Self-care – a concept that has green juiced, morning workouts and scented candles written all over it. However Self love can be as simple as a 20-minute nap, deleting or unfollowing people who no longer serve their purpose in your life or looking at the scales on your bathroom floor and decide you know what I’m going to start my day with self-love not self-criticism.
How my self-care has changed.
Self-care for me pre-baby was all about exercise and healthy eating. Things have shifted after my beautiful boy entered this world. I once felt a sense of achievement waking up early in the morning for a mountain climb or laps in a pool. Little did I realise my physical fitness and priorities would change after having a baby and squeezing in an early morning climb or swim is not as important to me anymore. My self-care changed to waking up every morning seeing the face of my cheeky little monkey smiling at me. Just a second of watching him be happy is so humbling. For me now exercise is restorative but my commitment has turned to casual. When Lucas is in a good mood we walk the beach together, walk the river or gardens with friends or walk to his grandparent's house in either direction. It’s running a bath and putting on my favourite acoustic songs on while my son has his midday sleep. Reading mindful books, drinking green tea, Or it's getting my husband to look after him while I go shopping or catch up with friends.
I know so many mums who get up before dawn to go for their run or read the news or drink a coffee. They say “look I'm doing this thing just for me, this is self-care. But is it really self-care if it's sacrificing their sleep for ?. They don’t want to burden their family or to ask their spouse to watch the kids for an hour? This isn’t true self-care this is trading one self-care for another. True self-care would be finding a balance getting enough sleep, being able to trust family to look after the kids and doing the thing they find restorative.
Self-care means lowering your expectations, not beating yourself up for partaking in restorative behaviours you won't see on Instagram. (putting your kids in front of the telly, eating an entire block of Cadbury chocolate).
I get so many clients that get so frustrated because they want to get fit but never want to go for a run or go to the gym. Whenever I get more details from them it turns out they hate going for a run or going solo to the gym. It hurts their knees or they feel the intimidation of going to the gym alone to high so they pay a membership only to never go. So I say to them to do what makes them happy and checks off their personal boxes for restoration. If it means going for a walk or dancing around at home. I inform my clients to always do self-care that actually cares for you as you are, not who you wish you were. Do whatever makes you feel good.
You don’t have to do all those things that give you Insta inspo. Do whatever you feel suits your life and what fills up your empty tank. Make time for those things that make you feel whole and enrich your life. Those are the things that authentically make you happy. The pure essence of self-care.