I’m afraid a bubble bath isn’t going to cut it. Nor is a fresh manicure, or even a new fancy candle (yes, I know it’s a Jo Malone! But it still doesn’t count, sorry).
I’m talking about self care.
Flicking through glossy magazines or scrolling your Instagram feed might have you thinking that self care consists of making a bit of time for yourself, having a night out with the girls, or soaking in the bath with a face mask on.
Now, those things are pleasurable, and they can be very valid ways to get some headspace from the world, but they just don’t quite cut the mustard when it comes to real, genuine self care.
Where a bubble bath gives you an hour out of the stress of life, real self care means figuring out why your life is stressful and doing something about it.
It’s the down and dirty work of soul searching and being completely honest with yourself, no matter how uncomfortable it gets.
If you’re worn down by the daily grind and can’t seem to get on top of everything you need to do, taking time out allows you to escape and ignore your overflowing plate for a while, but at some point, you have to return back to the same situation you were trying to escape from.
As disheartening as that thought is, it’s important to realise the difference between a short-term fix and a long term solution.
Time alone to recharge your batteries is always worth it, but next time you get the chance to unwind, use the time wisely.
Take a step back to look at the bigger picture and get some perspective on exactly what isn’t working for you right now and how you can change it.
If something doesn’t feel quite right, you need to figure out what needs fixing before you can decide how to go about fixing it.
The Life Balance Reflection Wheel can help you review all the important areas of your life, factoring in mind, body, and spirit to make sure no aspect is overlooked. It outlines all the components that make up a busy life and prompts you to go deeper on discovering whether each one is working for you.
It can be really surprising to see what comes up as a ‘pain point’ – it’s not always what you expect it to be.
Taking it one step further, a really powerful way of going deeper into your thoughts around your life circumstances is to journal on each area of the Reflection Wheel. Even if you’re not a natural writer, just start writing and see what flows.
When you’ve written until nothing new comes up, a short meditation can connect you with your intuition to help you get more clarity on your feelings around any issues that have arisen.
If you’re not used to meditating, or you feel some resistance, just spend a few minutes deep breathing and allowing yourself to be present with the feelings that have come up for you.
The answers you are looking for are inside you if you give them the space to come through. When you can identify exactly which areas of your life are causing you stress or anxiety, the best gift you can give to yourself is to really address these factors to make shifts in your life. That is the start of practising real self care.
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