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Martina Jay

SCBI#68: Self-Care Is Not What You Think It Is

Published 2 months ago • 5 min read

The Misunderstanding About Self-Care

Self-care is a word you will hear all over the place. Yes, it’s another buzz word that people are throwing around left, right and centre but there is a little (BIG, actually!) misconception when it comes to its effectiveness.

A few weeks ago I heard a particular coach, Stephanie D McKenzie, talk about self-care and what she said really struck a chord with me. It’s something that makes so much sense and really encapsulates what I was already thinking but I had never really highlighted the issue.

Self-care is a lifestyle and not just an event.

A big issue with self-care is that people think they're fully engaging with self-care when they are doing it in dribs and drabs. You might have a candle-lit bath once in a while and call it self-care. Or you book yourself a massage annually on Mother’s Day to feel really pampered. Or maybe you meditate sometimes (when you remember to). This isn’t really self-care.

Why?

Because, if you’re doing lovely things for yourself once in a while but the rest of the time you’re stressed, people pleasing, busy being a perfectionist, or feeling overwhelmed with all the things you cram into each day, then that bath or that once-in-a-blue-moon meditation isn’t going to cut it.

Those isolated events are not 'self-care' and are just simply one-off 'treats'.

Real self-care needs to be at the foundation of your lifestyle and not just a ‘bonus’ when you can fit it in.

What Is Self-Care and Why Do We Need It?

Self-care is the practice of looking after yourself, specifically your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Self-care is all about prioritising YOURSELF and what you need in life. It's about stepping away from other people's demands and paying attention to what you want for yourself.

In life, we spend a lot of our time (and energy!) caring for the needs of others. We do this for many reasons like being a parent, a carer, an older sibling that looks out for your younger sibling, maybe your career role means you’re responsible for others.

Either way, we often fall into the habit of prioritising other people’s needs and making sure that everyone else is okay before we look after ourselves.

This is where our mental and emotional health takes a hit – and then we convince ourselves that we’re doing enough by reading a book or having an extra long coffee break once in a while. We try to convince ourselves that that's all we really need because the world hasn't stopped turning and there is sh*t to be done! 😉

It feels good to make others happy and safe – coming from a recovering people pleaser, I totally get that – but we need to be vigilant when it comes to our own needs and our own time.

The Real Benefits of Real Self-Care

We need quality self-care (and enough of it!) in our life because it’s how we make sure that we’re getting what we need and want too. This is how we keep ourselves happy, feeling fulfilled and ‘keeping our cup filled’, so to speak.

The state of your mental and emotional wellbeing has the power to impact everything else in your life. Regular self-care can positively impact your:

✅ Stress levels

✅ Relationships

✅ Physical health & weight

✅ Self-esteem & self-worth

✅ Sense of satisfaction

✅ Energy levels

✅ Sleep

✅ Motivation & productivity

…And more!

When you don’t put enough self-care in place, all of these areas can be negatively affected like a domino effect.

If you’ve been in the habit of ‘squeezing in’ something lovely for yourself when you can – this is a good start – but check how often you actually allow yourself to prioritise your needs and your own mental health on a regular basis. And in a way that actually gives you long-term benefits and not just short-lived relief.

Ask yourself, Is that 20 minute bath every other Sunday really enough for me to recover from everything going on in life? Chances are, the answer is a big, fat NO.

In order to truly benefit from self-care, it needs to be a regular part of your life so that you have regular access to activities that regulate your nervous system, calm your mind, destress your body, help you process your emotions and contribute to overall better mental and emotional health.

The sooner we all understand that true self-care is more than just isolated events and encompasses a whole life-style choice, the sooner we all get to experience the full benefits of what real self-care is all about.

And if you’re not yet convinced, see how often you actually take the time to indulge in self-care and note how long the effects last. I’m willing to bet that if you changed from 'dabbling in it' to making it a life-style choice, the positive effects on your mental and emotional health would be skyrocketed and longer-lasting.

Need some last minute tips to implement a self-care lifestyle?

If you're thinking you have to take full days off of work to participate in a self-care lifestyle, think again! Small, regular activities and behaviours can be enough.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Schedule self-care things in regularly (15-30 mins is just fine!)
  • Don't unschedule or cancel them 😉
  • Have firm boundaries (this is self-care too!)
  • Join a class/course that happens regularly
  • Delegate things that don’t need to be done by you
  • Have ‘me’ time everyday (even if just 15 minutes)
  • Understand that your time is valuable and treat it accordingly (you don't owe anyone your time)
  • Do something every week (or everyday!) just for fun – with no other agenda but enjoyment for yourself
  • Try something new you've never done and get curious!
  • Go ahead and have that bath - but have it every week and don't let it be the only thing you do for yourself (and definitely don't feel guilty for doing it)

Regular self-care is vital in life to keep your well being prioritised in a world with so many potential stressors. Think of it as a lifestyle choice and remember that it's there to help you be the best version of yourself so make it an embedded part of your everyday life.


In Summary:

The small change → make self-care a lifestyle and not individual events you do ‘when you can’

The big impact → better mental, emotional and physical wellbeing all around

Martina x

PS - I've taken all week off of social media and my business and it's been pure bliss! Writing this email has been the ONLY thing I've done (because I love doing it) and I think I might carry this on into a second week! I'm also going away for a girls' weekend with friends and leaving the kids in daddy's safe hands. I'm fully embracing self-care right now and giving myself what I need. What is it that you need in life right now that you can give yourself?


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Martina Jay

Hypnotherapy & Empowerment | Mind, Body & Energy

So you want life to feel easier, more fulfilling and simply more enjoyable? You want to stop getting in your own way? You want to stop living your life according to other people's expectations and start discovering your own empowerment? Well, you've come to the right place! My newsletter, 'Small Changes, BIG Impact' is all about making life make more sense so that you can have a deeper sense of control within in. We know that life throws us curveballs sometimes but imagine being able to navigate the ups and the downs with more ease and confidence? Imagine feeling empowered, worthy and confident in who you are and what you are here to share? Allow me to help you on your healing journey through making small changes that create big impact. I show up in your inbox every Saturday morning at 9:55am BST. Never Spam, always insightful. | Certified Hypnotherapist | Master EFT/TFT Practitioner | Reiki Master | Master NLP Practitioner | Time Line Therapy Practitioner | Mum of Twins | Recovered People Pleaser | Former Perfectionist | Multi-passionate Manifesting Generator | Empowered Woman 💛

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