Self-care. It’s the buzzword of the 21st century. I guess because a lot of us suck at it…

There are over 242 words with the prefix “self”, and I am very good at quite a few of them: self-awareness, self-control, selflessness, as well as self-loathing, self-pity and self-harm.

But there are a few key words I struggle with, partly because I fear becoming self-absorbed, self-serving and selfish.

I hear it again and again though – in order to become a whole person, in order to recover and become healthy, I must learn self-compassion, self-love and self-care.

So after a little self-reflection, I’ve worked out my personal self-care needs. From there, self-compassion may follow. And perhaps – in a dim, distant future – self-love will become a buzzword with less of a negative connotation for me. I’m pretty good at hedonistic, head-in-the-sand kind of stuff, but I understand recovery needs work a lot less fun, and a bit more productive. So here we go – my personal steps for self-care.

  1. Nourish my body – three times a day. With healthy food that makes me feel great – in body and in spirit. And stay hydrated as well!
  2. Exercise. I can only get to gym four days a week now 🙁 So the other three days I need to do something else. Get out walking or do whatever I feel like. Just move.
  3. Do my physio exercises. These are incredibly important. When I do them, my back is so much better. When I don’t do them, I am in fairly constant pain.
  4. Mindfulness, meditation or visualisation exercises. For ten+ minutes a day no matter what. Twice daily would be even better but let’s not make things prohibitively complicated… It is so important – the monkeys chattering in my head never shut up!
  5. Rest. I am so fucking tired. All the time. There is no mental let-up from the moment my feet hit the floor, until I get back into bed at night. I need mental down time. Proper down time… Not Candy Crush, Facebook and Instagram. Not reading, writing and worrying. Down time. Lying down, doing nothing, time.
  6. Stay in touch with friends. I have awesome friends. I say this nearly every day… But I shy away from reaching out as it seems exhausting. It’s not exhausting – it’s rejuvenating. Just do it woman.
  7. Clean my house. I can’t begin to describe my hatred and horror at being in a dirty, messy house. But I avoid cleaning because I hate going near the mess. Plus I’m exhausted all the time…  I must do it though. It makes such a difference to my emotional state. Housework could be my exercise on non-gym days 😀
  8. Look after my body. Do all the things that need to be done. Including go to the dentist. I skipped dentist appointments for nearly two years because I can’t be bothered making the appointment. It’s not that hard. I just hate talking on the phone…
  9. Spend wisely. When I’m not being self-destructive with binging, purging, restricting or cutting, I’ve been known to mindlessly shop. Anything at all to avoid emotions. I’ve learned all the tricks of the trade. But money problems make me feel worse – not better…
  10. Nurture my marriage. We’ve been together 25 years. If nothing else, it’s easier to stay and fix it, than to leave and break it. We have so much history. There are so many memories. And so much love! But a quarter of a century also brings a lot of resentments, bad habits, and taking things for granted. I don’t want to get divorced – so work on being happy in the marriage. It’s good for both of us.

It looks a complex and exhausting list to be honest. None of these things really come naturally. I’d rather punish my body, wallow in self-pity, and push myself beyond my physical capacity to do any more. With every passing year, it all becomes so much more difficult though. In 2017, I’m turning over a new leaf – v.e.r.y s.l.o.w.l.y…

If all this self-care becomes a routine, perhaps self-compassion will follow and then one day I may even become, Myself.

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