Taking care of yourself takes practise.
“Remember to take care of yourself”. These were her parting words. They came from a place of affection and love, yet were added almost flippantly as I was putting the phone down. A recent conversation with a friend got me thinking.
When I heard the words spoken, there was a small part of me that rebelled. I was surprised by this little rebel inside so gave it a little space to share.
The rebel was stomping it’s feet and crying out in exasperation. Its all very well, it was shouting, but I’m far too busy for all that. Yes, that’s exactly what it was telling me.
Hold on a second. I’m the queen of self care. It’s a key part of the work I do with all my clients, its an essential part of my ideas around health, and here the rebel was throwing it back in my face.
Of course, I hear it from clients all the time. When life is straight forward, when there are no deadlines, no family stresses, no relationship problems, the time and ability is there for self care. When no one else is pulling on your time, you have time for yourself.
Yet, when the heat is on and the stresses of life are being turned up a few notches, self care becomes more and more difficult. As the little rebel inside of me started jumping up and down, I realised one thing. In that moment, self care seemed a little, well, indulgent. Yes, it seemed indulgent of me to take time out for myself when there were so other many demands on it.
There is a marketing machine that uses words like luxury, indulge, pleasure. The campaigns state the importance of looking after yourself, yet on the other hand, use words that make you think that there is something super special about caring or nourishing yourself.
The recognition of this was important. For me, at least, it showed me that there are many sides to the notion of self care. We all have little rebels inside of us that can joke or sneer at our attempts to look after ourselves.
So, I let my little rebel have its say. It let him jump up and down and throw impossibility in my face. Then I thanked him for his views and started planning little moments in my day and week where I could do something for me. A walk here…. some breathing there.
We are complex beings, with so many aspects to ourselves. Yet, if there is one thing I have learnt, it is that they all have a right to be here and they all have a right to be listened to. And often, we might not like what they have to say, but listening can help us look after our ‘whole’ ourselves as best we can.