One of the most important things we can do when it comes to self-care, is having time alone and our own space to do whatever we want - even if that's absolutely nothing.
It doesn't always need to be about the spa trips, or hair and nail treatments (which are lovely too), but sometimes it's more beneficial to have a much more regular plan built into your week, that really does help you rest, re-energise and feel like you again.
For me it's every Sunday...
It's when my kids are with their dad and I have the whole day to myself.
And I'll be busy that day doing whatever comes to me at the time, whether it's spending the afternoon shopping, going for dinner with friends, or just being able to be at home with no one needing me or calling me for anything. If I want to sit on the sofa all day, I can. And as a single mum of two, there is no bigger luxury - I'll take that any day over a one hour massage.
However, because other people also know that I have the whole day to myself, they innocently think you're 'free' that day. Because you don't have anything 'to do' right?
Doing absolutely nothing is doing something! And when I first started using my Sundays in this way, I had to turn down so many invites from my mum for example, to lunch or afternoon tea etc, almost on a weekly basis, just so that I could protect my time alone.
It may sound harsh, but it's not.
I see my mum and family at other times throughout the week, and I make time for my friends when it works well for all of us.
But if I give away my Sunday too, when all I may want to do is stay home and do pretty much nothing; then I never end up having that sacred space to myself, to just wind down and stop for a moment. To stop going from chore to chore, from conversation to conversation, from question to question, from errand to errand. It's non-stop Monday-Saturday for me, so if I continue running about on a Sunday too, just so that others don't get offended by me turning down their invite, then I'm not practicing any kind of self-care whatsoever. I'm putting everyone else before me 7 days a week.
And that doesn't work for me...especially as an introvert.
Now some of you may not even have a whole day or even part of a day to have for yourselves, but even if you can carve out just a couple of hours a week, the concept remains the same.
Those 2 hours, or however long it is, need to be regular and most importantly protected. They can't be easily cancelled or moved to next week just because something else has come up - it's needs to be a priority in your weekly schedule.
Something that you can look forward to and afterwards really feel like it helped you to relax and feel human again.
Have a look at your weekly calendar and routine, and see if there is a window of time that you can close off for yourself, whether it be in the evenings, daytime, or over the weekend. And close it off to yourself each and every week if you can. Because sometimes it's the little things that are done regularly, that are most beneficial to our emotional well-being over the long term.
And people will soon get used to the fact that that time, is your time, and they'll bother you less, because you've put that boundary in place for yourself.
Self-care can appear selfish to others in these circumstances, and maybe it is, but if you don't look out for number #1, then who will?
If you find it hard to put yourself first, and feel too overwhelmed to have any sort of time for self-care in your life, then it really helps to stop and take a breather and start looking at things from a different perspective.
One where you're not being so hard on yourself, and actually finding the time look after yourself more - physically and emotionally.
The first step I took in self-care was getting regular monthly coaching, which changed so much for me that I'd be here all day if I started writing about it. But until you take a step yourself towards positive change, then you can pretty much expect things to stay the same.
But if you are interested in positive change, then here's exactly where to go:
Something that we all fall into after divorce, is searching for a new relationship prematurely.
We're so used to living with someone, and having a partner around all the time, that it can feel really weird and uncomfortable when we're alone.
Especially if we start looking at other couples, either in our circle of friends and family, in movies, on Instagram etc etc. Wherever we turn there's bound to a happy couple somewhere seemingly shoving their happiness down our throats. So naturally we feel like we really need to get on with finding someone new...
Because being lonely sucks right? I mean, who wants to sit there all alone, watching Netflix with no one else to talk to once the kids have gone to bed?
I'll tell you who...
But let me be very clear on what I mean by this..
Now don't get me wrong, would I like to have a great guy in my life who I could chill out with in the evenings and enjoy their company? Yes.
And when I think about having that, I do feel a little lonely I guess, and that's OK. And it soon passes when my thinking changes to something else, which it always does.
But are there also many times, where my situation hasn't changed at all, and I don't feel lonely in the slightest. In fact far from it - you'll often catch me dancing around the house as if I didn't have a care in the world. Because I see the beauty and blessings in being by myself, compared to being with the wrong person. And when I'm dancing around the house doing my laundry, I'm quietly thanking God for the peace in my life, because I could just as easily be sharing my home with someone who isn't right for me and having to deal with all the challenges that come with that.
Most importantly, I'm in a healthy relationship with myself.
And what that means for me is that because I've fixed the relationship with myself first, I find it a lot easier to feel content with life, whilst I wait for that special person to you know, fall out of the sky or randomly bump into me at the supermarket, lol.
But the point I'm trying to make here is the importance of being in the right relationship - with yourself.
If you're in the right relationship with yourself, you'll seldom feel lonely, and when you do, you'll be OK with it. It won't weigh heavily on you at all.
But if you're in the wrong relationship with yourself, and you feel like something is missing in your life in order for you to feel happy, then you're always going to be looking for someone else to come along and fill that void for you, in the form of a relationship. Hence you feeling lonely a lot of the time, because that void can never be filled by another person.
You could be in a relationship and still feel lonely.
A lot of women carry this fear of being alone with them throughout their divorce process and beyond.
And it can make something that's already challenging, even more difficult to navigate. But during this process, there's only one person you need to be in a relationship with, and by relationship I mean supporting, loving, caring and being there for someone - and that's yourself.
And once you're happy by yourself - you're in the best possible place to welcome a new relationship into your life and share that happy with someone else.
In the meantime, I'm happy ogling the eye candy on my Instagram feed, until Mr Right makes an appearance 😉
And if you'd also love to get to a place where you're happy and content within yourself first, then my ‘Effortless Relationships’ live, online coaching programme is definitely where you need to be.
As well as regular monthly coaching, you’ll also get access to my 5-Part online Effortless Relationships digital training programme - and for a little taster you can get the first module completely free, by going here:
Something I come across again and again with my clients, is just how powerful our storytelling powers are. You do it too by the way...
That's right, all those times you sit there and play out a movie in your mind of how you think things are going to play out tomorrow/next week/next year etc...even years into the future.
We may as well grab a bag of popcorn and snuggle up on the sofa whilst we watch this movie play out in our minds - because it's really detailed and you don't want to miss anything...
I mean, you go over exactly what the situation will be, what the other person may do or say in said situation, what you'll then say in return - or even worse - what will you say in return?!
And then you're thinking about all the consequences of that situation and how it will affect not only your life, but everyone else's.
And before you know it, you're really stressed out trying to deal with this situation!
But if you were to have an out of body type experience and float up above your head and look down at yourself, you'd see that you're sat on the sofa, eating popcorn, and not much else. Everything around you is calm, and pretty normal. And most importantly, you're absolutely fine.
And this is your actual reality.
It's inside your head where all the drama is happening.
That's where the made-up, imaginary movies are going full force and taking you down all kinds of different routes and throwing even more problematic situations at you to deal with. And very quickly you start to experience all of the feelings that go along with this thinking - fear, anxiety, frustration, annoyance - you name it!
But none of it is real. None of it is actually happening.
And lets pretend for argument's sake that something you're concerned about did end up happening in the future.
Do you not trust that in that moment, you'll find a way to deal with it and know how to work through it, just as you've done countless times in your life already?
We can grow so used to creating these imaginary movies in our minds of how we think things will play out in the future, that this is where we end up living most of the time. In the made-up reality in our minds, created solely by the thinking we're having in that moment, and nothing else.
You wanna know what's real? You reading this right now.
Nothing else that you're worried about in the future has happened yet - and may not ever happen either. So why not give yourself a break, and switch off from the future (and the past for the matter); and come back to the present moment. And deal with whatever is going on for you right now in this moment instead. And then do the same tomorrow, and the day after that.
It's a pretty good formula for a stress-free life.
And it's exactly the type of thing you'll become more aware of and better able to deal with, in my live monthly coaching programme ‘Effortless Relationships’.
Not only do we focus on marriage and relationships, but we also go deep into how to manage your own emotions, so that you end up becoming a stronger, less anxious, more confident and happier person all around - that's genuinely content with life.
But that's probably not gonna happen if you continue to spend most of your time living (and stressing) in that made up movie world in your mind...
This live coaching programme also includes access to my 5-Part online Effortless Relationships training programme -and I’ve made the first module available for free. Here’s where to get it: