Inner Beauty Matters: Taking Time for You

It all came to a head when at 6am on Saturday morning I got, yet another horrid email from a very difficult client, this one full of swearing and changes which he hadn't wanted until he did, and before I knew it I was in ugly, hiccupy, uncontrollable tears. The anxiety mixed with annoyance, and my poor Himself woke to an epic meltdown. My anxiety had firmly taken control and I had been ignoring the symptoms until it all came pouring out.  
Why am I sharing this? Because I hadn't been implementing any self care, I'd been focused on my client, on keeping them happy. Working late, working antisocial hours, not sleeping enough and worrying. 
Life got in the way of me. Life got in the way...a lot.

And so there I was in floods, I couldn't stop, I was swollen eyed and snotty, and Himself said to me, 'you need to cut him off.' Though I couldn't drop him as a client, I could take back my power. I sent him the most professional email, calling him out on his language, his behaviour and putting a pin in our work. Was he happy? No. Did I care? Well a bit but that's beside the point. 

The point is self care is important, had I been on top of it a bit more I might not have got so upset, but self care is more than massages and pyjamas, it's also standing up for yourself. So with this in mind, and hopefully to inspire you to integrate self care into your day, I wanted to put together 5 of my best self care ideas:

1. Sleep with your phone on air plane mode.

Odd one to start with I know, but if you're anything like me your phone buzzes with notifications through the night, from messages to app notifications, and it affects your sleep. Sleep is the best weapon for your mental health, better sleep, better you. There's also the stress of feeling accessible, when someone can reach you day or night, especially if that person is a stressor. Take back control.  Put your phone on airplane mode, emails and notifications will wait. If someone needs to get a hold of you there are other ways, they can wait until the morning.

2. New/ Clean Pyjamas 

This is the ultimate in hygge, nothing is as nice as getting out of a hot shower in the evening and into clean or brand new pyjamas. My ultimate tip is buy yourself a really nice fabric softener with lavender in it, and use it for sheets and pyjamas so restfulness always smells the same way. The smell will trigger the sense of relaxation so should aid a restful night. Plus there's nothing cosier than how you feel when you're all clean and toasty. 

3. Learn how to stand up for yourself

Standing up for yourself is the ultimate in self care, it's caring enough about yourself to ensure people treat you with respect. This can be a hard one, women do struggle more in the workplace with being respected and not interrupted, but it isn't just the workplace, we all have times we need to stand up for ourselves to friends, colleagues, even people during the day. I have a trick that can help you. You just need 1 phrase, one that can become a go to any time you need to call someone on their behaviour, politely. I like to add a gesture to mine, I call it 'conference finger' because I always had to use it at academic conferences to stop people interrupting.

 My phrase 'excuse me, but I think we need to take a step back here'. You can use it at work or during your day. It's formal and respectful but is enough to stop the perpetrator and give them pause. Try it out in front of the mirror until it's a reflex. 

  'excuse me, but I think we need to take a step back here'
 'excuse me, but I think we need to take a step back here'
 'excuse me, but I think we need to take a step back here'

4. Be kind to yourself about your mental health

I've dealt with depression and anxiety, I'm not ashamed of that fact, why would I be? And nor should you. How you feel makes you human, and makes you who you are, giving yourself a hard time because you feel down, or because you feel anxious only adds fuel to the fire. Mindfulness training teaches us that we should accept how we feel in that moment as it is, not add anything, not take anything away, just feel it. We don't need to engage or question it, it's only a feeling, it will pass. 

So that's why when you're experiencing a mentally difficult day you don't need to fight and lambaste yourself for it, be kind, say to yourself, 'I'm feeling anxious today, it's just a feeling though and it will pass, I'll just look after myself a bit more today.' Then follow through.

5. Do something you enjoy, without feeling guilty about it. 

This isn't a revolutionary one, it's that simple, do something you like and don't feel bad about it. That includes eating cake, for some reason as women we are very good at making ourselves feel bad about food we like, and also well every damn thing we enjoy that isn't for someone else. Don't be a martyr, no-one will thank you for it. 

Drink the wine, go to the movies alone, eat all the popcorn. Buy yourself that piece of jewellery, sew, sit in the bath with 4 new bathbombs from Lush fizzing all at once. Get the lash extensions, get crazy nails, ring your best friend, visit your favourite patisserie and try everything, go to the beach, spend half an hour smelling every perfume in the store at your leisure. Buy a new lipstick, read a good book, drink a new type of coffee, watch your favourite tv show, visit your old house, take a flask of tea to the park and hang out to pet all the dogs. Do what makes you happy, just you, no one else. 

That's the heart of self care, as women we are so quick to put others before us, family, partners, children, work, that we forget you cannot pour from an empty jug. Until you take the time to look after you, you cannot look after anyone else. 

Do the things. 

Much Love, and let me know via Instagram or Twitter how you get on!
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