It all begins with you

Cliché – but true. The most important relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves. If we don’t nurture it then the foundations aren’t there.

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Recognising that you matter can take time. Life often becomes about other people and their needs. It can be built upon saying yes to things and making sure that other people are happy. It can get full with commitments and at times people can feel over loaded. The pressures of life – family, finance, children, work – the list is endless – and the stress builds.

So in all of this what really matters can get lost – you.

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When was the last time you created space for yourself? Space that feels calm and quiet. That can be hard in a busy and full life. But it is doable. And when it happens the benefits can be huge. For all of us ‘me time’ can look very different. Some people find an outlet through certain physical hobbies, others through music or reading – we are all individual – what works for one person won’t work for another.

More often than not what tends to happen is that people lean on other ways of coping with stress or dealing with the pressures of life. Ones that are not physically or psychologically good for them. This can include alcohol, drugs, caffeine, nicotine, gambling, excessive use of social media etc. Again the list is endless. But all the time spent doing these things – it could be given valuably to better self-care.

I read an article this morning on self-care for therapists and the importance of taking care of ourselves with the work that we do. But self-care doesn’t just apply to this profession. It applies to all of us – here is a list of things that I see as positive self-care. Maybe it’s time to think about how many you make space for in your life.

  • Being outdoors
  • Exercise (provided it’s not done to excess)
  • Reading
  • Watching films or programmes
  • Having a bath
  • Listening to music
  • Lighting candles
  • Practising yoga
  • Practising mindfulness – learn to live in the moment
  • Step out of your comfort zone – challenge yourself
  • Learn to be comfortable with your own body – respect it
  • Following a well-balanced diet
  • Drinking alcohol moderately
  • Peer support
  • Keep a journal – write thoughts and feelings down
  • Keep in touch with your emotions – be aware of what’s going on for you
  • Having a pet or looking after someone else’s at times
  • Cutting down on time spent on social media
  • Edit your social media feeds – remove any negativity
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Create to do lists and slowly work through them
  • Pay attention to things you usually do on autopilot
  • Do one thing every day that makes you happy
  • Laugh – a lot
  • Look after your skin
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Make time for fun – see the world through a child’s eyes
  • Get positive feedback – ask three good friends to tell you what they love about you
  • Make a date night with yourself – give yourself some pampering
  • Take regular breaks – weekends or longer

It isn’t possible for any of us to do all of these things every day. It is an extensive list and not to be followed regimentally. The idea is to incorporate as much of these things as possible into your week, so that generally you start to feel calmer and in a better place.

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Positive self-care is so important – start today. Right now – make it happen. After all – it all begins with you.