“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”
― Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
This Valentine’s day we want to remind you that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others, if not more! So often we get weighed down in trying to make sure everyone else is fed, clothed and happy that we forget about ourselves and become burned out. One of the best pieces of advice I received at my wedding was that you need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. As Seanen McGuire said, “No one serves their friends by grinding themselves to dust on the altar of compassion.”
Whether you are in a relationship or single, love yourself this Valentine’s! To inspire you, we put together a list of ways that you can indulge in a little self-care this valentine’s day:
Every now and then our bodies send out signals that they need some care. Headaches, tiredness, aches and pains… we’re all familiar with them.
- Take care of your health – We know this but it can be hard to actually make the effort to do it. Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and exercising regularly; good habits take time to develop but there’s no better time to start than today!
- Pamper yourself – Good self-care can be as simple as taking a little time to focus on your body. Get a manicure, deep condition your hair, have a massage, get some comfortable new shoes; do things that make you feel beautiful.
- Indulge in a comfort activity – Self-care is about more than healthy habits. Sometimes it’s good to do things that make you happy. Cuddle up in a soft blanket and read that book you’ve been meaning to get to, have a bubble bath, or get your favourite take-away meal and binge-watch that series.
Mental health is as important as physical health. You might be getting enough vitamins and exercising three times a week, but unable to stop your brain from racing away from you; or tearing up at the slightest inconvenience. Your brain needs some love too.
- Meditation – While this is often talked about from a religious viewpoint, it doesn’t need to be mystical and weird. Some people meditate by simply focusing on their breathing for five minutes, others like to pray. Find what works for you and spend just a few minutes a day clearing and calming your mind.
- Be creative – The act of creation can re-inspire you and help lift your spirits. You don’t even need to paint a picture or write a poem (although if you do that’s fantastic!), you can also release your creative spirit by trying out a new makeup look or wearing those boldly coloured shoes with lipstick to match.
- Unplug – Social media makes it so easy to compare our lives to others, making us unhappy and dissatisfied. Close Facebook and Instagram and take a moment to think about the things in your life that you are thankful for.
- Spend some time outside – Nature is wonderfully refreshing. Have a cup of tea in your garden, take a walk barefoot on the grass or get your hands a little dirty doing some gardening. The change of atmosphere from sitting in an office all day might be the pick-me-up you need.
- Journaling – while this isn’t for everyone, there are many people who find that this helps them organise their thoughts. You don’t need to write pages every day, some journals are just taking note of how you feel that day, doodling a little, or making a travel bucket list.
Humans are social creatures and we tend to suffer when isolated, even the introverts! As such it is important to spend some time with others apart from work or a busy home life.
- Have a tea/coffee date with a friend or your partner – talking to someone in a one-on-one setting allows you to connect on a more personal level. There is great value in having someone who knows about your personal issues who you can vent to, who can give you helpful, specific advice, or even just know the context so you don’t have to spend an hour giving them the whole background first. Also, you can have cake!
- Reach out to someone you miss – A phone call or even a text can reconnect you to someone you haven’t seen or talked to in a while. You’ll remember why they have a special place in your life.
- Join a new club or class – Doing something with a group of people who enjoy the same activity as you is a marvellous way to connect. Even if you don’t talk to anyone at that gym/pottery/writing class, you’ll still feel the benefits of being part of something social.
- Stop spending time with people who bring you down – Some people have a very negative effect on us that isn’t good for our mental health. It might be that co-worker who complains about everything, or a friend who always one-ups you (you know the type, they are always more tired, or had a better vacation, or baked more cookies than you). Take charge of the social input you’re receiving and cut down on how much you interact with these people. You’ll find yourself feeling much happier.
“I lied and said I was busy.
I was busy;
but not in a way most people understand.
I was busy taking deeper breaths.
I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.
I was busy calming a racing heart.
I was busy telling myself I am okay.
Sometimes, this is my busy –
and I will not apologize for it.”
― Brittin Oakman