Life’s short – buy the shoes / eat the cake / kiss the boy.
A Pinterest cliché if ever there was one – and yet, so true.
However, aside from the fact that you never know what’s around the corner or the direction in which your life will go, even if your life is long and you live to be 85, 90 or even 100 years old – why wouldn’t you want to spend your life here on earth feeling and looking the very best you can?
Why wouldn’t you want to live your very best life?
So many of us save things for “best”. The beautifully scented soap we bought on holiday. The expensive candle our friend gave us for our birthday. Our favourite pair of shoes.
But why do we do this? Is it because we want to preserve and “treasure” a gift (even though it was given to us so that we could use it)? Do we fear that if we “use up” something nice and expensive that we may never be able to afford to replace it? Is it because, deep down, we don’t really feel as if we deserve to have nice things?
As women, we spend so much of our time looking after other people, and rarely – if ever – put ourselves first. We spend money on gorgeous new clothes for our children, making sure that they look clean, neat and downright cute, while barely leaving ourselves time to pull on the jacket we’ve had for three years and drag a brush through our hair. We look after our ageing parents, take on extra responsibilities at work and always know exactly where our husband has left whatever it is that he’s looking for.
On an aeroplane they tell you that in the event of an emergency you should put on your own oxygen mask before helping others – in other words, you can’t look after other people if you’re not looking after yourself. Or, to quote another Pinterest cliché, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
All this “giving” can also chip away at our confidence if we don’t keep an eye on it. While looking to others for approval and validation is a slippery slope, self-esteem wise, let’s face it – we don’t exactly get a lot of thanks for what we do for others! Which makes it even more vital that we make “self-care” a priority.
At this point, you may be worrying that this is just another thing to add to your to-do list, or that you don’t have the money to “treat” yourself, let alone the time.
But don’t worry, done right self-care is enjoyable, not a chore, will give you more energy, and it needn’t cost you very much (if anything at all).
Here are my favourite ways to look after myself…
Simple Self-Care Tips
- Making sure you take your daily vitamins and supplements (you know – the ones you bought months ago because you needed a little “boost” but only got round to taking one or two and have been sitting in the kitchen cupboard ever since…)
- Not hitting the snooze button – give yourself more time in the morning to do some meditation, put on your makeup properly, or simply sit down and eat your breakfast rather than walking out the door with a slice of toast or skipping it all together.
- Burning a scented candle and listening to some relaxing music as you clear up after dinner (it’s a job that needs to be done so you might as well make the best of it!)
- Turn off the crappy TV programme you’ve crashed out in front of and just go to bed! There’s nothing like an early night and a good long sleep to perk you up!
- I know it’s on every self-care list ever, but take a bubble bath. Next to an early night I always find this one of the best ways to rejuvenate.
- Find some time (don’t laugh…) to read a personal development book. No matter how you’re feeling or where you want to take your life, there’s a book out there that’ll give you some inspiration and a fresh perspective. Read on your public transport commute or when you’re in the bubble bath mentioned above, alternatively if you prefer (which I do) listen to an audiobook when you’re in the car or when you’re doing a workout or jobs around the house.
- Try meditating or a mindfulness practice. Personally I swear by meditation – and it’s scientifically proven to be good for you! Don’t worry about the precious tie that you will lose when doing your practice, experts say that for every 20 minutes you meditate you gain an hour’s worth of productivity due to being in a clearer and more focused state of mind. For some wonderful guided meditations and visualisations, check out Gabby Bernstein – her book’s pretty good too if you’re looking for something to read in the bath!!
- Get some exercise. Again, moving your body and raising your heart rate is medically proven to give you more energy, help you sleep and give you improved mental clarity. Going to the gym or doing a yoga video will help give you the va-va-voom to tackle that to-do list, so don’t think that you don’t have time. Bonus points for going outside and getting some fresh air while you do it!
- Stop saving things for best. Wearing the shoes that you absolutely love will give you a spring in your step when you’re not exactly pumped about going into the office. Putting on your favourite dress on date night – even if you’re only going to the cinema of the local for a quick glass of wine - will make you feel more attractive and sexier. Spritzing yourself from head to toe in the outrageously expensive perfume you only ever wear on special occasions will make you feel, well, special.
- Buy yourself some fresh flowers. Even if it’s just a 99p bunch of daffodils, every time you see them you’ll remind yourself that you do deserve treats and luxuries.
Life is short – use that soap, burn that candle, wear those shoes. It’s for your own good, and you won’t regret it!
Fancy getting the whole family in on the self-care vibe? Check out my guide to Hygge HERE.