you can start making self care more of a regular thing!
1. Self Care is about more than ‘just’ you
It’s obvious that self care is all about YOU right? It is called ‘SELF’ care after all. Perhaps this is what makes it feel kinda ‘selfish’, or give us the ‘guilts’… Here’s a different way to look at it – yes, it’s about you (because you are the most important thing in your life!) but, it impacts on more than ‘just’ you… it can have an impact on your life (ie. your home life, work life, social life etc), and your ‘world’ too (ie. your relationships and interactions with family, friends, work colleagues and community).
Self care refers to the activities undertaken to manage, protect or restore YOUR health and happiness and these activities are an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle.
If our own health and happiness is suffering, the health and happiness of our nearest and dearest can suffer too. Ignoring our needs can make us more likely to get sick, more likely to make exisiting conditions worse, and more likely to feel run down, depleted, isolated and resentful.
Self care gives us a greater capacity to prevent sickness, manage illness and cope with stress. It can connect us to friends, family, community and culture. It can help us feel more balanced and enjoy life (with all its ups and downs). And, by making the choice to self care, we have a tendency to care more for others.
Self care is not just important for us, but also the world around us.
2. Self Care is not always glamorous
Self care can be manicures, facials, bubbles baths, massages, mini retreats and pretty smoothie bowls…. but it can also be the much less glamorous like, the food we eat each day, prepping meals on the weekend, our exercise routine, our incidental daily movement, the night time routine we use to help us sleep better, what we tell ourselves (ie. our inner dialogue), our treatment of a cold or flu, seeking health advice from a professional, our daily skin care routine, sitting down to pay your bills, or decluttering and cleaning the house.
“My mental health always mirrors the state of my house. So cranking good tunes, lighting candles and cleaning room to room soothes me” Julia, BUF Girl since 2018
3. Self Care doesn’t need to be time consuming or expensive
Self care can actually be simple, quick, easy and inexpensive! Things like a 5 minute walk during your lunch break; A cup of tea on the verandah when you wake; Stopping to watch the sunset; Taking a few deep breathes when you’re sitting in a traffic jam; Using a meditation app 5 minutes before bedtime; Saying no to taking on, helping with or attending that ‘extra thing’; Grabbing the phone and calling a friend for a chat; Or, watching a few funny animal videos for a good laugh!
“Early night to bed, solo walk, a good coffee and a book” Fiona, BUF Girl since 2017
4. Self Care is not always easy
Sometimes, taking care of ourselves is difficult and doesn’t feel that great – it’s having a tough conversation with a colleague, or attending your two yearly pap-smear, or quitting smoking, or joining a new fitness group despite feeling anxious, or getting a blood test to find out more about your state of health. Sometimes self care requires you to push through a little bit of discomfort for your own damn good.
“For me it’s bigger than just time out. Things like eating well, exercising often and work satisfaction really help my mental health” Emma, BUF Girl since 2017
* BUF Tip *
Expecting ourselves to be perfect, or self care to always be easy, is definitely adding to our stress.
Health is about consistency, not perfection!
Of course there will be days (or weeks) we struggle to self care. Of course there will be times we miss a workout (or two), have another glass of wine (or three) when we decided we would only have one, or sacrifice much-needed sleep for a night of Netflix and Chill. It’s not about perfection. But it is about being consistent. So having a consistently proactive approach can work in our favour.
In next weeks article I’ll share four tips to help you action self care CONSISTENTLY!
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