Self Care Isn't
There's of course something wonderful about a 'you' day. A day taken to focus on yourself and just generally boost your mood. Maybe a great hair wash, shaving your legs, a morning meditation, taking your time with your skincare routine and cuddling up with Netflix in the evening is exactly what you're craving, but is it really all you need?
It seems that when we think of self care, we often forget that there are short term fixes like that bubble bath you've been thinking about taking time out for and that there are also long term fixes, like establishing a routine of self care acts, dotted throughout your typical everyday.
Self care has it's roots in the ability to undertake an act that benefits your physical and mental wellbeing, but I find that it's most certainly unique to each person and their needs.
For me it's the encouragement to unwind after a particularly long/stressful work day, to eat a balanced diet that nourishes my body and mind and sometimes most importantly than any other - the ability to say no.
Here's why a pamper day isn't the only way to prioritise your self care and how I focus my efforts on the word 'no'.
It's Okay To Say No - I promise
I have learned as time goes on and and as life flies by that saying no is one of the most important acts of self care you can teach yourself. If you're anything like me, the act of saying no does not come naturally. It comes with a large amount of FOMO, a splash of guilt and even sometimes a sprinkling of awkwardness. I don't like to feel like I am letting people down by declining an invite but I often do. That's just how my brain is wired and that's exactly how I feel when I say no. I have always told myself 'but you have a good excuse', whether that be a conflicting event in my diary or simply not enough time in my week but the truth is, any excuse is a 'good excuse'.
Saying no shouldn't always come from a place of logistics and diary constraints, it should come from a place that prioritises your wellbeing - an act of self care in itself and a hugely important one at that.
Saying no and prioritising yourself above where you would normally place your own wellbeing, is one of the biggest acts of self care I've discovered I need to balance. The work/life balance is of course an ongoing struggle in my world, but knowing when is the right time to say no, has been a huge part of working on myself. I cannot do everything, I cannot be everywhere and I cannot accept every invite given to me - career based, social or otherwise. It's okay to say no to an event because you are exhausted, it's okay to cancel plans because you would have to 'act' well and it's okay to say no to friends if what you need is time on your own. Don't feel as though you 'have' to say yes to something and if you have said yes initially because you have felt obligated, you can also change your mind to protect your wellbeing.
You should always be your top priority, you will thank yourself in the long term.
Put yourself first, work out what it is that you truly need and make those needs part of your everyday routine where you can. Take the time to realise how much self care benefits you and it will be far easier to respond to your needs in the long run, rather than letting them fall behind as a priority in your life.
Self care isn't selfish.
It's necessary for a productive, healthy and happy life.