You know when you get on an airplane and before take off they do a safety demonstration? If you’re not a flyer then maybe you’ve seen it in a movie? There’s that bit where they show how a mask might drop down if there is an emergency, and they tell you how to put it on. Then they say a really important thing – make sure you get yours on before helping anyone else.
At this point you’re either thinking “too right!” or you’re thinking “but what about my kids / mother / grandparents”. But I have to tell you – if that mask drops you’ve got to go all Chesney Hawkes, because there’s only one person that matters right in that moment and that’s you. Here’s why:
You can’t help anyone else if you are struggling to breathe.
By making sure that you look after yourself first, then you are physically able to look after those around you. Hmmm, when else might that apply? Oh yeah! Just, like, every day.
I’m just going to say it. Self-care. There. It’s in the open now. It might not be a phrase you are particularly fond of. I hear ya. However, perhaps now more than ever it is important to make sure we’ve looked after ourselves first so we can be there for our family and friends. (As long as you keep 6 foot away from non-household members of course.)
Now, I know you want to do right by your family. They’re important and you’d feel awful if anything happened to them whilst you were just lounging around. But how can you be your best self if you are exhausted looking after everyone else and putting yourself at the bottom of the list.
For those of you still protesting, self-care isn’t just about being indulgent whilst the kids are poking fingers into plug sockets. Nope. It’s so much more than that. Take a gander (and make sure to read to the end as the last one is my favourite).
Pinch the Pennies
I’m starting with a tough one first and risking a sensitive subject here. Money. Don’t consider this to fall under self-care? Think again. Worrying about money can lead to depression and anxiety, which in turn can lead to other health issues and, well let’s just say, it’s one to avoid.
I’m not going to tell you how to spend your cash. Want to donate to a good cause? Go ahead. Takeaway instead of cooking. No problem. Friend needs a sub until the weekend? Sure. But if you are prone to lending money that never finds its way home, intentionally or otherwise, or takeaway is the norm, there may be one or two difficulties on the horizon.
Taking some time to reassess your spending habits on a regular basis is time well spent (if you’ll pardon the pun). It enables you to be there for your loved ones both emotionally and financially.
If you are already struggling with debt – get help, don’t suffer alone. (UK readers can start with National Debtline who offer advice on both budgeting and debt solutions)
Whew! with that one out of the way, we can look at something more fun.
Expand Your Mind
Okay, I said more fun, and increasing your knowledge of the world around you or learning a new skill or visiting a (virtual) museum gets you out of the day to day and takes your mind off worries or the humdrum. Best of all, you can do this with or without a learning buddy – be that a partner or children and that way you get double whammy. You’re looking after yourself and them.
Walk on the Wildside
We’re all being encouraged to do more walking during ‘lockdown’ (if we are able) to ensure that we continue to get exercise. This is a great self-care tip for all the family. It’s clear that as human beings we do love to be outdoors and walking in the park, along a riverbank or on the beach are all ways to turn down the volume on the chaos of the modern world.
If you can’t get out right now check out some of my Sunday Walks as an alternative.
I’m not saying be rude to people here (although it can be tempting at times – or is that just me?) rather give Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even the news a miss now and again, and certainly first thing in the morning. They can be great sources of inforamtion but if you find that frequent ‘happy’ posts are actually making you anxious, or that daily news updates are increasing your fear of the world just shut them off for a bit. Shut off the FOMO too. Some of the most successful people in the world do not read the news and it’s not doing them any harm.
Catch Some Zzzs
I’m bad at this one so I fully sympathise if you struggle to shut off at night and get the full 7-8 hours. We all know it’s important so why do we ignore that natural need to let our bodies recover? Whatever the reason, we can’t be fully functional if we don’t get a good night’s sleep so I’m going to try harder, what about you?
Get Some Food for Thought
Yes, I mean real food as this is also needed to keep our brains working properly and stop us keeling over. Keep skipping breakfast because you are feeding everyone else? Keep skipping lunch because you are “dedicated” to your job and making sure you don’t let anybody down or you are “too busy”? Busy shmizzy.
Well listen up, you can’t do anything for anyone if you’re lying in A&E with a nasty cut after passing out and banging your head. (Too much? Okay, just eat your dinner!)
Dance Like No-One’s Watching
Ooooh, I love a good dance, me. Music has the ability to lift your spirits or relax you, whichever you need most. A good dance can reinvigorate you and just take your mind of everything else. Have a friend join you and it’s twice the fun.
If that’s too much for you then take time to just sit and listen to music. Of course, if your day is full, have it on in the background.
See, self care is more than just having a bath. It’s about the overall looking after yourself in pretty much the same way as you would want to look after someone else. Practicing what you preach so to speak and not feeling guilty about doing so.
What are you going to do to be your best self? Share in the comments
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