I’ve been doing some very important research readers. I was invited to Eden Hall Day Spa for the day to really explore the idea of self care and think about how we can improve looking after ourselves, even when we have busy home and work lives.
There are a lot of blog posts out there that talk about how to improve your self care, but I think we all know what looking after ourselves looks like, don’t we? Don’t get me wrong, these posts are brimming with helpful suggestions about how drinking more water, having a good bedtime routine and eating healthier help us. But how do we go from not looking after ourselves very well to introducing these self care habits into our daily, weekly and monthly regime.
What Does Your Self Care Look Like Now?
You need to start by asking yourself what your self care looks like now, and be completely honest with yourself about the state it’s in. I spent the first part of my day at Eden Hall relaxing in the conservatory with a cup of coffee thinking about the key areas; how I feel, my personal care routine, exercise levels and diet. It was perfect being in a space that felt tranquil and serene, without any distractions going through these questions without anything to distract me.
How Do You Feel Most Of The Time?
When I asked myself this question, I realised the honest answer was stressed and not particularly fulfilled. I had become so consumed by my work I had lost a sense of balance to my life. It was making me feel unhappy about blogging and snappy with the people around me. That’s never a good headspace to be in when you have a family and children around you.
My stress levels were high and my personal care was low and done on the fly most of the time. My weight was increasing and my diet contained far too much sugar.
My work life balance had got all out of whack, and I realised that most of our leisure activities were devoted to family time, with very little time for me or my relationship with my husband. I found a table really helpful to get me to focus and be honest about my self care regime. Focus on what your self care looks like now, and make a list. It could look something like this:
What Would You Like Your Self Care To Look Like?
Once you’ve got a list of what your self care looks like now, you can start thinking about what good self care looks like for you. This is a summary of my self care aims, but you could also include things like drink more water, put make up on for the school run or what ever a good routine looks like for you.
What Are The Obstacles To Better Self Care?
Once I’d got my list together, I headed to the Rose Quartz steam room at Eden Hall to contemplate my personal care a little more. How do we get from where we are now to moving closer towards our self care goals?
Before we can even begin on this journey, there seemed to be another question we need to ask ourselves first. Sometimes we cannot move forward with our journey until we understand the obstacles we face along the way, so it’s time to put pen to paper again and think about what is happening in your life to make self care less of a priority.
When I asked myself this question, the things you would expect to be there appeared like busy work, family and home life, low energy levels, no planning and too much screen time. Something else appeared on my list though, that felt like a bigger obstacle than all the rest.
I started to think about how my relationship affected my self care, and I came to the conclusion it was having quite an impact. It’s not that I am unhappy, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s more that my husband doesn’t really embrace or understand the idea of self care and why women need to pamper themselves every now and again. If we are busy, to him it’s something that you can do without. For a man that can really be the case, but us women need a certain level of self care in order to feel good about ourselves.
It struck me that I need some firmer boundaries around my self care. While I don’t want to become completely obsessed with myself or my vanity, I do need a better beauty and care regime. While I appreciate my husbands stance on this issue, which is OK for him, I’ve started to adopt the same stance which is far from healthy for me. I need more self care than him and that’s OK. I enjoy a visit to the spa with a facial and massage, and if he doesn’t want to join me, well I will just go with a girlfriend or even by myself. I quite like the peace and quiet. Do any of your relationships have an effect on how much time you give to your self care?
Develop Your Self Care Action Plan
With self care goals identified and personal boundaries all checked, now it’s time to write your own self care action plan and guess what, another chart is going to help. I’m a strong believer in what isn’t tracked, doesn’t change so work out what you want to achieve over the course of the next month. This could be anything like take a bubble bath, give yourself a manicure or pedicure, style your hair, drink 2 litres of water. Anything you like, write it all down in a column to the left.
Along the top of the chart, write the dates for the month. You should end up with something a little like this:
All you do is mark off what you have achieved each day, and you will be able to see if your self care regime is improving and where you need to make more effort. It can be a really enlightening and motivating process.
Identify The Positive Results
Habits can be very hard to change so it’s important to be mindful about the improvements you experience and celebrate your successes. If you start to feel your energy levels rise, or you start losing weight be sure to connect them to the changes you have made in your routine and give yourself a metaphorical high five. This will not only improve your chances of success, but will also help improve your self esteem.
So, while I do like posts like ‘5 ways to improve your self care’, I think the whole process of improving how we look after ourselves is a touch more complex than these kind of blogs make it out to be. If you use the process I’ve discussed to change your mind set, you are going to be able to introduce a better self care regime into your life and sustain it. The perfect place to start focusing on your self care is of course at the spa.
This post was written in collaboration with Eden Hall Day Spa, and I would like to extend a huge thank you to them to letting me join them for the day to conduct my research. Visiting a spa should be in your self care routine to help recharge your batteries and improve how you look after yourself. More information about Eden Hall Day Spa, their treatments and special offers can be found here.
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