Updated: Jul 30, 2019
It's a bit of a buzzword isn't it? I can already hear you say you don't have time for self care! But that's sort of the point. If you don't have time for it then you definitely need it.
Self care doesn't have to be time consuming, I'm not talking about lying in the bath for hours, though if you have time and that's your 'thing' then go ahead.
Taking time for yourself, a moment out of life, can be really beneficial. It's about knowing what you need, listening to yourself and looking after yourself like you would someone you love.
However this can be hard for some people. Often, without realising it, we don't actually like ourselves and 'punish' ourselves by not stopping when things hurt and working too hard. This unconscious behaviour can be motivated by wanting to be perfect, people pleasing, the need for acceptance and affirmation to mention a few. They can make us carry on when that feeling of overwhelm sets in. We can make ourselves ill by not being able to listen to ourselves, inside something is screaming at us to stop, we just need to hear it.
It's at this point when some people enter counselling. They might be completely exhausted, overwhelmed or stressed. The reasons for this are usually clear, on the surface, they have demanding jobs, a family, debt or are lonely. I often hear "Counselling can't change the fact that I have to work so hard". And this is true, it can't help your material circumstances but it can help uncover the behaviours that drive you. It can help you view, what may seem an unchangeable problem, with a different lens. It sounds a little like magic, but I've seen it work! Unwrapping your behaviours and looking at life slightly differently can help you uncover what you really need and how you can work towards change and a more positive way of being. You might notice that you don't need to punish yourself anymore and that you're actually a human being with needs that you can attend to yourself. You can feel better and start to love yourself enough to give yourself a break.
So that's how to start your journey. Try listening to yourself. Stop when your body hurts, take some time to drink a whole glass of water very slowly. Take time to sit and take a few deep breaths. Have an early night. Go for a walk even if it's just for 5 minutes. And if you can't discover what you want and need by yourself or you can't find that part of you to love, then you might want to think about giving an hour a week of your time to sit in a peaceful and confidential counselling space to explore these things together.
And just as an aside...
What's that thing you always want to do but don't because you do everything else in your day first? You know, you are busy doing all your jobs and then you have no energy left to enjoy the best thing that you've left until the end? Well, you could just do it now. The 'un-busy' you knows what it wants to do but all the 'shoulds' and 'musts' get in the way. "I can't sit down and read that book until..." You know what I mean? Give yourself a break.