As humans, we feel guilty for focussing on ourselves. We feel it takes time away from looking after others and it makes us feel selfish.
Guess what … you’re allowed to be selfish when it comes to your health.
If you were to ask someone ‘what do you think self-care is? it’s very rare you’d get the reply “it’s making sure you’re healthy both mentally and physically”. You’d probably be hit with “oh! It’s going to get your hair or nails done” or “taking a long bath with a glass of wine.” While those answers are not wrong … They’re very temporary. They are all about feeling good in the moment and while that is still incredibly important, it is only a small part of really taking care of yourself.
For me, self-care is about really keeping on top of your mental health and finding out what is going to help you in the long run. Now that is not me saying “it’s about finding a permanent fix” because for most of us, there isn’t one; it’s about learning what makes it easier to manage or keeping yourself ‘in a good place’.
I want to share a few things with you that are important to do for effective self-care but often slip our minds.
Checking in with yourself – We spend so much time focusing on everything else that sometimes we don’t actually know how we are or if we are happy with what’s going on in our life. Take a moment just to stop and ask yourself ‘how am I doing?’ or ‘Am I happy with my current situation?’; if you don’t then thing’s can suddenly become too overwhelming before you’ve even had a chance to recognise they’re heading in that direction.
Let your voice be heard – If you are unhappy with something or someone, vocalise it and talk about it. Keeping it inside because it might upset somebody or putting up with it ‘because it’s easier to say nothing’ will only make you miserable. Your feelings and opinions are just as valid as anybody else’s.
Know your signs – Our body and mind have their own way of letting us know when things might be getting too much for us and it is important to take the time to familiarise yourself with those signs. Once you know what those are, you are more likely to notice that something isn’t quite right and can fix it sooner rather than later.
If something makes you miserable … get rid of it – Now I’m only talking about the things we all have the power to remove from our lives here. I fully understand that some things are not easy to just remove from your life, like a job that makes you miserable, because there are other things that depend on them. However, if something like a friendship is making you miserable then you are well within your rights to end it and if things are making you feel rubbish online … unfollow/delete it.
Seek support – You do not have to go through anything alone and you will not be ‘bothering anybody with your problems’. There will be loads of people who want to be there for you and having somebody to talk to when things are getting rough makes a massive difference. I know it is incredibly difficult to ask for help but we all need some support at some point in our lives. Besides, it’s not like you wouldn’t do the same for somebody else if they needed you to.
Obviously remember to treat yourself and allow yourself to feel good as well but incorporating the things I listed above will take your self-care to a deeper level.
You are worthy and deserve to give yourself that level of attention.