Therapy, in my experience, is something that I inevitably drop out of, usually with a renewed sense of ‘screw this, I’ll manage by myself’ and a vow to never return.
My childish attitude aside, the fact is that I eventually felt strong enough to go it alone and manage without the support of a therapist. Objectively, the therapy was successful.
So I find myself wondering, of all the ‘tools’ and techniques that I have been taught over the last 20 years, which have actually worked for me?
When we are going through a difficult time, are busy caring for others or experiencing low self-esteem, it is easy to neglect our own needs.
Meeting only the bare minimum requirements to function in your life is not meeting your needs.
So often, we don’t make time for those restorative or rejuvenating activities that can make the difference between self-belief and self-doubt.
I am personally guilty of this. As a mum to a breastfeeding newborn and a toddler, I am very much in demand and barely have time to look after myself. Sometimes I feel slightly irked that my partner leaves me with the kids while he is having a longer shower or taking a few extra minutes for self-grooming (a close shave with beard oil, what a luxury!), but the fact is, I am the one in the wrong. He understands his own self-care activities and ensures that they are undertaken on a regular basis. What’s more, he would never begrudge me the same opportunity, but I simply don’t take him up on it. But I should!
What constitutes self-care?
The concept of self-care encompasses a wide range of activities, so it is inherently subjective by nature. However, there is one key aspect that connects all of these activities, which is that it boosts the wellbeing of the individual doing it.
Here are some examples of self-care:
- Eating healthily
- Dressing up
- Getting enough sleep
- Taking time to relax
- Enjoyable activities
- Restorative activities
- Medicating appropriately
- Avoiding upsetting situations
Why is self-care so important?
In addition to the obvious physical health benefits, self-care helps you to foster a positive relationship with yourself, promoting wellbeing through feelings of increased self-worth and self-confidence. Attending to your needs can help you to strengthen your sense of autonomy over your body and your life.
Self-care as part of therapy can also be a key technique to help to shift patterns of thinking about ourselves or our bodies. By allowing ourselves to feel good, or by allowing ourselves to feel pleasure rather than pain, we really can believe (in time) that we are ‘worth it’.
So be kind to yourself! I in turn will try to follow my own advice as I have definitely not set enough time aside to help myself feel good since our new baby arrived.
Let’s do this then! I think I’m going to start with a nice sit down with a hot (yes, hot!) cuppa. If I’m lucky and my little one goes in their crib early, I might even get to have a ‘proper’ shower. I LOVE feeling clean.
Tell me, what does self-care look like for you?