Of all the lifestyle trends happening right now, the one I’m backing is self-care. But to be honest, it took me a while to get on board and I couldn’t really figure out why until last week. I was listening to the Girlboss podcast with Psychologist Dr Lauren and she kind of blew my mind a little bit with some of her thoughts on low self-esteem – super relatable to someone who struggles with that (read: me).
Women, she pointed out, are conditioned from childhood to put the needs of others before their own, and then when they grow up, people wonder why they feel like they have no worth. She gave the example of one of her a teenage patients coming into her office with anxiety because she hadn’t studied for her test. When she asked her why she hadn’t, she said because she had to bake. Confused, she pressed her further until it turned out that as a cheerleader at that school, it was mandatory to bake treats for the footballers and place them in their lockers in the morning ready for them to eat. No, really…
But when you think about it, I’m pretty sure we can all think of so many occasions in our lives when we’ve all ‘baked for the footballers’ as it were. When you start to count up all the times that you’ve put yourself last or felt guilty about doing something for yourself, it all starts to click why you feel so down on yourself.
And I think that’s why to start with, for a lot of us the whole idea of self-care feels a touch self-indulgent. But it’s not; it’s survival. It’s things like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet and sometimes just saying no to something you really don’t want to do.
The thing to remember before it becomes another way of marketing expensive products to people, (I’m looking at you, hygge), is what it actually means. Self-care at its most basic, is any activity that nourishes your mental, emotional and/or physical health. After that, the beauty of it is that it’s all about what you need. It can be as simple as taking a walk or calling a friend. It doesn’t have to be a fancy spa day… but likewise, it totally can be too if that’s what you feel like you really need.
My main life energy is drawn from the importance and power of kindness. But I guess it’s only recently that I’ve allowed a little bit of that light to shine on myself, too. And the first time you don’t put yourself last, you realise your place at the bottom of the pile no longer exists. Like it shouldn’t have done in the first place.
So, check in with yourself once in a while and work out what’s going to make you feel like the best version of yourself that day. Because the more we practice self-care, the more we’ll develop self-worth. And then hopefully one day in the future we’ll get to the point where girls won’t feel like they have to bake for anyone to validate them and give them self-esteem – they’ll already have that cooked up for themselves.