When we talk about self care, many people seem to link it with being selfish, which is an entirely different thing. “I’m too busy at work/looking after the family/doing the housework – shopping – gardening and many other reasons that we don’t have time to look after ourselves properly. Yet, how can we be in the right place to cope with the ups and downs of life and look after others if we’re not in the right place ourselves?

Being selfish is doing what you want to do or having whatever you want regardless of others. Ignoring their needs to satisfy your own and can only lead to resentment, arguments and unhappiness.

Self care, on the other hand, can be just a small thing that you can enjoy and look forward to. There are, of course, big things that will make you feel better, going on holiday or a weekend away, new clothes or a visit to the hairdresser, but these things will have to wait until the pandemic is well and truly over and while we all look forward to those things, they don’t really qualify as self care.

It’s the simple little things that are important here, taking a coffee break with a good book or magazine, a short walk in the fresh air, doing some gentle or vigorous exercise or watching your favourite TV show, meditating, playing a game with the kids, take a long hot bath, whatever you enjoy doing that always lifts your spirits.

These little things are so easy to put off, always thinking you’ll get around to it later, but how often does ‘later’ drift into tomorrow or the next day?

So, think about what it is that you would like to do for yourself, just for 15 – 30 mins, every day or 3 -4 times per week, whatever is realistic. Discuss it with your spouse/partner, suggest that they may want to do something too, either together or separately. You can agree on a regular time and write it on the calendar or stick a note on the fridge to remind yourself and everyone else that this is your time.

With that done, you can really start to relax, knowing that you have your little bit of time to look forward to, your time to do something for yourself without feeling guilty. I guarantee that after a while you will notice that you are much calmer, happier and much more able to deal with everything and everyone else making demands on your time and your life.

Relax, be calm, be happy

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