This is my first blog post and I’m a little nervous that it’ll come accross as complete rubbish but anyway, I’ll give it a bash. So, if you are taking the time to read this, I am very grateful. If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that Self Care is a topic that I mention regularly. I think it’s something that most of us struggle with at the best of times. I know that I certainly do, for various reasons,but mainly because I don’t prioritise it enough and can make excuses because sometimes it feels like effort… Can anyone relate?
So what is self care??
Is it looking after our image, eating well, setting boundaries, exercising, buying nice things, saying no, saying yes, taking a break, meditating, asking for help, having a massage, meeting a friend for coffee, getting enough sleep? Bla bla bla…the list is kind of endless. I suppose (for me anyway) its about integrating different things into my life that help me to cope and function as best as I can. It’s about giving myself the space to recognise when things are getting on top of me, or when starting to feel off kilter. Numerous things can contribute to this in both my worklife and homelife. Some pressures are unavoidable, but some others are ones that I can make a concious effort to eliminate or reduce in my day to day life.
I think as women (and I’m sure for men too at times), we can really struggle to admit when we are finding things a bit tough. I think we live in an era where we are supposed to ‘have our shit together’. We ‘should’ have successful careers and perfectly well-mannered children with structured bed time routines. We ‘should’ have perfect skin, size 10 figures, perfectly polished nails and perfectly shaped eyebrows, not to mention maintain beautiful homes that look like show houses all the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I think these pressures have always existed for women, but I personally feel like they have been magnified in recent years. I feel like picture perfect insta stories have a lot to answer for when it comes to the expectations we place on ourselves as women! I am guilty of this myself, and often post stories and pics of lovely family outings, or my good side after I’ve had my make up or hair done! It can certainly create an illusion that all is wonderful and we our ‘living our best life’. I can’t stand that phrase. I also wonder if this is creating a further barrier for women to be honest about how things really are, about the challenges of trying to juggle work life and home life, about the realities of parenting and how testing and scary this can be, about how lonely and isolating it is to be a stay at home mam sometimes, about guilt and the mental load we carry around and trying to manage all that stuff. It’s hard to reach out and be honest, if we are under the illusion that everyone else around us is managing just fine!
So how do we take care of ourselves then??
For me, the word ‘honesty’ comes to mind. Maybe it’s about having those real conversations with each other about how it really is. The good, the bad and the ugly! Maybe it’s about asking a friend for help or offering it to someone who might need it. I can be a great woman for offering support to others but less comfortable with being on the receiving end of it. Something I am trying to work on at the minute! Look at the expectations you have set for yourself and ask yourself are they realistic? If not, look at what needs to change. Also, a gentle reminder to ourselves that ‘insta stories’ are not giving the full picture, just the edited version!
None of us have ‘our shit together’. We are all just trying our best.
Thanks for reading!