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Anyone fed up of hearing about self care yet? I am a huge advocate of it but I really think it gets a bad press and I’m writing this in the hope that I can shed new light on it as well as encouraging you to get involved if you’re not already. So, here’s six and a half things that self care is not:

1) A lost cause if you’re a mum

Our kids have huge pressures on them these days, that I don’t think we had when we were growing up. The education system loads a lot of pressure on them (unnecessarily, in my ‘former primary school teacher’ opinion), social media means that social and peer pressure is relentless and more intense and kids are much more aware of what’s going on in the world.

All this creates an environment where modelling good self care is really important. So, as a mum, rather than telling yourself you’re too busy or that your priority is to take care of your kids, why not model good self care behaviours and help them to protect their own mental health and set up good practices for now and later life. Your self care now, is about more than just you.

2) Meant to be a chore

Self care is not meant to make you unhappy and feel anxious about fitting it in. Surely that just completely defeats the object of it. In my opinion, good self care slips into your day as second nature. It’s part of your daily routine and can be something you look forward to.

When it becomes a chore, then it’s no longer self care but another stressor. So if it feels like a chore you need to read on and re-evaluate.

3) Helpful if you feel guilty about it

Now, if you’ve absorbed the info in point one, then you won’t be feeling guilty about it any more but just to hammer home the point, modelling good self care is good parenting.

Not to mention the fact that if you’re happy and taking good care of yourself then you’re in a much better place to care for everyone else around you AND to perform at your best in every aspect of your life.

Your self care supports and helps everyone you come into contact with, so there’s really no reason to feel guilty.

4) Supposed to be hard work

Self care is not supposed to be hard work! It’s supposed to be fun, light you up, make you feel better in yourself and raise your vibration. Self care is all about lifting your spirits, making day to day seem easier and creating that life that you always dreamed of ~ no not the one on a yacht with [insert hunk of choice] but the one where life seems fun and easy and you don’t feel exhausted and stressed all the time!

5) Exclusively practised alone

I think if there’s one thing you remember from this post it’s this one. Self care is not something you always have to do alone. It’s the most misunderstood part of self care.

If you love being around people, then you’re going to want to have lots of ‘peopley’ activities in your self care arsenal. That means meeting friends for coffee / meals / walks / trips to the cinema. It might also means going to group yoga or meditiation classes or even to an excercise class with others.

If you find other people draining then yes, your self care will be spending time alone but if that’s not how you re-energise then do group things.

Many of us will need a mixture of both.

6) Always about relaxing

Another big misconception. Self care is not always about doing something relaxing. It is about replenishing your reserves, so it can be dancing, it can be exercising or eating or being with friends.  It can be date night or trips to the park with your kids if these are things you enjoy. But it’s also bubble baths and early nights, movies on the sofa, with or without company and meditation and yoga.

6 1/2) A quick word about self care and selfishness

Heard the one about ‘self care is not selfish’?

I beg to differ. It is totally selfish; it’s all about putting yourself first, making sure you’re in tip top condition and that you are loving your life.

What is important is that you realise that being selfish and putting yourself first is ok. It’s completely ok.

At Beautiful Swans we focus hugely on self care – in fact there’s a whole module on it: what it is, what it isn’t and how to make it an integral part of your life without it negatively impact on anyone else around you.

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