Thursday, 30 March 2017
Today I was thinking a lot about self care. I know it's kind of a buzz word lately and potentially lost its meaning, but I think it is so important.
When I think of self care, I don't mean just booking in a spa day (that's the first answer I hear most people give). When I think of self care, I think of putting things into the daily rhythms of your life that feed your soul! This is something that everyone should do... despite gender, or busyness, or age or need. However, I think that during times of life when life is especially stressful, overwhelming, or vulnerable, self care is extremely important!
The reason I thought of this was because today is my birthday. I woke up, knowing that I was going to still resume my roles of mother, and employee (counsellor), and not really have anything overtly "special" planned for my day. But from the moment I woke up, I chose an attitude of receiving and being gracious for what the day would bring. I also adopted a bit of a mindset that "I am worth it today."
The morning was a bit more lazy than normal (as I started work late) so I requested that my husband watch the boys so I could go for a run in the glorious sunshine. I spent a few extra minutes getting myself ready after my shower. I wasn't showered with any extravagant gifts, but I received messages from friends and family via text and online and the day brought a few deliveries of spring flowers. At work I faced the same intensity of issues that I normally do, but I noticed something interesting. In my attempt to enjoy the day and value my self, I didn't take on as much of the burden that I sometimes do. I was able to completely leave work behind me for the first time in a while. I came home free and happy and able to enjoy my family. We left the dinner dishes undone and enjoyed the last of the sunshine in an after dinner park play. I snuggled my boys to sleep at bedtime, and then ignored the house cleaning to enjoy some time to myself.
And do you know what I noticed? My day was SO much more enjoyable than normal, and it wasn't just due to the cake or the flowers (though maybe the bright sunshine played a role). I wasn't anxious. I wasn't in a hurry to rush through every moment. I took time where I needed it to regroup and help myself to be okay. I don't think it was only a self-seeking day. I still helped others where I needed to - considered my family's needs first, cared for my clients, and thanked my friends - but I did so in a way that still allowed my needs to be met. And I think that is 100% okay!
I know I come at this from a counsellor bias side of the argument, but I wanted to share how much I noticed a difference when I just slightly changed my attitude. I don't think self care has to be grand gestures. For me, it is getting in my exercise on a daily basis to help manage my stress and keep my body in shape. It is having fresh flowers in the house, and burning nice smelling oils or candles to keep my senses happy. It is going for a monthly massage therapy appointment. It is booking playdates for my kids just so a friend and I can enjoy a brief conversation over coffee. It is indulging in a TV and popcorn night with my hubby every week. It is going to bed at a decent hour to give my body enough sleep so I can wake up naturally when I am ready. It is pausing on my morning run for a few extra moments at the beach to smell the salt air and hear the sound of the waves. The point is, it is doable. It isn't extra work. It isn't hard to find. But it makes all the difference!
So tell me, what do YOU do for self care? What have you already naturally put into your life and routine?