The A, B, C of Self Love : Self Care

A few weeks ago I shared some thoughts on Self Belief with you. Now I'm sharing my thoughts on how to manifest more of the final element of the Self Love A, B, C model in your life, the 'C'. So let’s talk about:

Self Care

This is where we roll up our sleeves and get practical! You are likely to know what you need to do on a day-to-day basis to take better care of yourself. But you are unlikely to do it all. And even worse, we are all guilty of doing things that we know are bad for us. So let’s address this bad boy challenge first off with two questions.

Get an A4 piece of paper, turn it landscape and draw two lines so that you end up with three columns. Answer the below three questions in a column each:

1. What do you currently do on a day-to-day that you know is bad for you?

Don’t think about this too long and just write a list of whatever comes to mind. They could be unhealthy relationships you maintain or bad habits you currently have. What negative behaviours do you repeat and what mean things you say to yourself when no one else is around?

2. Why should you stop doing these things?

 List how the above activities / actions impact you negatively. This might seem obvious, but writing reasons down and seeing them on paper is helpful motivation to change.

3. What do you need to stop doing these things?

This is a hard question to answer because you might need to understand why you do these things at all.  And this can get deep. As Simon Sinek in his now famous TED talk explains, it all starts with the 'Why'. Do you know why you do the things you’ve listed above for Q1? If not, how can you find out your underlying motivations so that you can address them?

Sometimes we don't know why we do certain things that are bad for us. This is where emotional intelligence (specifically self awareness) plays a key role. Sometimes we know why we do certain things but we need to exercise more self discipline to stop! I will blog about emotional intelligence soon.

If you know you are mentally or emotionally holding onto something that has happened to you in the past then what are you doing to work on letting go? The negative experiences we hold onto are often linked to negative behavioural patterns or habits.

If you have read my previous posts you'll know that I am an advocate for Therapy and the role it can play in clearing clutter in your mind and in your heart. For more information on what Therapy involves you can read our Less Ordinary Therapist’s blog here.

Sometimes we keep on doing things that aren't good for us because we haven't given much thought to what is actually good for us. So let's do a bit of that now!

Self Care is choosing what’s good for you.

Self Care isn’t as simple as picking up a Banana instead of a Bounty. Though often that’s a good start! Sometimes Self Care is about ending a relationship with someone that you love dearly because you know it is best for you in the long run. I know how that feels. Self Care can mean making difficult decisions where emotions and feelings get hurt. But also it can involve building healthy new habits and rituals into your daily routine and doing more of what makes you happy.

The key thing is that Self Care is a practice. It’s something that you can choose to do, and choose not to. And the more you practice it, and choose to do it, the better you get at it. Like learning to play the piano or to speak a new language (Portuguese please!). With Self Care, you get out what you put in.

So how can you practice more Self Care?

There are three simple Self Care tips that I want to share that you can take on with immediate positive effect. Backed up by countless studies and pretty much common sense, but few people do them consistently.

Self Care starts with taking care of yourself.

1. Bookend your days in healthy ways – this might mean making sure you eat breakfast every morning or drink a mug of hot water and lemon first thing. It might mean you make sure you are in bed before 11pm on most nights. Or you replace scrolling through Instagram / Facebook in the dark with half an hour of reading.  Healthy and consistent morning & bedtime rituals are proven to have lasting positive impacts on mental health and wellbeing.

2. Drink more water – the studies are in and they all say the same thing. We don’t drink enough water. When we think we are hungry, we are more likely to be dehydrated. When we feel tired, we actually might thirsty. when we are grumpy or can’t think straight, we might actually need a bit more water in our system. So drink more water! And for a bonus task, you could cut down on drinks contain sugar or sweeteners, which dehydrate you.

3. Move more – whatever movement you fancy – walking, dancing around the kitchen whilst making breakfast (personal fav), jumping jacks, pole dancing, yoga, running, swimming, twerking - just do it more often. When you have the chance to move or be still (ie take the stairs or the escalator)  – choose to move whenever you can. If you are unable to move in the way you would like or you used to – can you find an alternative?  You can visualise moving more if that’s your limit. Your body (and mind) will love you for it. Which brings me onto my next point:

Self Care is Self Love.

When you take better care of yourself, you are loving yourself better. The above basic tips are simple things that you can start to do straight away (and for free!) to improve your Self Care practice and start showing yourself a bit more TLC. 

Below I’ve posed some questions for you to reflect on and answer that start to take things a bit deeper. Exploring the answers to these questions has helped me over the last few years on my own Self Love journey:

  • What can you do to be kinder to yourself?
  • What do you need to stop doing to take better care of yourself?
  • What do you need to stop saying to yourself?
  • What do you need to stop saying to others about yourself?
  • What do you need to let go of?
  • Who do you need to let go of?

Once you start answering these questions, you will identify the things that you need to start doing / stop doing to take better care of you. You will then be able to start to compile what I like to call a Self Care checklist.

Write your Self Care checklist!

Grab a piece of A4 paper and write ‘My Self Care checklist’ at the top. You might already have some things that you do that work for you – add these to your list first. Then you can add your answers to the above questions as you work through them. I recommend you pin this list up somewhere that you will see it often – maybe by the side of your bed or above your desk or on the fridge. As your list grows and you start trying new things you will get better at manifesting more Self Love in your life. Here are some things on my personal Self Care checklist that work for me – feel free to try any of them out and let me know how you get on!

 

Naomi’s Self Care Checklist

-Meditate (daily)

-Yoga (every other day)

-Run (weekly)

-Saying positive affirmations in the mirror (whenever I need a pick-me-up)

-Journaling

-Laughing

-Remember to breath (all the time)

-Seeing close friends (as often as I can)

-Dancing (at least monthly)

-Cooking proper food (As often as I can)

-Say no when something doesn’t feel right

-Be open about your feelings with others

-Be clear about your boundaries

-Let go

-Lower your expectations of others and remember they aren’t you (thank God)

-Self dates (monthly – see below)

"If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete." – Buddha

I am a bit of a ‘giver’ and growing up, I attracted a lot of ‘takers’, I gave people my love, care and attention way too freely and saved little for myself. I can still be hard on myself today, but I’m working on becoming more compassionate toward myself. And I’m getting there.

So, on that note, how good are you currently at giving your love, care and attention to yourself? Or do you give it all away to others? The likelihood is that you could do more for you; to better meet (and prioritise) your needs, take care of yourself and be kinder to yourself. So with that in mind, I have a final challenge for you:

When did you last take yourself out on a date?

Yes, you read right! A date, organised by you, for you! Sarah Waite joined us for our #LessOrdinaryLife Self Love Masterclass back in February and introduced us to ‘Self Dates’. Sarah recommends that once a month you organise a date for yourself, just like you would for someone you love and care about. Whether single, spoken for or somewhere in between, treating yourself like you really matter is key. You have to care for yourself first, before anyone else can.

So, do you fancy a Self Date? Pick your favourite activity, pastime or food, or book your favourite restaurant (table for one!) or book tickets to see that musician that none of your friends appreciate. Whatever you do, make the time to plan for it and don’t cancel on yourself. Show yourself you care. If you don't care for you, it is hard to let others.

"Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror." - Byron Katie

So over to you! What does Self Care mean to you? What have you found has helped or motivated you to take better care of yourself and break old bad habits? Please share your thoughts in the comments below and let me know your thoughts.

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