27 Sep Self Care, It’s Time to Prioritise You
Self Care, It’s Time to Prioritise You.
When you own a car, you have to make sure you fill it with petrol, oil and water, check it over regularly for air in the tyres and maintenance to be done to keep it in safe working order.
So if you are the car in this analogy, what are you doing to maintain your mental, physical health and sense of well-being?
Here some questions I come across
How can I fit in time for self care?
Many of us do a great job of prioritising others needs whether that be our partners, kids, parents etc but to be able to support, carry on giving our time, energy and prioritising their needs then we need to address our own first.
If you don’t you could hit burnout, feel resentment towards others or find yourself hitting depression.
Any of these scenarios are negative for you and those around you.
How can I find time?
I’m not talking about days or even hours (although building up to this and having routine time out would be great). If you’ve never prioritised your needs I am under no illusion that this could be a really hard task for you.
So at first, challenge yourself to take a look for five minutes of your day to STOP and breathe in a peaceful garden or at a park (if you are between jobs). It is amazing that after a few days (or a couple of weeks for some) that the colours start to become sharper in that same space and you become more aware of your surroundings, and the beauty that’s all around you.
In those five minutes your mind needs to be clear, give yourself permission to stop thinking about the next task and what else needs doing etc. That time every day is yours, once you can do this the choice is yours building up to twenty minutes to read that book you bought, or get back to that hobby you used to love or start a new one you’ve been considering?
You only need to take one baby step at a time to positively add self-care or more of it into your life, to enable you to be the best you that you can be. This can help bring more calm, peace and happiness into your life which also positively influences those around you too!
Positive Role Models
When we prioritise others wants or needs over our own, we overstretch within relationship to do more than our 50/50 split share of how a healthy relationships can be. I know this is not always possible when the other is vulnerable whether that be through poor mental health, physical health, a dependant or someone who is more demanding in relationship (these people may be perceived as Takers, I will use this phrase for example purposes).
Imagine within relationship (I am talking now about adult to adult friendships, partners or family) if you always go 80% they only need to do 20% of the work. This can happen without permission, no agreement and sometimes even without conscious thought.
So, if you always message first try waiting another day or week. If you always have to organise what you’re doing, let the other person know you’d love to meet and they can choose this time and let you know where to be. This is a great tool to also free up some time, head space and worry about getting the ‘right place’.
Being real, open and honest about your needs
If you’re an anxious person, socially anxious or someone who needs to feel safe to be out, I acknowledge this will take trust that the other knows you well enough, will remember to keep your needs and favourites in mind. If you are unsure they can or will remember it is okay to set a boundary or give a couple of safe suggestions for meeting places, times and days that you would be okay with.
Boundaries allow you to still have a sense of safety without needing to control or take on another responsibility yourself. It can be hard for some to identify what their needs are, they may need to seek support from counselling or trusted relationships to explore this.
January’s blog is dedicated to Seeking Support and Where to Find it
You are important too
This is how much value we place on our own worth (or existence) which comes back to do we think our needs are important enough to get them met? Sometimes as we grow up we can interpret our self worth to be less than others, especially if those important people around us are making us feel that way.
This can also lead to us only being able to feel our value when helping others (these people we shall call Givers for this example). This can trap you into feeling that worthless if you aren’t always helping others, which would be an unhealthy pattern to fall into for your own self worth.
There is always a flip side to every possibility and this can lead to someone having to inflate their self worth if they internalised that they were neglected (ie left with the feeling what about me?) and they may then demand from everyone else (other than the person they felt neglected their needs) they then meet their needs or face rejection.
When Takers meet Givers, they love it but it leave Givers vulnerable to be taken advantage of by Takers. As you have read above Takers did not choose to be this way it is a defensive response to neglect, there are various other reasons but this fits this example. This does not excuse their behaviour but is to allow some further understanding.
Look out for November’s blog which is entitled- What is a Healthy Relationship?
Its not selfish, it’s necessary
A Taker can understand getting their needs met as this has become their survival mode, but may need help to recognise when they are asking too much from a Giver. They may react defensively at first, but if it’s about compromise and they can’t do that, then why should you?
A Giver on the other hand could need more encouragement, empowerment and even permission to put their needs first especially to start with through fear of other rejection, the feeling of worthlessness (especially if it’s tied to their feelings of self worth) or even guilt or shame about letting someone else down.
I’ll use the airing cupboard as an analogy as I associate it with a warm safe space and offering a towel is in my mind a gesture of good will.
For example every time you put someone else’s needs above yours you give them a towel from your airing cupboard, if you have given all your towels out then there is none left for you.
There are many ways you can refill your airing cupboard, allowing yourself some self care is one of those. Asking for help and gaining support from trusted others, allowing them to give you towels from their airing cupboard or helping you shop for new ones (metaphorically speaking).
‘You cannot give from an empty airing cupboard!’
This also applies to Parent to Child, Carer to Dependant and Sibling to Sibling. Everyone’s feelings, experiences and needs are all valid from their frame of reference (from their own perspective- not one persons being right or wrong. This is what makes us individuals, that each person thinks, feels, experiences and internalises different aspects of situations, people and life) it then becomes about trying to see from the others viewpoint.
Not about having to compromise your own to agree as it’s okay to be unique and respond differently to others having your own ideas, opinions, thoughts and morals without devaluing the other persons views as it’s not about being right or having power over another it’s about being together and exploring what each of you think and accepting the others as theirs.
Counselling allows you to explore your own experiences, what you think, feel and what you may need to help enhance your day-to-day and future relationships not just with others but yourself too!
Will you let yourself have five minutes a day for a week? Or increase the self care you have in place now?
I would love to hear your results if you try it and also what self care you’ve been enjoying.