In today’s stressful world, its so easy to neglect ourselves as we run from task to task, fitting in family, work and friends. Something which has become alarmingly apparent to me over the last few years is “you can’t pour from an empty cup” I.e you can’t be there for other people when your own energy levels are depleted. When this is the case several things can happen- you experience overwhelm and burn out and you are no use to anybody! Or you become resentful of others and develop a martyr complex (go on admit it, it’s OK!). I’ve fallen into both categories in the past and told myself I’m too busy to make time for me and everyone else needs me. The world will not fall apart if you say no to that coffee with a work colleague who actually drains your energy.
So how do you practice self care? You can do little things every day, for example saying no to spending time with people when you’d actually rather be at home with a cup of tea/ glass of wine/ tub of ice cream. When someone asks you to meet up, take time to think about it before responding and ask yourself does this drain my energy or increase it? Really feel it in your body – does the thought of seeing them feel heavy or light? Be honest with yourself and then respond to them accordingly. I’m not suggesting you adopt the 100% honesty approach – no need to offend, just say you can’t or you’re tired or have something else to do. Other ways of practicing self care include making time to just be – read a book, watch some crappy TV, have a long bath, listen to a podcast, meditate, go to a yoga class, do whatever makes YOU happy. Go to bed early if you need to and don’t apologise for it. Whatever you do to replenish your energy and relax do it without feeling guilty! This is very important. Once you start giving more to yourself you’ll actually find it’s much easier to give to others and you’ll be a happier person to be around. So, think about putting boundaries in place, don’t say yes to every request from people around you and don’t feel guilty or selfish for doing it.