Back in January of 2017, in our blog, The Line Between Self Interest and Selfishness, we took a look at the advice Polonius (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet), gave to his son, ‘to thine own self be true.’ As the blog explained:
‘There are many interpretations of this particular sentiment. But, cutting a long story short, one of them suggests that, in telling his son to be ‘True’ to himself, Polonius meant ‘beneficial.’ In other words, a person is best placed to take care of others only when they’ve first taken care of themselves.’
‘An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.’ – Unknown
Such notions are often on our minds as we start a new calendar year. This is a time when we first make and then break resolutions – often before the metaphorical ink is dry. Yet, here we are in September. Our spectacular 2018 summer season is drawing to a close. The children have returned to school and autumn approaches. With the looming prospect of winter bugs and the festive season, now is as good a time as any to have a look at what self-care might mean.
- The Self Care Continuum
Before you even reach the point of massage and meditation, there’s the prosaic elements of self-care to contend with.
The Self-Care Forum website has, on its page, ‘What do we mean by self-care and why is it good for people?’, an interesting diagram called ‘The self-care continuum’. The diagram illustrates the ‘sliding scale of self-care in the UK, starting with the individual responsibility people take in making daily choices about their lifestyle, such as brushing their teeth, eating healthily or choosing to do exercise.’ This aspect of self-care then is the actions you take to maintain and improve your wellness and your wellbeing. And there’s no question that all this is important. After all:
‘Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.’ Edward Stanley
- What else is self-care?
Well aside from washing, sleeping and eating well – it’s whatever you want it to be. It’s being self-aware.
New year resolutions so often fail because they’re centred around negatives. The foods you can’t eat, the things you can’t do. Far better, as this article from Women’s Health Mag points out, is to send those negatives gurgling down the plug hole after your next long soak and make a self-care pact with yourself. Take the time to recognise your needs and what you’ll do to meet them. Use the time in the bath to think about it! As we said in the aforementioned blog of ours, this is not about selfishness. There’s an important distinction to make between selfishness and self-interest/self-care.
Self-care is more than a catchy phrase. ‘It’s also a practice recognised by everyone from ancient Greeks to GPs. To Mind, the charity for better mental health, self-care is the techniques and lifestyle changes that better help you manage the symptoms of anxiety, depression and more. This might be bubble baths, five-minute journaling, a turmeric latte or even getting the pots washed!’ And if you think the latter is irrelevant or trite check out the social media hashtag #boringselfcare and this site where Hannah Daisy illustrates boring self-care.
What we hope you’re grasping here, is that self-interest/self-care is not a ‘one-time’ tick-off-the-list thing. It’s about forming habits. Habits which will, with the benefit of repetition, keep you running well in terms of emotions, physical health and mental health.
To that end this article from Tiny Buddha, listing forty-five simple self-care practices, is well worth checking out. The article has tiny self-care suggestions for:
- The mind
- The body
- The soul
Being in the business of making and selling organic skincare – skincare which we believe contributes to self-care in both emotional and practical senses – we rather like these two under the Tiny self-care for the soul category:
- Use your commute for a ‘Beauty Scavenger Hunt.’ Find five unexpected beautiful things on your way to work.
- Splurge a little. Buy a small luxury as a way of valuing yourself.
We’ve been busy of late uploading a gorgeous selection of almost-good-enough-to-eat gift selections to the Pink&Green website. So what better way to fulfil No 2 and No 10 on Tiny Buddha’s list?
Of course, we recognise that self-care is as much about serious, ‘proper’ mental and physical healthcare as it as about something like this: ‘13. Take a home spa. Have a long bath or shower, sit around in your bathrobe, and read magazines.’
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for small pleasures, little luxuries and spoiling yourself a little. And – with a certain season not so far away now – others too?