More Sunday ramblings I’m afraid, sorry… I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness after my last post and this idea of being kind to oneself. Self-care is so essential for living well, for one’s health and well-being. I mean, you can’t pour from an empty cup can you?
We can’t wait till we’re facing complete burn-out, or have a stroke as in my case, to start prioritising ourselves. We can’t keep giving our love and attention to everyone and everything, piling one stress on top of another, neglecting ourselves and our needs. Our energy is not infinite and like any power source requires recharging. What’s that old saying? Listen to your body’s whispers before it screams; if you don’t slow down and take care of yourself, your body will force you to!
For many people, there are layers of guilt and conditioning which block us from putting ourselves first. It’s complex, it’s hard. I know! I felt a lot of guilt after my stroke. Prioritising oneself and setting boundaries is tough stuff but totally doable and the more you do, the more you realise that A) it’s worth it for all the benefits that roll in and B) the people who truly love you will not only understand but also support you.
I recently did this ‘what’s your love language?’ test. So, this guy, a relationship coach, a Dr. Chapman, came up with this theory that there are 5 love languages. They are how we show love and how we like to receive love. You can see my results below. It’s all true! I guess I’m not such a ‘huggy’ person. I do respond well to positive talk and words of appreciation though – childhood conditioning I suspect. In fact, it does sometimes irritate me when people don’t say thank you. Thoughtful gifts, simple things like a few flowers, make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. And, quality time with people I love is very important to me – little impromptu adventures in nature with picnics and your favourite peeps are so good for the soul, don’t you think?
So, in relation to self-care, I thought about how we love ourselves. What if we use our love language on ourselves as part of our self-care? And, I realised that I’ve started doing this more since my stroke. I often gift myself flowers when I do the weekly shop, for example, and look in the mirror in the morning and smile at myself with a positive comment. As for quality time… I do enjoy a bit of ‘me’ time, like a long soak in an essential oils and epsom salts bath with some good music at least once a week.
Quality ‘me’ time for me is also gardening and art. Creative playtime, painting, is a space to forget the world, get inspired by colours, and let the imagination roam. It’s calming and stimulating at the same time. My brain relaxes and it’s a lot of fun. I experiment a bit with art therapy and recently tried this exercise where you put on some music, close your eyes and doodle on paper with a pencil or some other medium in both the left and right hands. When I’m done doodling, I open my eyes and look for portraits in the squiggles. The side-by-side portraits at the top of this blog are an example of this. Funny but I kinda like them! One of my first and perhaps my favourite. A few more recent ones below…
What does quality ‘me’ time look like for you? Is creative play part of it? Aside from love languages, making time for creative play is also a key ingredient for living well. What does your creative play look like? What makes your heart sing? There are so many ways to express creativity… music, dance, singing, crafting, gardening, painting, writing and on and on… What’s stopping you from releasing your inner creative? limiting beliefs, fear of judgement or perhaps perfectionism? Let it go. Take the pressure off yourself and just have some fun with it. It’s the process that counts, not the end result! Who cares what other people think – keep it private if you’re worried or shy…
Also, to let you know, I did a little research this week into self-care and created a new page on my site focussed on this with a link to some tips I put together. Link button below! The tips cover 7 key areas to focus on – surprise, surprise, creativity is one! Nothing that new or earth-shattering – just a gentle reminder, I guess, and some support with prioritising yourself and your needs, extending kindness to yourself too. Hope you enjoy!
Be sweet with yourselves beautiful people! Live well.