Self-care is all the rage at the moment and while I think it’s BRILLIANT that we’re finally seeing the value in nurturing ourselves I also think it’s important that the idea of self-care doesn’t become just another thing on our To Do list. As parents, we have enough to do and enough to feel guilty about without adding anything else to our plate.
Don’t have time for an hour of Yoga or a hot bubble bath? Don’t fret! It doesn’t mean you’ve failed at self-care. In fact, I think one huge aspect of self-care is taking the guilt out of existing altogether. And what better day to celebrate being kind to ourselves than World Kindness Day? Kindness starts with you.
So in the spirit of that kindness here are five alternative self-care tips. Not a bubble bath or yoga session in sight (although, it must be said, those are very nice too…):
1. Say one kind thing when you look in the mirror
I was the best at berating myself when I looked in the mirror, focusing on the parts of my appearance that I didn’t like about myself and then letting those ideas become everything. At low points the way I felt about my reflection often flowed into the way I felt about myself in other areas of my life. I’d see a wobbly tummy and tell myself I was lazy, or I’d see under-eye bags and tell myself I was tired and “past it”. Changing that voice was probably one of the single most important things I did to be kind to myself – worth more than any bubble bath.
2. Ditch the diet
Diets exist to make money. They tell us that we’ll feel better about ourselves and more confident when we lose weight – whatever our start weight is. But studies show that dieting does not give you a more positive body image, in fact it can have the opposite effect (this podcast episode from body image researchers has some excellent information on this).
3. Cut down on social media
There’s a wealth of evidence to show scrolling is not good for our soul. While social media can be a fantastic way to connect with people and ideas and messages, it can also make us vulnerable to good old comparison syndrome. The best way you can protect your mental health and give yourself a bit of love is to go easy on the scrolls, have regular social media blackout days and learn to break-up with your phone every once in a while.
4. Phone a friend
The other problem with social media is that it can make us feel connected when we’re not. There is literally no alternative for some real face-to-face (or phone to face) communication. You know that feeling you get when you chat to a friend you haven’t seen in ages? That little spark of joy that comes from sharing a real time conversation with someone you care about? That feeling is like a warm hug and is worth a thousand likes on an Instagram post.
5. Listen to a podcast
The thing I love about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you do other stuff. Sure, if you’ve got time for a bubble bath then listening to a podcast in the bath is just lovely. But you can also listen to a podcast while cooking tea, doing the school run, walking to work etc etc. And podcasts can expand our ideas, make us think, inspire us and make us laugh in a way not unlike reading a book.
Happy World Kindness Day! Now, go and be kind to yourself – love yourself first. x