So, disclaimer, self care is not something I’m always good at, and I am by no means an expert. This is just my thoughts on the matter.
I’m a bit of a workaholic. I don’t mean to be, I just often slip into periods where I have tendency to overload my schedule and try to do too much. When I fall into this habit it takes a toll on me physically: I don’t get enough sleep and I accidentally miss meals, NEITHER of which I would at all recommend. It’s like becoming a weird hungry zombie drifting through the day and 1. It doesn’t make you more productive 2. It is definitely not healthy. After becoming really ill a few weeks ago I realised that I had neglected to take care of myself by letting work take over, and my body was letting me know it was not happy. I wanted to write this because I imagine I’m not the only one out there, in the modern world it’s so easy to run ourselves into the ground and burn out by prioritising the wrong things and forgetting to look after ourselves, and I think it’s time to change that. The focus of this blog is living an ethical lifestyle, but you can’t be so driven by your need to look after the planet and others in it that you forget to look after yourself. I think self care is incredibly important to ethical living. If you’re happy and healthy the ethical choices you make will help you feel even better and won’t feel like a burden, a chore dragging you down or a strict set of rules you’re scared to break.
I’m writing to encourage you to not be like me (though I’m working on getting better!)and to ask you to take time to think and discover what you need in order to be happy and healthy. This is the first post (more of an introduction really) in a new self care series, looking at conscious ways we can be kinder to ourselves and help us feel great, in order to keep trying to treat the world with more kindness. There’ll be posts in the coming weeks all about this and then, as time goes on, whenever I discover something new I’ll add. It’s a journey after all, I don’t have everything figured out right now.
What is self care?
To put it simply, self care is any choice we deliberately make in order to care for our mental, emotional or physical health. It’s often the last one you’ll think about when self care is mentioned; if I have a cold I’m probably not going to go to the doctor. I’ll care for myself, hence the phrase. Physical health is the hardest to ignore when something’s wrong, so we are often forced into self care when our body isn’t so happy any more. I believe (and I have no scientific backing for this it’s just my thoughts) that this is why if you neglect your mental or emotional health you can also get physically sick, because your body needs to tell you something isn’t right. Yes my workaholic ways took a definite physical toll, but it was almost certainly the intense mental workload that exacerbated the sickness in my experience.
But self care isn’t just something that should be done after we’re sick in order to get better, it should be a continual mode of living. Not a medicine, but a lifestyle. And that doesn’t mean becoming totally self absorbed and just looking out for number one all the time. I found this quote online which I think sums it up:
‘It is not only about considering our needs; it is rather about knowing what we need to do in order to take care of ourselves, being subsequently, able to take care of others as well. That is, if I don’t take enough care of myself, I won’t be in the place to give to my loved ones either.’
Ultimately it’s about looking inward in order to work outward, empowering yourself to live the happiest and healthiest life you can in such a way that you can care for others from the overflow of your own life. That sounds super cheesy ok, but I find it much easier to live an ethical life, to be kind and compassionate, when I’m taking care of myself. My reality is when I’m sad or anxious or stressed, I become more selfish. I feel like the world’s on top of me and so it’d hard to see outside of my own experiences. When I’m caring for myself I find myself looking around and wanting to do things for others not out of obligation but out of choice. Basically it’s super easy, love yourself and love others. And it doesn’t have to be super hard, it’s about small habits that we cultivate into routines, it’s about perspective shifts, getting a little bit creative and, most importantly, understanding yourself. The more you get to know yourself the more you can identify what you need, the more you can practise self care. There are a million simple, easy ways to do self care in order to love others, and I’m hoping to share some of the things I’ve discovered in the coming weeks to hopefully give you inspiration.
Here’s a some of the things I have coming up:
Ooh what could all these titles mean?! Well you’ll have to wait and see 😉
Are you ready to come on the journey with me? Like I said I’m not perfect, and hopefully hearing your thoughts will help us all learn together. I can’t wait.
Until next time, stay magic y’all.