For those of you who follow my Instagram page, you will know that this July we've been doing the #30daysofselfcare challenge. Why? To generate awareness around what self-care involves and to show that it can take many shapes & forms; and to encourage people to start showing up in the world and looking after themselves without shame. Many people seem to have the idea that self-care means taking yourself for a spa day, getting your nails done or wearing a mask with cucumber on your eyes. While these things could technically form part of one's self-care rituals, self-care is far more than that. In fact, it refers to really taking time to care for yourself in the ways that you need most. This means putting thought and intention behind your actions and choosing to do certain things for yourself.
So how do you figure out what your need most? You listen in, not only to what your mind is telling you but ask yourself, "what is my body telling me", "what is my gut telling me?". You need to listen really carefully and dare to allow yourself to go with what feels right. This can be kinda strange at first. You may feel like you need to take a nap. Do you have the time to take a nap? Yes? Then why not take a nap! You may feel like a hearty bowl of pasta. Can you allow yourself to recognise that what your body is craving is a warm wholesome meal and grant yourself that? It's all about letting your gut and intuition guide you as opposed to what you've become accustomed to knowing as 'rules and guidelines' in your mind.
We're always being told that being 'busy' equates to success; that we should work ourselves to the bone; that hard works pays off. And it does, but if you get real with yourself, could you afford the time to take breaks and take care while also working hard? The answer is yes, you can make time. It is scientifically proven that workers who take regular breaks are able to be more productive during their working hours, which equates to greater success and progress over time. Why do we keep glorifying busy when people are highly stressed and anxious as it is? Let's learn to slow down, listen in and take care. Learning how to take care of yourself is a skill to be learnt, not a skill you are born knowing how to do. As a child, your parents are supposed to take care of you and as a teen or young adult there comes a time when you need to start to learn to take care of yourself. Many people have to start learning from a much younger age but not many realise that looking after yourself also includes making yourself feel comforted, cared for and loved.
So why should you challenge yourself to a month of consciously choosing self-care everyday? Because it makes you consciously aware of things you are doing for yourself. It makes you live a more full and intentional life. Even if it seems like work to come up with an idea each day, once you start doing it you realise that it's not such a big deal. In fact, it can be something so small but the intention behind it is pure and good and so you feel the benefits of it almost immediately. And guess what? All of those self-care activities add up over time, they build and build and they make you feel refueled, energized and more available to show up and give to others around you.
The challenge for me, so far, is helping to make me aware of the value in each day that I live without letting the weeks all blend in together. It's helping me to consciously assess how I would like to spend my day and how I want to feel each day.
How do you want to feel today? What can you do to help yourself achieve that feeling? Can you make time for that? Then do it, and you will thank yourself later!
It's not too late to join the challenge! You can start anytime.