The Importance Of Self-Care (A More Realistic Approach!)

Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash

Originally published on 22nd November 2019

I woke up this morning and I was annoyed at myself. I’d put others above myself and I was mad because it was something I’d promised myself I would do anymore. I’m selfless, I know it, a lot of other people know it, and unfortunately, quite often that leads to me getting used, hurt or sadly sometimes both.

As I was feeling a bit funky and woolly-headed this morning, I decided upon an early morning shower. It was an act of self-love and self-care that came from a place of knowing that I needed to be gentle and forgiving on myself. I’d made a mistake, and that’s okay. I’m human, and even the best humans make mistakes sometimes.

After my shower though, I decided to do some research and read some of the articles out there about self-love. I have to be honest. some of the results horrified me, if only because they heavily emphasised on the “feeling good” that comes from putting other people before yourself – the very thing that I had been doing all along!

I’m not saying that you should be selfish, I’m not saying forget the world or that it’s just me from here on out, that’s not what I’m saying at all. We have to care for one another, but we have to care for ourselves, too. What good are you to others if you haven’t been good to yourself?

Some of the more commonly known and simple ways we can look after ourselves include:

  • Eating healthily
  • Exercising often
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Socialising with friends and family
  • Having a bath or shower, brush our hair and teeth
  • Stop smoking
  • Don’t physically harm ourselves
  • Avoid illegal drugs
  • Drink alcohol responsibly

All common sense stuff which are really important, but you know what? So are a lot of other things, too.

My dearly beloved father, who I miss so terribly, used to live almost religiously by those rules. Do you know where it got him? Aggressive blood cancer, he died in hospital aged just 60.

My grandmother wrote her own rules. She’d have a fruit cake if she damn well felt like it (and a piece of chocolate, too!), she did no other exercise besides housework, pottering in the garden and walking to the village every morning, yet she lived to be 81!

Since my father’s death, I have two new mottos in life. Firstly, carpe diem, because none of us know how long we have left, and also “anything in moderation”, just as my grandmother lived.

When I was in therapy, my therapist taught me the importance of rewarding myself and treating myself, and lovelies, it is so, so important that you do it, too. I never really gave it much thought, until a former friend helped compile a list of ways that I could make time for myself and reward myself, and here are some other ways that you can make time for yourself, too:

  • If you go for a brisk walk around the park, make time to stop and sit and enjoy the sunshine or the scenery.
  • Make yourself go out for coffee (if you don’t go out often), and reward yourself with a nice slice of cake while you’re there, too.
  • Break up your boring fitness routine and go swimming instead of running, or vice versa.
  • Have a long, luxurious bubble bath instead of a quick shower.
  • Have a nap if you’re feeling sleep-deprived
  • Fantasise about that cute waitress or that hot barrista without guilt or shame.
  • Learn to say no and not feel bad about it

Two little ways that I’ve allowed myself more pleasure in my life is that I’ve promised myself I will shower for longer, and more often. Too often, showers for me are about the basics; hair, wash, rinse and done. The water need only be warm enough that I’m not shivering while I have a row of a very sharp blades in my hand and they only need be long enough that I can do what I need to do, then it’s out, get dry and get dressed and get on with my day. I like showers, I like being able to think and reflect and feel my problems rinse away. With the introduction of slightly more frequent, more luxurious, longer showers in my life, I’ll be able to make that time for my handling my thoughts and feelings, too.

My other way is through my love of carrot cake. If you’re not familiar with carrot cake, then you really do need to try carrot cake. It’s sweet, light, fluffy, spicy and moist.. it’s just. So. Good! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some bloomin’ awful carrot cakes in my time (*cough* Costco *cough*), but when carrot cake is good, it’s great. If I take myself out for coffee and there is carrot cake on offer, well, sometimes a girl just has to give herself permission!

Remember, it’s fine to treat yourself sometimes. My first boyfriend told me that I should love myself first, and I thought he was silly because my young and naive self wanted to believe that romantic love should come first. Now, at my thirty one tender years, I understand what he meant. Self love comes from exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep and the such, but it comes from doing what you want and enjoying what you like as well, without guilt or shame.

And if all else fails, even if you can’t find any other justification for something other than simply because you want it, like it, or just simply feel like it’s about time you spoilt yourself. Just remember, absolutely anything is okay in moderation. So get out there and carpe diem! 😉

What’s your favourite way to treat yourself? Let me know in the comments!

Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,

Helen xx

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2 thoughts on “The Importance Of Self-Care (A More Realistic Approach!)

  1. These are really great tips! Self-care is honestly so important and it instantly makes me feel better when I’m feeling depressed or anxious. I don’t think you need to do something extravagant but simply taking a nice bath or something simple like the other things you mentioned make a huge difference.

    1. Absolutely! So many people think it needs to be a top to toe treatment but it really doesn’t. In my teens, even just putting some make-up on helped a ton. I’m glad it helps you too.