Self-care seems to be on offer for Christmas this year, but selfcare isn’t really something you can buy.
Bubble baths, face masks and manicures are a lovely way to spend time on yourself, which is certainly a part of self-care, but this only touches the surface. There is more to self-care than a weekly pamper session and its definitely something I am going to be working on in 2020.
Proper self-care isn’t very glamorous. It’s about taking responsibility for your own life, your own physical and mental health and your own finances. It’s more like being a parent to yourself than a good-time only friend.
Sometimes that means making yourself cook a vaguely healthy meal rather than getting a take away, even if you can’t be bothered. Sometimes it’s forcing yourself to push the vacuum around the living room because you know it makes you feel better when your relaxing space is neat and tidy. Sometimes it’s actually opening your credit card bill and finally making a plan to pay it off. Sometimes it’s making that appointment that you’ve been putting off, whether that be with a dentist, a financial advisor or your friendly local hypnotist to get yourself sorted.
Self-care means it’s time to stop being a martyr to your situation and start changing your situation. It means making the time to do what you need to do, whether that means sorting out childcare, arranging a half day at work or booking a longer break. It means holding yourself accountable.
Being a parent to yourself isn’t just about bossing yourself around and getting things done though, it’s also about the way you speak to yourself. You need to be a loving parent, to speak words of encouragement, to recognise a job well done, to build yourself up in the way the best parents do with their kids.
Imagine that inside of you there is a little 7 year old version of you, who is a little bit scared, slightly confused and, let’s face it, totally flabbergasted that they are being asked to be an adult. That little one doesn’t need to be berated when they do something wrong, or called stupid, fat, lazy or whatever stick you choose to beat yourself with today. They deserve to have their mistakes patiently explained and different courses of actions laid out for them.
So yes, by all means enjoy boxes of chocolates and champagne in a bubble bath, but don’t mistake this alone as self-care. In 2020 I urge you to face up to the things you’ve been hiding from, that make your tummy feel a bit squirmy (not in a good way!) when you think about them and deal with them. Don’t worry, I’ll be right here doing the same thing in all its ugly glory. Let’s not take the crap from this year with us for the whole of the new decade.