Anyone else spotted the trending hashtag #365daysofselfcare?
It’s supported by mental health CIC The Blurt Foundation, which aims to get more and more people talking about depression and mental health.
Self care is a fairly new concept for me. I’ve invested quite a lot in therapy this past year – in time, in cash, and emotionally. During one of the sessions, my counsellor said “Maybe you could think about investing in yourself, and self-care”.
I looked at her, puzzled. I barely knew what the phrase meant. It felt like any alien concept. REALLY? I can focus on MYSELF? Without guilt? Without interruption?
One niggle I have about #365daysofselfcare is that it feels like a lot of pressure. I have to try and self care EVERY DAY? For a YEAR?
I typically take a binge/purge approach to self care. Sunday was a brilliant example of self care binge. I’d had a night out with some awesome girlfriends the night before (found a deserted dance floor in a deserted gay bar. Made a lot of new friends).
We woke up in the morning, hangover free, and sat in my garden drinking tea in beanbags, wrapped in blankets.
My daughters were with their dad, and I had a day to myself.I took myself for a coastal walk. I rediscovered my oldest friend from childhood, whose commemorative bench I’d forgotten was on the stretch of coast path. I sat with her and had a little cry, and it felt like she was holding my hand.
I took myself for a carb-filled pub lunch and ate until my stomach had stretched. I came home and had a monster afternoon nap.
The next bit is one of my bravest steps – I took myself to the cinema. I watched Bad Moms – the ultimate chick flick most women would see with a gaggle of girlfriends. I went on my own and drank tea. I laughed and I cried my eyes out.
Then I came home, drank more tea, ate cheese on toast and watched Poldark. I felt better, but I felt sad too. Normally I’m too busy rushing around with my daughters, remembering snacks and swimming kit and trying to look presentable for work to think about self care.
Self care is hard enough when you’re a mum, let alone a newly single mum trying to carve out a new business. I know the benefit of self care but sometimes I’m scared to go there because the very act of self care leaves me feeling vulnerable. Focusing on myself forces me to stop and think about where I’ve travelled, and where I have to go next.
So go forward and self care, but don’t knock yourself out or beat yourself up doing it.