Self-care isn't always Instaworthy: in praise of the unglamorous stuff
When I was growing up, I made a promise to keep the Brownie Guide Law. It essentially involved me pledging to think of others before myself and do a good turn every day. Some kids don't take it seriously, sure, but for a lot of my childhood and even into my teenage years, my diligence meant I was a doormat.
My concern for the happiness and comfort of other people left me no room to protect myself, so I was an easy target for bullies, people looking to offload work to someone else and a real striver for impossible perfection.
I broke the Law and... I won
Now, some twenty years on from making that promise, I've learnt that it's too simple a motto. Yes, it's good to think of others before yourself, but in order to do so you need to be well and able first. You can only serve others after serving yourself, otherwise your resources become depleted over time. In other words, you need self-care.
A lot of people are promoting self-care nowadays, which is positive. However, Instagram's idealised #selfcare gallery can lead to people think self-care is all about long soaks in a pretty bath of bubbles and burrowing into perfectly hygge spaces to read. I love a bubble bath, don't get me wrong, but it's not the only answer, nor the whole picture.
Many self-care attempts aren't so photogenic
Some non-Instaworthy examples of self-care that I have wavering success with include:
- Getting my hair cut before it goes into 'up-do only' territory
- Having some proper food in the fridge and cupboards
- Buying a coffee out, if I feel like I need warming-up
- Seeing the nurse as soon as I notice things are playing up
- Drinking plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated
- Putting my clothes away so they are neat when I wear them next
- Leaving plenty of time to get my stuff together before going out
- Managing my diary so I have at least one, ideally two, nights in during the week
- Making the bed as soon as I get up, so that it's tidy when I re-enter the room
Give yourself credit for the small things you do each day. Brushing your hair. Renewing your library books. Putting petrol in the car. All of it is self-care, and without it you'd probably find progress a bit tricky.
If this post does one thing, I want it to be a high-five to those who are kicking butt at doing the private or unglamorous self-care stuff.
It's just as hard, if not harder, to get your day-to-day shit together. The bubble bath can wait.
Share your simple self-care ideas with the world on Twitter, tagging @YayEveryDay_, or leave a comment below. All progress counts!