The term self-care is being bandied about all over the place, and I sometimes wonder if I need to read yet another top 10 self-care list, although they seem impossible to avoid at the moment.
Having said that, there is something in it. It is really important to remember to be kind to yourself. To be as lovely to yourself as you are to your friends or family or partner. To rank your needs as highly as anyone else’s.
And we’ve all got a horrible little voice in our heads trying to tell us how rubbish/unattractive/stupid/idiotic we are. It takes a fair bit of effort to quash it. Sometimes it’s easier to give in, agree, and feel yourself fall into a cycle of nasty thoughts and self-loathing.
On top of that, with all the general busyness in our lives, it’s hard to listen to what we really need or want i.e. a rest, a break, a snack, water, a laugh, a hug, a break from the screen…
This results in feelings of stress, anxiety, not having enough time – and all seem to be pretty much the norm.
Maybe we’re not caring for ourselves as much as we could be.
Here’s something you can try. I think of it as being nice to ‘future me’. It consists of doing something small today that I know will make me happy tomorrow.
I remember when I lived with a teacher and his wife in the south of France for a few weeks at the start of my year abroad. Each morning when I got up they would have left for me some recently toasted bits of baguette, alongside some butter and a pot of marmalade for my breakfast. It was so simple and so sweet. An act of thoughtfulness.
So now I do the same for myself when I need a bit of love and care.
Before going to bed, I’ll lay out my breakfast things. First I’ll place my small wooden chopping board and a sharp knife ready to chop up my apple. Then I’ll add a favourite mug and a teaspoon for my tea. Finally, I’ll lay out a nice big bowl and a spoon for my porridge.
A simple act
Just laying out the simple implements is enough. It’s telling me that I care for myself. I guess it’s like the thought behind making breakfast in bed for someone else. I’ll wake up in the morning and smile to see that someone has thoughtfully left out these things for me – to make the morning that little bit easier.
It’s like a little reminder to myself. That I care.
It could also be laying out my outfit for the day, the night before. No more stressing and time wasted deliberating between these trousers or that jumper. One less thing to think about.
Or it’s tidying away the post and leaflets and scraps of paper and general junk on the kitchen table – knowing that your morning will feel a lot more calm when everything seems in order.
It’s thinking ahead – to one small thing you can accomplish now – which will act as a little hug to yourself tomorrow.
What can you do?
Maybe that’s the answer to bringing some joy into your life, being thoughtful to yourself. Doing something small that you know future you will appreciate, to show that you care. For you now, and for ‘future you’. What are you going to do?
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