“To thine own self be true” – I’m pretty sure Polonius in Hamlet wasn’t alluding to ‘self-care’ when he uttered those famous lines and I hope the bard forgives me for interpreting it thus.
I try to live by this principle but rarely succeed. I actually wear a necklace with these words on it – perhaps in the hope that its sentiment seeps through my blood stream into my brain.
How many times a day do we find ourselves fulfilling the needs of others, without even thinking about what we might want?
So what exactly is self-care? I see it as carving out time for oneself, for filling that moment with what you might like to do. It may be reading a book, having a bath/walk, whatever it is that grounds and replenishes you.
I typically spend all day at work troubleshooting and sorting, rush home and repeat the same there – my kids are tucked in bed smelling of lavender with clean hair, clean sheets, brushed hair, trimmed nails and I on the other hand don’t dare look in the mirror.
I hadn’t realised how putting myself at the bottom of the heap can be so detrimental to my health but if you think about it, how can we be our best self for others if we don’t look after ourselves? As the saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.”
I may well get in trouble for saying this but in my opinion women are much more guilty of this than men – we seem to see it as a badge of honour to give endlessly, feeling it is egotistical to add our wishes into the mix. But there is no prize awarded for the most self sacrificial person.
For me our new Shea Body Butter epitomises self care. The ingredients are indulgent (the Shea Butter comes from a women's cooperative in Burkina Faso and I wrote about it just a few months back), they give back to the body and the smells invoke feelings of spring, new beginnings and hope.
This butter is an excellent excuse to take a few minutes for yourself as it needs time to be massaged into the skin.
It is an extravagant, celebration of a product and one that the kids or husband are not allowed to steal. I put it on last thing at night and let the natural ingredients work their magic as I sleep.
So here’s to us giving our bodies and mind some respect and care however we choose to do it.