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: