Self care is a buzzword at the moment and if you look at marketing it suggests self care means buying a new moisturiser or getting your hair done. Don’t get me wrong I love a new moisturiser or hairdo but is that what self care is about?
Self care – taking care of yourself. If I was to say I was “caring for my grandmother” would you imagine I was taking her to the spa for a massage? Probably not. To me self care means doing something to take care of your health and wellbeing, physical and mental. Sometimes that means putting off instant gratification in favour or doing something that will help you to feel better in future.
So how do we get in the way of our self care and what can we do to improve it?
Delaying instant gratification
The desire for instant gratification is a biggie here!
- Are you genuinely tired and in need of an extra hour in bed? Or would you be better served getting up to do some exercise before work?
- Do you need a new skin cream or would you be better served by putting that money aside as savings?
- Should you grab a takeaway on the way home or take time to make a proper meal when you get in?
Noticing when things feel uncomfortable
Sometimes the “best thing” for our health or wellbeing can make us feel a bit uncomfortable or anxious so it’s easy and understandable that sometimes we try to avoid doing it.
- dealing with money makes you feel anxious so you never have time to see an expert about a mortgage or pension plan
- a relationship isn’t going well but you avoid having a difficult conversation with the other person because deep down you fear what might come of it
- you have had a strange pain recently but you are a bit nervous of going to the doctor so you hope it goes away
It’s completely normal to want to avoid uncomfortable situations and it’s something that every human being does. Last week when my tax self assessment was due in I suddenly felt the need to deep clean and declutter the entire house! A sparkling house is great but will I feel good about that when that tax return still needs doing? FYI it’s done now! A little bit of avoidance is fine. It does become an issue though if it’s happening a lot and it starts to impact on your emotional and physical wellbeing.
So how do you get a balance here? How do you know if you are avoiding difficult things? Next time you feel you “should” be doing something pay attention to what thoughts are going through your head. Notice any feelings you are having. Perhaps your body is showing signs of anxiety – faster heart rate, sinking stomach feeling. Investigate what’s going on for you. Be careful not to start getting impatient with yourself. Are there any negative automatic thoughts or unhelpful thinking styles coming into play? If you are anxious can you get a sense of what the anxiety is about? A lack of confidence? Fear of disapproval from others?
Doing that can help you gain a bit of self awareness as to what could be going on for you. Once you understand that you can start making decisions from a place of empowerment rather than fear.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone
Once you have identified that you are starting to feel anxious do things that take you a little bit out of your comfort zone. Choose things that make you feel a little on edge but not straight into panic zone.
- if money causes you a lot of anxiety how about resolving to look at your bank balance every day
- if you feel overwhelmed by a big project at work how about taking 10 mins to plan what you might do to tackle it
It’s important to pick a goal that will challenge you but that you can achieve. Don’t set yourself up to fail by choosing something that is too difficult.
If you read this and found some things that resonated with you but perhaps you can’t quite get to the bottom of the issue? Counselling could help you. Contact me for more information or adviceSchedule Appointment
I am Anna and I founded Relax Therapies six years ago as a Massage Therapist. Many of my clients struggled with mental health and I wanted to be able to help so I trained as a counsellor.
I know that it is hard to make the decision to seek help but I promise that you will be heard and treated with respect and kindness.