The art of self-care

I've loved travelling back to England this week, although I'd forgotten how much travelling can be tiring. I have a tendency to try and fit too much into a few days and it's taken its toll.

In navigating through the last week, I've become even more aware of the power and effect of self-care. It is really an art and if it's new to us, it requires us to practice.

What do I mean by self-care?

Self care is about being kind to yourself. It's not pushing and pushing and pushing until you collapse. It's going to bed when you know there's emails overdue for replies and not beating yourself up about it.

Self-care is about talking to yourself as your best friend, not someone you're putting up with. It's using encouraging words like 'Keep going, you're doing really well!' rather than 'You're useless, you can't even do a simple thing'.

Self-care is saying no to the things that do not support you. Relationships, clothes, internet habits. If you're drained and tired all the time, you're choosing to fill your life with things that don't support you. Start with little changes - move the TV into a wardrobe for one week and see how it makes a difference.

Self-care is taking the time you need, even if it's more time than other people need. It's not being pressured by what everyone else thinks is right (even if it's lots of people). It's developing trust in what you want, need and desire and the way you want to go about it.

Self-care is attending to your needs wholeheartedly, without defaulting yourself to second place. It's recognising that you're important and that your needs are just as important as everyone else's.

This week I've asked myself many times:

"What is the most radical act of self-care that I can give to myself at this moment?"

"Radical self-care" is a term used by Cheryl Richardson and Kate Northrup - the latter in the context of money. It doesn't necessarily mean 'Buy the massage for yourself' (but may do!).

Instead, it's asking: "What choice, right now, will support me or give me what I need the most, to be my best?"

I have to include the word 'radical' in my question. Because otherwise I ditch the idea. I say, 'Oh it's fine, I don't need looking after'. Radical is different. Radical gets my attention. When you feel as though the world is sending messages like: 'It's normal to be busy", "Work should come before play" and "You don't really count unless you've achieved something" radical becomes crucial.

Will you ask yourself the same question today?