Why Self Care Isn’t All About You
Co-Founder Self Care Psychology
Self Care is a buzzword. It’s out there and it’s all in our feeds, telling us that if we have a bubble bath and get a manicure, we’ll all be Beyoncé. And who doesn’t want that? No really. I would love that. But self care in its truest sense is so much more than than that, and so much less individualistic.
Self Care is good for us, good for those we love, and good for society, and it’s all interconnected. As Socrates himself advocated, we must develop a thoughtful relationship of self-to-self to care for others in a healthy manner. It’s not a fad, it’s not millennials having a pity party, it’s the cornerstone of living well, something that seems increasingly in crisis for our society
We must develop a thoughtful relationship of self-to-self to care for others in a healthy manner.
Photograph by Sam Manns via Unsplash
Our mission at SelfCare Psychology is to support women to find their OK, despite having shit to do and no magic money tree. And that means encouraging women to support each other. Because we are not alone in this, and without each other, we won’t succeed. This isn’t airy fairy bullshit; a review of 148 studies concluded that ‘the influence of social relationships on the risk of death are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity’.
Relationships and community are key to wellbeing, and they don’t happen by accident. They take deliberate and concerted effort, and too often we forget how important this connection is.
Building connection IS self care.
So what is connection? What should we be striving for? The ever fabulous (and definitely NOT airy fairy) Brene Brown defines it as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
That’s the culture we need to be promoting. That’s the community we need to grow. A place where we can be our real selves, accept and be accepted in return. As women, we are not always good at this. Too often we tear each other down for the momentary boost it gives us. Too often we spend night after night parked in front of Netflix once we’ve done ALL the tasks, because it’s just too much effort to connect. Behaviours that can be beneficial and restorative, but easily become hibernation from the world and a rut we can’t get out of. So what can we do about it?
How can we take ownership and add connection to our self care arsenal?
No (wo)man is an island.
Photograph by Ian Schnieder via Unsplash
It’s so easy to think other things are more important, that we’re too busy, so that scheduling time to spend with friends and family can feel like a luxury. But as we’ve just established, it’s not, it’s essential basic self care! I can’t remember ever skipping cleaning my teeth because I had too much on. So make that time.
Actually Enjoy It
So you’ve now prioritised it, and you’ve made that time, and you’re on a roll, and … oh you’re checking Facebook and mentally planning next week’s meals. NO. Be present. Enjoy the time and fully give yourself to it.
When people talk and share with you, listen. Truly listen. Radical I know. Surprisingly difficult though when you actually check yourself. Someone once told me that you’re not listening if you’re thinking about what to say next when someone’s talking. When you start noticing, it’s surprising how shit we can be at this basic skill.
Share how you feel with people you trust. Be open and honest and allow yourself to receive support. This can feel SERIOUSLY uncomfortable if you’re not used to it. It’s easy to fall back on the ‘I’m fines’. But give it a try, and you’ll be surprised how good it feels, and how much it helps.
Create your own #selfcaresquad. Actively put effort into creating, maintaining, and building relationships with others. Reach out to people you haven’t seen in awhile. Meet for that coffee you’ve been meaning to do for ages. Making friends is a skill and we have to work at it.
Having said all of the above, be selective. Think about the people in your life and how they add to it. Some people are just toxic. Ditch them. You want quality not quantity. The same goes for social media. Think about who and what you follow and interact with and be intentional.
Above all else, remember no (wo)man is an island. John Donne knew his stuff. We need each other to be whole. Share #selfcaresquad to connect with each other and us, and help each other on the way. When Mel invited us to write this guest blog, we were delighted- because women supporting women make incredible things happen.
Kate Collier is a Co-Founder at SelfCare Psychology where she is on a mission to help all those multi-tasking super women out there, with real lives and an appreciation for straight talking, shift Self Care from a luxury to a responsibility. Find her and the #selfcaresquad at www.selfcarepsychology.com, on their twitter, facebook and Instagram.
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