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I’ve been sitting here cleaning out my Google Drive accounts, as they were all starting to run out of space, and I found some old blog posts that I wrote.

My feelings on most of them are still the same, but I thought I would re-share them, with a few updates. This one is from the end of 2017. Self care is going to be an even bigger focus this year, so it’s quite relevant.

What is self care to you?

I’ve recently come to the realisation that while it’s all very well to worry about everyone else, there’s only so long you can do it for before your own health comes crashing down around you. Tired, sick, weight gain, poor food choices, and, I’m the first to admit it, grumpier than ever. It’s not good for you OR the people you love. So why do we do it to ourselves?

So many of us spend our day running around after the people in our lives, making sure their needs are met, with little thought to our own happiness, health and sanity.

Long term, it’s simply not possible to run on empty. You can do it for awhile, sure, but eventually, your body (or mind) start to give up and you start getting sick, run down, stressed, depressed or even worse. You’re no good to anyone like that, take a break!!

My son came home from school last year talking about filling other people’s buckets, and how you have to fill your own bucket before you can fill anyone else’s bucket. And how you should be a bucket filler, not a bucket tipper. He was right, how can you fully care for someone else, if you don’t care for yourself? Life skills from a 7 year old!!

Self care is not something to feel guilty about. It is not selfish, nor is it weak to look after yourself, in fact, many would say it is a strength to put yourself first for once.

Do you regularly practice self care? I don’t mean things like going shopping, treating yourself to a manicure, big holidays. Those sorts of things are awesome, and sure, they still help you feel better in yourself, but I mean things that help to calm your mind, make you feel more balanced, a happier person to be around! Some ideas are below:

  • Sitting outside by water, ie a stream or the waves at the beach, or maybe at night by a fire, just listening to the sounds of nature or a crackling flame.
  • Take a Yoga class.
  • Get a massage.
  • Snuggle under a soft blanket.
  • Cuddle someone or something you care about – a loved one, a pet, a soft toy, even!
  • Lie in the grass and stare up at the sky.
  • Do a craft project.
  • Tick something off your to-do list that has been stressing you out.
  • Practice Gratitude – get a diary and write down all that is good in your life. There will be more than you think!
  • Walk on the beach or in the bush.
  • Get out in the garden.
  • Just lie on the bed with the sun streaming in, close your eyes and just daydream. You don’t need to sleep, just relax for 10 minutes and take a break.

There’s so many things you can do! If you were on a plane, and it was going down, they always say you need to put your own oxygen mask on before you help anyone else, and it is the same with this – look after yourself and you will be far better equipped to look after others.

Deprive yourself of these basic needs, and eventually those around you will suffer as well. It’s not selfish to look after yourself, everyone around you will benefit from it, not just you. Light your inner fire and let yourself shine, and it will reflect on everyone around you.  

If it helps, write a list. I’m a bit of a list junkie, I like to write everything down, so I know what I need to do. If you need to schedule in “me time”, then do it. Otherwise days will pass and you haven’t taken any time for you. Start to practice it regularly, and you will start to feel a shift in your mindset. More positive, more relaxed, happier, maybe even more energy!

So give it a go. I would love to hear how you get on with it, and how you feel after taking care of #1 for awhile.

If, after reading all this, you would like more help with getting your wellbeing back on track, I offer a 10 week online programme called You First, which will be starting it’s next round soon. I will help you to get fitter, more active, be nicer to yourself, and improve your all around lifestyle. See www.misfitnz.co.nz for more information!

Nikki

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