So let’s talk about self-care, it was definitely a buzz word for 2020 and considering all the turmoil we went through it’s clear to see why. The mental, physical and psychological strain that took its toll as the covid-19 virus took full effect all over the world meant that people were reminded and encouraged to take care of themselves. And rightly so, even at the best of times we can often neglect our wellbeing so we should definitely strive to make sure at the worst of times we are making a special concerted effort to focus on making sure we are ok. If we should find we are not ok (which many of us will find from time to time) it’s important to stop, reassess what’s going on and take action to make things better.
Most people tend to view self-care as a pamper day, a bubble bath, binging on ‘Netflix’, getting you hair done etc. While all of those are definitely valid parts self-care, for me self-care goes a lot deeper, it addresses different categories in your life and helps to build each one so that your health is holistic. I want to take some time to look at the aspects of self-care that I think are important and should be given more attention because I can take as many bubble baths as I want and get my nails and hair done regularly but in my opinion if I’m not digger deeper into my self-care regime it all just feels superficial.
So I want to start with a bible text because as a woman of faith I’ve often found texts that I feel specifically relate to a need we may have. In John 10:10 Jesus said ‘I come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly’. Other version use the words, ‘have it to the full, a rich and satisfying life’, and ‘have it in all its fullness’. To me this means that God wants all areas of our life to be full, he wants us to have a rich satisfying life in all its fullness. Even if you don’t believe in God I’m sure you will agree with the sentiment of having a fuller, richer life and the benefits that can afford us when we experience life to its fullest. So bearing that in mind, self-care should really be at the top of our list of priorities if we want to have and live life in all its fullness.
At the beginning of 2020 (in January before covid hit) I had the privilege of speaking to a group of young people about self-care. I started my presentation with a demonstration. I held an empty cup in my hand and asked everyone to imagine that they were the cup I was holding. I then placed 4 additional empty cups on a table in front of me and asked everyone to imagine that the additional empty cups were people they knew such as friends and family. I filled the empty cup in my hand and likened the water that I filled the cup with to energy. I then gave the example of people wanting our time and energy from time to time and showed this by pouring the contents of the cup in my hand into the other 4 empty cups. After pouring water into each of the empty cups on the table I found that the cup in my hand was now empty and used this as a metaphor to show what happens when we pour into others but don’t focus on or fill ourselves back up.
I then made a stack of the cups placing the empty cup in my hand at the top of the stack. I then poured water into the empty cup at the top of the stack. Once that cup was full I continued to pour so that the cup at the top began to overflow. The water from the overflow then filled the cups on the next row beneath it and once they were full and overflowing they in turn filled the cups beneath them. This, to me, is what self-care should look like; filling yourself to the point of overflowing and pouring into others’ lives with the overflow. In this way you stay full while allowing yourself to help others but you have to make sure you are continually pouring into yourself so that there can be an overflow. In this way self-care becomes a continuous effort to ensure that you are full to the point over overflowing; you keep the energy you need while being able to help and support others. This is why I feel self-care needs to be a concerted effort across all the areas of your life because this, in my opinion, is what will make us full to the point of overflowing.
So where do I start?
With all of the afore mentioned you may be thinking, ‘where on earth do I start?’ Well let me help you break it down so that you can begin to implement a plan for holistic self-care in your life. The first thing you need to do is identify the different areas of your life, then analyse these areas to find out whether they are being continuously filled or whether they are empty and in need of some tender loving care. Once you have identified and analysed the different areas in your life, you then need to make a plan as to how you can implement a real self-care routine to ensure you are building each area.
Now I will say this, life is full of ups and downs (as we’ve seen throughout 2020), there are times when you will be on top of your self-care routine, equally there will be times when it is the last thing on your mind and that is simply life. The important thing is to establish a plan so that you can come back to it time and time again and implement the actions when needed to make sure you are looking after yourself.
My life areas
You may have a clear idea of the different areas in your life that need attention for self-care or like I initially was you may be unsure, so I have sub-divided the categories I think are important under 9 different headings. Of course you may have more (or less) and some may be applicable whereas others won’t be so please use these categories as a guide to finding what the important categories are for you.
In my next blog post I will be breaking theses categories down even further to help you identify specific things you can do to fill your cup.
Check Out Some Of My Other Blog Posts On Self Care