I’ve always avoided articles that include the words self-care or self-love in the title. I don’t know why, I’ve just always had this idea that they’ll be…hippy. You know what I mean. “How can you expect anyone to love you, if you don’t love yourself” kind of thing. I hate that saying.
Anyway, a friend of mine was talking to me about how important self-care is for everyone and what she was saying made sense to me. So I did some research. I Googled and read all of those posts that I’d just ignored before. And you know what? They weren’t that bad! There were a few that were a bit “spiritual” for my liking but that’s just personal preference.
I’ve been trying to practice better self-care lately although some of the changes have been tough. It’s work in progress though which is a good start. The main thing that I’ve picked up through what I’ve read and started to practice, is to treat yourself more like you’d treat someone you love…a partner, a sibling, a close friend.
With that said, here’s five ways that you can start treating yourself better.
Listen to Yourself
I’ve put this at the top of the list because this is one of the things that I’ve started to get much better at. If someone you cared about told you they needed a rest day and to eat comfort food, I’m sure you’d support them. But are you as kind to yourself? Probably not.
There’s often a guilt that comes with giving yourself permission for certain things such as taking time off, having a nap, or eating whatever you fancy. Now I’m not saying you should do all of these things all of the time but sometimes your body and mind need them. Listen to yourself and give your mind and body what it needs. You’ll feel much better for it.
Be Kind to Yourself
When was the last time you told a loved one how amazing they are? Now think about when the last time you told yourself that was?
I find this one the hardest to do. There are so many negative, self-defeating thoughts in my head on a daily basis that I just let sit there. Sometimes I listen and really take it to heart, other times I just leave them there. What I should really be doing is forcing those thoughts out completely and replacing them with loving words and positive affirmations.
All too often I focus on what I haven’t been able to achieve. Instead, we should be focusing on the positives and what we have been able to achieve. This is another key part of being kind to yourself.
Pamper or Treat Yourself
Do something you love. Have a long bath, order your favourite takeaway and have a film night. Go out and get a massage or your nails done. These might seem like trivial, irrelevant things but treating yourself to something nice every so often is so important!
If you’re creative, treat yourself to some new “tools” and make something. Allow yourself to have some time alone to write, draw, paint, bake, or whatever it is that makes you smile.
Look After Your Health
Eat right and exercise. I know I’ve just said that if you want a night off or a takeaway, that you should listen to your body but not all the time! Those things should be one-offs when it’s what you really need. The rest of the time you need to be taking care of that body of yours. After all, you do only get one.
Get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing a couple of times a week. If you can exercise outdoors, even it’s just a gentle stroll, even better.
Protect yourself in the same way that you’d protect your best friend. Remember all those times you’ve told your friend they don’t need someone in their life that’s bad for them? Apply the same principles to yourself.
If there’s people in your life who are bringing you down or have a toxic effect on you, get rid of them. I know it’s not as easy as that but if that’s the advice you would give to a friend, why not yourself?
It’s also important to protect yourself from situations, not just people. If you know a situation isn’t right for you or will have a negative impact on you, avoid it if at all possible. Protect yourself from toxic and negative energy.
The key to all of these things it to try and build them into your life in a way that suits you. And, most importantly, to not feel guilty about it. This is the bit that I really struggle with – taking time off and treating myself always leave me feeling terrible but I’m working on it.
Do you have any other tips for self-care? Let me know in the comments below.