What does this mean to you?
Whatever it is, this week embrace it. With all of your being.
Self-care is something positive you do just for yourself.
Maybe it’s a hot bath, a cup of tea, meditation, yoga, reading, painting, dancing, playing video games, gardening, cooking, cleaning or simply lying on the lawn staring at the clouds.
For me, its taking time in the morning to wash my face with care, brush my teeth slowly, moisturise and do yoga with Adriene (of course).
Developing a morning self-care routine really helped me move through depression and find love for myself.
And something I still have to work on every day to maintain as I’m easily distracted by other things.
Cleaning the house, replying to emails, I’m a pro at avoiding self-care, yet I know from experience how vital it is for positive mental health.
Your mission this week is to spend some time every day doing something that is just for you. With no apologies.
Benefits of self-care
Caring for yourself by giving love to your body and mind every day is essential to personal happiness.
The benefits of self-care include:
- Improved mental and physical health
- Enhanced ability to fight illness or disease
- Increased self-esteem and self-awareness
- Ability to give more to others from a place of strength
Most of all, self-care increases the love we have for ourselves and this, my friends, is the greatest gift of all.
What is self-love?
Self-love is being your own best friend, every day, throughout your entire life.
It’s having your own back.
Supporting and believing in yourself no matter what.
It’s setting boundaries and admitting when you are wrong.
It’s acceptance, forgiveness, and respect for who you are, deep down inside.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
I’m not sure when I stopped loving myself, maybe I never did. I’m not really sure.
As far back as I can remember I have always given all my love and care to others.
I now realise, in a semi-desperate plea to be loved, accepted and appreciated because I didn’t feel this way towards myself.
It all came to a head in 2017 when I lost everything I believed to be true in my world following a series of traumatic events.
And as I worked to implement the self-care actions that had served me in the past (yoga, journalling, gratitude) – I realised I had no love myself.
In truth, I couldn’t even look at myself in a mirror. The sheer act of it repulsed me.
Mirrors are there to ensure I don’t stab myself in the eye with a toothbrush, that’s it.
It wasn’t until the start of this year, I was able to look in a mirror and be OK with the person looking back.
This last week, I also realised that I have been extremely judgemental, not only of myself but the world around me.
Wondering if you are judgemental? Read this article.
In the early days of depression, I listened to an audiobook called The Joy Plan.
The Joy Plan provided me with 2 valuable tools that help me improve the love I have for myself.
The first is to look at myself in the mirror each day and repeat a positive affirmation.
Mine changes but usually its “you are loved, you are amazing, you can achieve anything you dream”.
It felt very uncomfortable in the beginning and I would often break my own gaze and cry.
But over time, I’ve come to accept it.
The second is to give the negative thoughts in my head a name.
Mine is called Janice. The bitch in my head.
Giving my negative thoughts a name helped me to recognise and reduce their occurrence.
Whereas before I always saw the horrible or ugly i.e look at that woman’s horrible dress, haircut, shoes – now I mostly see beauty.
So much so that sometimes I want to call to people in the street – I LOVE YOUR DRESS! Or whatever it is that has caught my eye.
This thought alone makes me feel better in life.
Plus, telling Janice to “shut the fuck up” often makes me laugh out loud.
If you re struggling with self-love, I highly recommend giving these a try – or searching online for something that works for you.
There are hundreds of articles with advice out there and its important to go with the one that speaks to you.
This week I’m testing the concept of mirror work from this article.
Although I am happier than I have ever been, there is always work to be done.
Let me know if you decide to try it too or what works for you.
Learning to love yourself, acknowledging and letting go of negative thoughts and accepting who you are is a vital ingredient in a happy life.
We are all stardust – the science
In its simplest form, the human body is created from 7 billion billion billion atoms, interacting with each other to in various combinations to create oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorous.
The building blocks for all humanity.
From the air that we breathe to the food that we eat, every molecular component (solid, liquid and gas) is created from these atoms and elements.
As we consume these molecular components they are repurposed into bodily functions or rejected as waste.
The reality is, our bodies are made up entirely of the environment around us.
And astrophysics has proven that atoms, the source of all molecular components, are created through the chemical reactions of a dying star.
When hydrogen within a star starts to burn out, the molecular bonds of other elements are broken, leaving only hydrogen and helium gas.
As hydrogen and helium atoms mix together in random concurrence in the atmosphere, they form new bonds, creating oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorous.
The primary elements of all life of earth.
From the stars, we came and to the stars, we will return.
For more watch this TEDx talk by astrophysicist, Michelle Thaller.
My point is, whenever you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.
That you are not enough.
Remember, that you are literally formed from the elements of a dying star. You are not accidental.
The light that shines so brightly in the sky also shines in you.
Let your light shine bright until you slowly unravel and become the earth or return to the sky in a supernova.
This weeks mission
Commit to a daily action of self-care. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual – do one thing every day that makes you feel good.
For more ideas, have a look at this blog post.
If you re struggling with self- love, start a journal and use it to have conversations with yourself and work through the emotions you are feeling.
More on this next week.
See you then!