Long bubble baths with a glass of champagne and candles, a weekend away with the girls, mani-pedis, a few hours at the hairdresser. These are all things that are often associated with self-care. And for some people these are essential parts of their self-care routine.
For me though, self-care is a lot less sexy than any of these things.
I have lived with mental illness for a long time. And for an even longer time, I have made everyone else around me a priority, putting my own needs and self-care at the bottom of a long to-do list.
Watch: The horoscopes and self-care. Post continues below.
I used to think that self-care was selfish and that by taking time out for me, I wasn’t doing my "job" of being there as a mother, wife, friend, and daughter. The truth couldn’t be further from this.
By not looking after myself and not making time for my own self-care, I was actually making it harder to be there for my loved ones in the way I wanted to.
At its core, self-care is about ensuring that my nutrition, physical and mental wellbeing and hygiene are all in good working order. But self-care is going to look very different to everyone.
When my kids were little, my nutrition took a beating - mainly because I didn’t eat properly. I snacked from the kids leftovers, or I simply didn’t eat at all.
And because our budget didn’t stretch to do the "fancy" self-care, which I perceived as real self-care, I simply didn’t do it at all. You could say I have always been a bit of an all-or-nothing kind of gal.
If I couldn’t have a night away in a fancy hotel without the family - which I would never do because of finances or feeling ridiculously selfish - then I wouldn’t take any time out at all.
This, of course, was even more ridiculous because I would facilitate my husband taking time out for self-care. Because in my mind, he needed it more than me because he was providing for the family and had a tough job with a long commute.
I gaslit myself into thinking that I didn’t deserve self-care, or I wasn’t as important as everyone else. The problem with this is that as one of my favourite people of all time Brené Brown says, "The body keeps score and it always wins." I stockpiled literally everything that had happened over the years thinking that because I could still function or still look after everyone else, I was doing okay.