The other night I was lying in a piping hot bath watching an episode of Gilmore Girls when I started to get restless. I was about to hop out and do something else when I said to myself, "I'll stay in for 20 more minutes to really make the most of this." Hold on a second, was I trying to have a bath "right"?
I didn't want to be in there anymore but I was caught up in some stereotype of what self-care looks like instead of actually taking care of myself.
Don't get me wrong: I love long, luxurious bubble baths. If they include decadent beauty products and lots of bubbles, all the better.
But self-care isn't one thing for all situations.
There are the usual ways we're told to take care of ourselves: having a bath. Going to bed early. Exercising. Taking a walk. Painting our nails. Eating healthy.
But ultimately, self-care is about tuning into our own needs and taking care of them.
People tell me I work too hard and push myself too much. That I need to take care of myself more.
It's true, life is full steam ahead right now. But in my mind, there's a time to ease up and a time push through. Both can be ways of taking care of myself.
I’ve figured out what it’s going to take to make my dreams come true this year and I’m not playing around. Which means my diary is filled to bursting with to-do lists and action plans.
Many of my friends have urged me to take a time off. To make time for myself.
But this is time for myself. This is me bringing my best self and my biggest dreams to life. That’s what feels good right now.
There are days when I'm too tired to write another word and my creative spirit feels tapped out. That's when I need to be gentle with myself. Even if I want to be productive and tick something else off my to-do list, I ask myself what I need and I listen.
Sometimes self-care might look like staying up all night, scribbling down thoughts, tweaking my website, and working on my ebook. Others, it might be going to bed right after dinner, reading for an hour, and having a really early night.
Sometimes self-care might look like a takeaway on the couch watching crappy TV. Others it might be a nice dinner out and too much Prosecco while chatting with a girlfriend until the wee hours of the morning.
Sometimes self-care might look like a perfectly curated outfit, fancy hair, and red lips that make me feel like my best self. Others it might be curling up in an oversized sweater and leggings so that I feel utterly comfortable.
Try this: put your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Quiet your mind and ask yourself, "What do I need?" And then just listen. Sit with the question for as long as you need to get an answer.
Take care of yourself by attending to that need.
Ask yourself this whenever you need to. When you're feeling lost or sad. When you're faced with a decision you're uncertain about. When your heart says one thing but your brain says another.
But make a ritual out of it as well. Schedule time for yourself each week and actually put it in your diary. Make it non-negotiable, uninterrupted you time. And take care of yourself. Whatever that means for you on that particular day.
Do you have any self-care routines?How could you take better care of yourself?
Love, rainbow bath bombs, & kickass dance parties,
Photograph by Melancoly.