At the start of the year I wrote a post explaining why I didn’t partake in self-care and wasn’t keen on it being the latest trend. The post was titled Why self care days aren’t for me and was triggered by a session with my counsellor who had challenged me to participate in some good old self-care. Looking back I can feel like I argued my point well and very much at the time stood by what I said, but it was a written way of me digging my heels into the ground and finding as many reasons as possible to not be nice to myself.
It’s been what, a good six months since that post was wrote? A whole lot has changed since then, the biggest one being I’ve been free of anorexia for three months! This month and a bit I’ve had to make a fair amount of changes to my lifestyle and how I treat myself and do some serious thinking on how to be nice to me. So I’m going to start this post off with one simple statement.
I was wrong about self-care.
Self care is so flipping important.
Over working and burn out are becoming more and more common in today’s world. It’s one of those funny areas where people say over working bad but is also praised it at the same time, especially in schools or the work place. This was very much the case for me, I didn’t burn out but I was doing too much. I was at college studying business, had a part-time job, was blogging here, a Guide leader and was in the process of setting up my own small business. I would get home from work or college, pull out my laptop and be up until midnight working on here or other side projects.
I did not stop.
Combine my inhuman work ethic with the fact that I had anorexia and was running off an unhealthy amount of calories a day, barely drinking and over exercising, things weren’t going to end well. I’d spoken about how much work I did to my counsellor and they very swiftly started trying to work some self-care into my life (hence the original post where I was not really loving the idea).
A lot has changed since then and part of me was tempted to get rid of the original post, but then I realised what this blog was all about, sharing my recovery. I would do me good to admit to you guys that I was wrong about something, that through the process of the year I’ve grown.
So what changed?
Well first things first, God healed me of the anorexia. I came away from that week with a larger understanding of my identity. For the first time I was finally getting a grasp of things and understood how fragile things were.
It was also the summer holidays, so Guides had broken up and I had finally finished college. I had no assignments or stressful (but fun) evenings ahead of me either. For the first time in years I had very little to do. I was also taking some time off blogging and concluded to leave starting a business this year.
I had time on my hands, a rare position that I wasn’t used to.
Without realising it I started to take better care of myself. I understood the significance of what had happened in my recovery and wasn’t about to throw all of that under the bus. I slowly came to the realisation that trying to run at 100 miles an hour just wasn’t working so I made the big decision to step down as a leader at Guides . I finally understood that I needed time out on my evenings. The realisation than my mental health was also not all that good and I was only been given more responsibility to look after the incredible girls in the unit. It would be best if I stepped down.
That was the first big decision I’ve ever made to consciously put myself first.
It’s was a big one for sure and an even bigger step in the right direction. From then on in things started getting a little easier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not up for dedicating a whole week to self care and make everyone around me pick up the slack, but I am starting to implement into my day.
I saved for over 8 months to buy myself a Nintendo Switch and that, for the most part, is how I participate in self-care. I sit down with Zelda BOTW or Minecraft and just play, no blogging, no brainstorming, no answering emails, nothing. I sit and play. Or, I get myself a good book to read, sit downstairs with my mum and stick on the latest TV series we’re binge watching. No matter what form it came in, I found that I was feeling a lot batter after being kinder to myself.
I don’t really want to label it as self-care because the more I did it the more I realised that I shouldn’t have to be labeling it as that. I shouldn’t have to be inserting this thing into my routine, I should have just been doing it to start with.
I should have been looking after myself right from the off.
But yes, I have found my mood has been improving since going at a lower pace and you want to know something crazy? My creativity has increased!
In reflection, forcing myself to continuously be throwing out ideas was appalling for my creativity. Yes I was creating content but I wouldn’t say I was creating good content (at least not as good as I could have been producing). Allowing myself to relax and just do what ever meant that I was presented to new ideas in places I wouldn’t have ever thought to have searched before. By accident I was stumbling across articles that really made me think, develop my own ideas and slowly have ideas for my own content. I was going out with my camera simply because I wanted to enjoy time with my camera, not to go looking for content for my blog and in doing so I took some of my favorite photos yet. It gave me the space to learn new things that once again sparked new ideas.
Allowing yourself to take breaks, especially as a creative, is so important.
Allowing yourself to slow the pace, not be working all the time is so important as a person. I’ve probably become a lot more tolerable to be around since my little break from all my work as I’m not constantly stressed and biting off everyone’s heads the second they do something mildly irritable.
So yes, I was so wrong about self-care. Sure it’s still a buzz word right now, the latest trend and gets on my nerves as a result, but at the end of the day it’s still important. Looking after yourself is something for everyone and if you don’t want to label it as self care then that’s more than fine. What ever you call it, however you do it, just make sure you’re being kind to yourself.
What’s your opinion on self-care? Were you like me and against it? Do you think it’s just a trend or do you see importance in it? Let me know, I can’t wait to get some more opinions on the mater.
Till next time guys, take care.