Self-care is a non-negotiable.
Exhausted? Need to sleep for a whole weekend (and maybe more)? Need a break? No time? Irritable? Frustrated about the situation? But keeping the nose to the grindstone and just crossing fingers in the hope that things are going to get better?
Am I close? Is that how you’re feeling? Well that’s certainly how I’m feeling.
I’m at my limit. And I’ve been living at my limit for close to a year now. I’m tired.
I live in Madrid, Spain and it’s coming up to the anniversary when something happened that I didn’t even know was possible. The Government ordered us to stay in our houses. An effective 24 hour curfew.
Madrid is a beautiful city. But it’s the people and vibe that makes it beautiful. And within 5 days, the streets were silent and eerily empty and I’d learnt a new word in Spanish. Teletrabajo. (Teleworking).
We “Madrilenos” remained in hard lockdown for 3 months. It was brutal.
However, it was also during this time that I started to recognise the absolute necessity of looking after myself. That no one else was going to tell me to rest, to stop looking at a screen or do something kind for myself. And that by me not respecting and giving to myself, I was not only at risk of running myself into the ground. But also, I was unable to show up and be the support that my family, friends and clients needed.
Is any of this sounding familiar? Perhaps you are in this reality now?
So, I slowly learnt that looking after myself, creating boundaries, giving myself acts of kindness wasn’t crazy or selfish. It was essential and self-less.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup”. I recognised that by enjoying that long shower, doing my dancing fitness videos (@thefitnessmarshall), making a curry and homemade naan, lighting a candle and reading, sitting in the sunny spot in the house with a coffee helped me fill up my metaphorical cup.
And that when my cup was fuller. Not only did I feel happier, more content, peaceful and energised. I was also able to show up better for those who were (virtually) around me.
And I knew that I wasn’t the only one feeling like this. As several of my clients were having similar issues and I even remember one client when asked “How could they be kinder to themselves?” looking at me blankly just shrugging.
Another client created a self-care menu for themselves. They didn’t like the rigidity that on Wednesday they had to go for a run and that just because it was a Friday they had to do yoga. They created a menu of lovely gifts that they could give to themselves as a reward for working hard or even just making it through the day.
Items such as reading, going for cake and coffee, listening to a podcast, doing a puzzle and jogging were just some of their rewards. What would be on your menu?
The key to these activities and any others that you might think of that would be on your menu. Is that you recognise that these activities are for you.
When I sat in the sunny spot of the flat with my coffee. I was doing it mindfully. I recognised that I needed that moment. And was grateful for it.
Do you already have a self-care menu that you just didn’t realise? Would you like to put more options on your menu? And if you did start to “consume” these items, what would that do to how you feel?
Self-care and wellness are now non-negotiables and as the world slowly slowly starts returning to normal, we are likely to become even busier and distracted.
If you’d like to learn more about the self-care menu and other ways that you could help have more self-care in your life now and in the future. Do listen to my guest appearance on the Coffee & Wine podcast. You’ll find more ideas of what to put on your menu as well as how to close the day so that you can truly relax in the evening.
Take the time now to recognise what you need and how you can give that to yourself. Your future self and those around you will thank you for it.
Click here to listen to my guest appearance episode “Self-care and honouring the day” on the Coffee & Wine podcast. Also available wherever you get your podcasts from.
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