Prioritising self-care is a topic I discuss a lot in my counselling room and often clients associate the idea of it with being selfish and uncaring. Sometimes this belief is inherited learning from an external influence such as parents, friends or their community and other times it’s more internal, often stemming from a sense of low self-esteem. Whatever the reason, for them to put themselves before others just doesn’t come naturally.
For me though, prioritising self-care has the potential to do a lot of good, not just for the individual but for their networks too. For example, something as small as scheduling in some exercise or watching your favourite movie and making sure it happens is proven to have a beneficial effect on your mental or physical health, which in turn makes you better able to juggle all the other aspects and responsibilities of your busy day.
A long bath instead of a quick shower
When Covid-19 turned the world upside down, I realised that in order to best get through it, I needed to ‘practice what I preach’ and make sure to prioritise self-care in order to best look after my family, my friends and neighbours and my livelihood. Amongst other things, this has meant; taking the pressure off myself to achieve work-wise, sticking to my morning yoga routine when the kids want their breakfast, taking time to Zoom friends regularly and for once having a long bath instead of a quick shower.
A new approach
And so far, so good. The work still gets done, the children and garden are fed and watered (eventually) and I’m able to read the news without thinking the end of the world is nigh. In fact, there’s a part of me that is starting to see the current situation as an opportunity to maintain more of a consistent self-caring approach to myself, once the lock down has ended and some sort of semblance to normality has returned.
Why not try it?
I know for a lot of people it is difficult for them to put themselves first. Caring for their families, meeting their work targets, the upkeep of their houses, the education of their children all seem to take precedence, but as a suggestion of something that might help you get through these difficult times, why not schedule some mandatory time in your day to exercise self-care? Putting yourself first isn’t selfish if it helps you keep going during these, or any other difficult times.
Find out more about self-care here: