The Art of Self Care

Over the last couple of months I have been hearing many voices around me refer to the idea or concept of self care.    I obviously love the idea of self care and I have many images of what Self Care looks like to me run through my mind when the phrase is mentioned, but I really struggle to actually take time out for myself.   I am quickly learning that I need to take time out to refresh my soul.  I am a much better person for it – when I actually do it!

I can imagine myself climbing into a beautiful bath with bubbles, a glass of white wine, a mud mask on my face, my grapefruit and bergamot candle lit and flickering on the bench, an audio book I have been looking forward to listening to is on the back ground.  The house is quite and I am feeling very peaceful.   There are no knocks on the door hurrying me along, no petty arguments happening outside the door for me to sort out, no one is hungry, or needing help.

Ahhhh bliss.

The reality, sadly, is that our bath isn’t very inviting.  It’s a small bath, perfect for bathing young children.     The other reality is that wine makes me feel really tired, so I’d probably fall asleep in the bath, and we all know that falling asleep in a tub full of water is never a good idea.    So I will have to give a plan B and plan C a thought or two.   I see the value of caring for oneself, and believe whole heartedly in what it can do for you.

There are a few aspects to self care.   One is taking time out for yourself, and treating yourself to an experience of some type.  Whether it be a bath with bubbles, candles, or light music in the back ground, OR, taking time to write, or read a book.  Another aspect of self care is to take yourself to the hairdresser, get your waxing done,  nails, a massage, and or a facial.

There are many aspects to our lives that we need to consider – Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Financial, and Relational. To be a healthy whole person we all need to care for each of these areas. It’s not easy to have all areas in our lives going well all at the same time, but we really need put a little effort in.  Little by little exercise helps us physically by doing a bit every day and eating well 99% of the time, just as knowing where we are at financially is important so that we aren’t being irresponsible with what we have or don’t have.  Every good decision helps us little by little in all the different areas of our lives.

If you want to read more books each year, we have to turn off the television and choose to read.  If we read one chapter a night before bed,  we will have finished the book (depending on how many chapters) in a fortnight.   Just starting a book and committing to at least one chapter per day means that you will be done before you know it.    Some people can devour a book, but most people need to read little by little. Just starting is the secret!

I really love the quote from Charles Bixton.  It says, “You will never find time for anything.  If you want time, you must make it”.

I am guilty of allowing life to get the better of me.   Homeschooling could take up the entire day if I let it.    It can all be very consuming.   The kids all help with housework these days, but if there is a broken link in the chain, housework can take a lot longer if we all don’t get in and do our jobs.   I was always taught as a kid that if you get in and get all your jobs done, then you will have plenty of time to play.  As an adult I have learned that my whole life can be consumed by jobs and things that need to be done.   If I want down time, the only way to get it is to schedule it in.   I used to hate scheduling.   I hated the idea of sticking to a schedule, but these days I realise that schedules help me prioritise what’s really important.  It allows me to plan for things like downtime and not feel guilty when I tell the kids that we are stopping school and heading to the beach.   After all, the beach is a priority, is it not?   Everything in moderation.

Happy people schedule, and make time to self care and have down time.   Just saying!