READ ME: 4 self-care myths busted

Self-care myth busting

Last month we took part in Thrive Festival in Dublin, leading talks on self-care and eating for health.

We loved the opportunity to meet so many of you and answer your questions, share tools and tips and have a great discussion about what health really means and how we practically apply wonderful ideas in our every-day, busy lives.

Today we’re sharing the 4 self-care myths we busted at Thrive Festival, and give you some take-home tips to make sure self-care is your top priority:

SELF-CARE REQUIRES RESOURCES YOU DON’T HAVE

Self-care is often viewed as a luxury that many of us have neither the time nor the money to enjoy.

But self-care doesn’t have to involve an expensive holiday, nor does it have to take hours of your day.

A lot of self-care is wrapped up in images of luxury. But actually self-care is more about valuing yourself, rather than products or services to make you feel good.

What do you have access to right now that would give you a little self-care moment this week?

  • I bet you’ve got a face-mask or leave-in hair conditioner lurking in the bathroom that you could treat yourself to tonight.

  • I bet you’ve got a book you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t picked up yet that you could read a chapter of on your commute tomorrow.

  • I bet you’ve got a friend who you love chatting to but that you haven’t caught up with in ages who you could call for a good natter one evening.

None of these things are expensive, but they all count as self-care because they’ll make you feel great.

A lot of the women on our retreats are busy mums and they don’t have the luxury of time on their hands. This means they automatically think self-care is something they can’t access and so they don’t bother with it.

For example we talk about the importance of meditation and mindfulness when we’re on our retreats. And when we say meditation people assume this means they need to have a silent room and be alone for hours at a time.

That isn’t true! The act of being mindful is just about being present: paying attention in the moment, non-judgmentally. You can try our one minute check-in right now to prove how quick and simple it can be.

SELF-CARE IS ANYTHING THAT SOOTHES YOU

This is a myth that might be a bit controversial, but let’s go with it!

Do any of these sound familiar:

•      Watching three hours of Netflix after an exhausting day at work – that’s self-care, right?

•      Tuning out of the bickering kids so you can stare at Instagram Stories for 20 minutes – that’s self-care, right?

•      Drinking a whole bottle of wine to yourself because you dealt with your crazy mother-in-law for the weekend – that’s self-care, right?

•      Skipping the gym to get another hour in bed – that’s self-care, right?

Sometimes these are really things we need to do to take care and recharge our batteries. Sometimes nothing will beat the power of being in your pyjamas eating your favourite food on the sofa.

But if we’re not careful we can convince yourself that our not-particularly-healthy, not-particularly-beneficial behavior qualifies as ‘self-care.’

It’s really important to identify habits and behaviours that don’t add to your life or run the risk of actually being detrimental long-term to your health and happiness.

If you find that any of these sorts of activities make you feel worse afterwards or are getting in the way of achieving things or moving forward with your goals and aspirations you need to question if they are really self-care.

SELF-CARE IS THE SAME FOR EVERYONE

Lauren and I are really different people and that really shows in what we view as self-care and is a great example of why self-care isn’t the same for everyone.

I am actually someone who is borderline obsessed with being productive and getting things done. But I know as a result of this I find it very difficult to switch off and do ‘nothing.’

That means personally, self-care to me means things like updating my to-do list at the end of the day, reading a personal development book, listening to a podcast, cooking a delicious recipe and trying something out that I might share on my blog. Those things genuinely make me happy, but they will definitely look completely different to someone else’s version of self-care.

A big part of what we do on our retreats is make sure that we don’t give out cookie cutter versions of how to get what you want. We don’t do meal plans, we don’t tell people “just do this and you’ll feel great.” It’s all about what works for you.

And sometimes that’s really difficult. Because we all like to just download a list off Pinterest or get someone else to tell us what to do sometimes.

But try to give yourself some time and tap into what makes you really happy and relaxed. Not what someone else says it should look like.

SELF-CARE IS OPTIONAL

The label ‘self-care’ makes it sound really indulgent. What were people doing before we knew to call it ‘self-care’?!

Self-care isn’t just for people with loads of money, loads of time and people that enjoy spa days, bubble baths and getting their nails done.

Self-care is essential for all of us. In order to be of better service to others and add more value in the world – whether that’s through our work, through being a parent, being a friend or just a human being on this planet, we have to look after ourselves first.

News flash for you: You deserve self-care. You deserve to give yourself some time every single day to do something that fills you back up. Not to just be the skivvy or the servant always there for other people which is something I hear a lot from women on our retreats.

One of our favourite tips for prioritizing yourself is to add in times in your calendar that are dedicated, non-negotiable YOU time.

Some people also find it helpful to add in a back-up time slot as well, in case the original time gets ridden over by other things!

Also getting clear and communicating to others the things you want to do and the time you want to spend on self-care activities for you. Feeling confident and deserving of wanting and needing that space for yourself.

What do you think? Do you slip into believing these self-care myths? What steps are you going to take this week to put yourself first?


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Vicky