Have you ever wondered why self-care gets such a bad rep?
I mean, taking care of yourself doesn’t sound like a bad thing to do. But dare take five minutes to yourself and the whole world calls you selfish.
Could it be because self-care has been hijacked by unicorns and rainbows? I’m the first one to sprinkle myself in glitter and paint my nails while wearing a face mask in the bathroom, but there’s SO much more to self-care than that.
So, while I am not suggesting you stop pampering yourself (heck, that’s the funniest part of self-care), I’ll share with you three other ways to start a self-care routine that don’t involve hot bubble baths:
1. Be Kind To Yourself
Be honest. How many times do you think you suck every day?
You make a mistake at work and immediately you think you’re the worst employee ever and you’re soon gonna get fired.
Your friend cancels lunch and you assume she has more interesting things to do than spending time with someone as boring as you.
You catch a glimpse of your love handles in the mirror and wonder how anyone could possibly find you attractive.
All this self-hate talk stops here, ladies. “Telling your inner mean girl to shut up is the most important part of self-care.”
But, how the heck do you do that?
Treat yourself like you would treat your BFF.
If she made a mistake at work, you’d remind her of all the things she accomplished in her career.
If someone cancelled on her, you’d tell her that maybe her friend is dealing with a work or family emergency.
If she called herself ugly, you’d point out how beautiful her smile is.
The next time your inner mean girl says something nasty to you, treat her like your BFF. Be kind to her. She just needs some reassurance, that’s all.
Related: 3 Steps To Tame Your Inner Mean Girl
2. Listen To Your Body
Last summer, work was so hectic, I stayed up writing till the wee hours of the morning and then wake up at 7:00 to do it all again. Often, on an empty stomach. Or burger and fries. Who had the time to cook?
The day before I was due to attend the 30 Plus Blogging Awards, I came down with a nasty flu. While all my friends were sipping champagne and gossiping about the winners, I was stuck in bed, alone.
It’s not like my body hadn’t tried to warn me, either. It kept telling me I needed to sleep more. It was asking me to eat better. I just ignored it.
I thought I could outsmart it. It outsmarted me.
By hook or by crook, your body will make itself heard. So, avoid the pain and just listen to it.
Are you sleepy? Go to bed early. You’ll finish that presentation more quickly after a good night’s sleep.
Is your stomach grumbling? Eat something. But, not too much. When you feel full, stop.
Has a day sitting at your desk left you feeling restless? Hit the gym. There are fewer people in the evening, too, so you won’t have to compete to get on that treadmill.
Give your body what it needs and it’ll never betray you again.
3. Soothe Your Mind
I’m currently trying to juggle three jobs (cos working on just one thing is SO boring) with a boyfriend while trying to keep up a flimsy social life.
I’m guessing you’re just as busy. Maybe you just have the one job. But you have kids or elderly parents to take care of. And want to have some fun as well.
Not that easy when there are a gazillion things going through your mind at any given moment. And, most of them are awful. Your inner mean girl is shouting all the time. And that’s on top of everything else you have to worry about.
The only way not to go crazy is taking a few minutes every day to just be.
I like to meditate, but you can journal and download all those thoughts onto a piece of paper (or your computer, if you’re the modern, techy kind). You could also do nothing.
The goal is to get the mind to quieten a bit.
I won’t lie to you. The first few times, it’ll be impossible. Meditation, sitting still and even journalling take practice. Keep at it and soon those voices will get quieter. The labyrinth in your hand will untangle. Your stress will reduce.
You’ll feel like a whole new person. One who’s ready to face everything life throws at her with a smile.
Wrapping It Up
Self-care isn’t optional. But you don’t have to decorate your room with glitters and rainbows or go for a manicure every time you feel down. Being kind to yourself, listening to your body and soothing your mind are great ways to take care of yourself, too. And when you do, everything else just falls into place.
Over to you now. How did you start practising a self-care routine? Leave a comment and let me know.