For so many of us life is a continual balancing act. Between work, family, friends and other commitments, life can end up being a continual whirl of getting to the next place, onto the next job, finishing the next day.
I often ask my clients ‘what do you do for self-care?’ – and get greeted with a quizzical look wondering what the earth I am talking about. We then sometimes get on to – occasional day trips to a spa, golf breaks, manicures – but it’s amazing how low down the priority list ‘self-care’ is for many. It is often seen as indulgent, selfish – only to be attended to when the rest of the to-do list is done.
I am reminded of the importance of self-care now every time I travel by airplane. During the safety talk at the beginning, the airhost will always say ‘remember to apply your own oxygen mask before attending to others’. It is easy for us to forget that if we aren’t looking after ourselves, we can’t look after others, or function in the world in our optimum way. And this, is self care.
So what does self-care mean? Yes, it does mean the occasional trip to the spa if that’s what you like, or a golf break, or a manicure, but it’s also taking 5 minutes to yourself when you need it. It’s saying no to the next invitation which when offered, feels like another obligation on an already hectic schedule. It means saying to the kids that they can watch an extra 30 minutes of TV so you can read your book. Or maybe the house doesn’t need hoovering, again, today. Self-care is saying no to perfection – and yes to ‘good enough’. It means setting boundaries so you’re not constantly at the beck and call of others. It means prioritising you – your wellbeing, your health, your interests, your time, your energy, YOU.
You’ll be amazed at how different you feel – and that difference will resound out to all around you.