Take time back for yourself, and love yourself for it!
Propped up in bed on a marshmallow cloud of pillows and scattered cushions, cradling a deliciously hot mug of tea. The trail of burning incense swooning on the whisper of a breeze with the blissful vocal tones of Billy Holiday. Just to sit, submerged in this soulful moment, a moment of utter peace, calm, tranquillity.
I’m not thinking of anything. Not worrying about anything. Not fighting the urge to get up and get on with the chores. Just surrendering to the ripples of calm. Relaxing a little deeper into the embrace of the pillows nursing my head, neck, shoulders…breathing in deeply, slowly, the tantalising notes of bergamot. Breathing out, any shadow of everyday tension, and negativity, that I may have subconsciously started the day with. Gently resetting, focusing inwardly on nothing at all but the sublime selfishness of this small moment in time. Just accepting. Just being.
Self-care…It’s as simple as that. To anybody else observing this moment, it’s simply just a cup of tea in bed, but to me this outwardly unremarkable affair was as effective to my whole holistic well-being as a two weeklong Maldivian getaway. Two weeks filled with nothing but massages, champagne, fine dining and watching the sun set in the caress of your loved one.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a flamboyant act of overindulgence. It isn’t about expensive hours at the hairdressers or dedicating six hours a day to ‘ooommming’ whilst contorting yourself into the most uncomfortable yoga pose you can manage. Of course, these things are lovely, apart from perhaps the painful entanglement of limbs. They do also create wonderful opportunities for self-care, but they are the setting, not the act itself.
Self-Care is the mindset, not the activity. It is learning to let go, to blur out the world around you, even just for a few moments. To give recognition to your senses, to focus your busy mind on nothing other than the sweet sharpness of the lemon cheesecake that you’ve just treated yourself to in the coffee shop. The thick, creamy texture of the way it slides off the spoon into your mouth. The sound the spoon makes as it clinks gently back onto the plate to rest. Hear nothing but the softness of the classical Italian music over the sound system. See nothing or no-one in particular, just observe.
It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, or that you have a toothpaste mark on your t-shirt. It doesn’t matter what you’re having for tea or that you need to push the vacuum round when you get home. In this moment, all that matters is acceptance of who you are. Acceptance of how you’re feeling, of where you are in life right now. Acceptance that you’re incredible for being exactly who you are, and your imperfections make you exquisitely human. That moment is reserved for the tangible love of yourself.
Wrap your arms around your metaphorical body and pour all of your pride, love, respect, patience and positivity into the biggest bear hug you can possibly muster. There’s no pressure here, no expectations, just you checking in on yourself, feeling your own heartbeat, noticing the rise and fall of your own breath. Feeling what it is to be honoured with being present on this beautiful earth, in this miraculous body, in this fragile and precious life.
If you are able to set aside a few moments each day for yourself to escape the raucous of everyday life, then please do it. Your mind, body, spirit and soul will thank you for it, I promise. If you can’t, then start small, find that little ray of light in whatever it is that you may be doing! Walking the dog in the fresh air, stepping out of the office in the sun to go and get yourself some lunch. Enjoying the rarity of a hot cup of tea whilst the baby finally naps. Creating your own zone whilst you cook dinner, driving home from work in rush hour listening to your favourite album.
Find that tiny thing that makes you feel something positive, raw and honest. Tune into it, focus in on it, and let it wash over you one delicious wave at a time. You don’t need a map, a compass or a satnav, you’re here willingly to be lost, just for a little while. Directionless but safe in that tiny moment of simplicity.
You’re here to surrender to the need to move, the need to problem solve, the need to be distracted. You’re not here to judge yourself or be judged by others. You’re here to offer yourself to nothing but yourself… to remember what it feels like to just be authentically you. To rekindle your strength and capability. To be free to feel and be felt. You’re here to reconnect with your soul; with all of the light and joy that it encompasses. To allow your brain to breath, calm and reorganise. You’re here to water your wilting spirit so it can continue to root, grow and shelter.
You are here to acknowledge what it is to be in this incredible body of yours, to trace all of its freckles, stretch marks and scars and to once again fall in love with all of its unique imperfections. Acknowledge your journey within it. Love it for all that it has sacrificed and given in order for you to grow. Respect it for the roots it has spread to hold you strong and connected, right now. Nurture it, and give thanks for all of the weathers it’s still to shelter you from. It’s time to start being kinder to yourselves, you lovely lot. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something, and take those few moments back for yourself. Self care…give thanks and once again fall in love.