Following my January Blues, I've reflected on the things I chose to do to make myself feel better in that moment. So I thought hey - what a great time to put together a Self Care Checklist for Women Over 40.
With valentines day coming up, our social media timelines will be flooded with all the #selfcare or #treatyourself posts of face masks, pamper sessions, flowers and gifts we buy ourselves. All presented as declarations of how great it is to take care of yourself.
But I wonder if these one off treats are a true testament of self care.
Now, I’m not a hypocrite! So, I’m gonna hold my hand’s up and let you know that I blatantly went on a spa day two weekends ago. I enjoyed the treatments, facilities and ate my stomach full of afternoon tea. All in the name of ‘self care’ to lift my blues.
Me feeling great!
Living my best life! #selfcare #spaday
I told myself this was exactly what I needed. What I deserved. Some ‘me’ time. It felt good to get away from my normal routine and just focus on me.
However, is this really the best formula for self care?
Sure I felt good right then and there. It did help lift me out of my mood that day. But are spa visits a sustainable option for my feel good factor? Hell no! (I’m on my debt free journey!)
It made me question – Was it self care or self indulgence?
Whilst in the midst of last month’s blues, I gave myself permission to do what I wanted. I ate shit, didn’t exercise, stared at my phone for hours and didn’t shave my legs for two weeks!! All because I told myself that this was ‘me time’. I deserved to take a break from it all and just be free to wallow. This was my self care. Doing all the things I wanted to do to make myself feel good – right now!
Three weeks behind on my blogging schedule, 4lbs heavier and a large amount of guilt later, my feel good factor of self care actually manifested as regretful ‘self-indulgence’.
I’m a big advocate of making yourself feel good. In fact, I structure my whole life on honouring my values and making it easy for me to feel good. But I’m starting to question, where we draw the line between what feels good and what is actually good for us.
Defaulting to what felt good in the moment, was leading me to revive old habits I had given up a long time ago. Laziness, procrastination, binge watching How to Get Away with Murder and double servings of Pizza Hut Nacho’s (with extra cheese), were all on my self care tick list. But the reality is, if I continued indulging in things that felt good at the time, they could easily sneak back in to become a lifestyle. The result of wish would be more weight on my body, less money in my bank and waking up each day loathing myself.
It wasn’t serving me for the future – it was just a quick fix. True self care comes when you think about your long term happiness and well being.
Obviously it’s easy for me to say this now, as I’ve come out of my funk. But the reality is these things are nice treats to indulge in from time to time.
When I did a little research for my Self Care Checklist for Women over 40, I came across some really outlandish things! Most of the suggestions required me to either spend money or leave my house. I don’t think effective self care should be about making plans to escape from our current lives. But rather, basic maintenance to be practised each and every day as a way to create a life we don’t feel the need to escape from!
Sounds simple? Well, it is. But it’s also hard as hell! The bad news is the self care we actually need to start practising is not glamorous or Instagram worthy. It’s repetitive and can be uncomfortable. It cost you time in the present and won’t give you the instant gratification a spa day or extra glass of wine can bring.
The good news is FREE and your future self will be forever grateful.
My January episode proved to me that too much self indulgence consumes your mental focus, health and finances. Basically meaning you are giving more emphasis on the ‘self’ and not so much on the ‘care’. All with no rewards in the long term.
Personally, if I didn’t snap out of it – ‘My January Blues’ post would have been the last time you heard from me!
Real self care requires you to question whether you are truly doing things that are good for you in the long term.
I strongly believe that self care is about ‘Future Me’. Where I see myself in the next one, five or even ten years. Really caring for yourself, is being willing to do the things that don’t feel good right now. Cultivating simple daily habits and rituals that you do today to be ready for tomorrow. It takes a lot of discipline.
And yes, I may fall off the path occasionally. But the great thing is I’m getting better at forgiving myself for the indulgence and get back on the horse with a little more fire in my belly. I’ve become more willing to risk the discomfort of getting re-started, in order to work towards the longer term benefits.
I’m not saying I’m not going to indulge once in a while. Hell, I’ve already made an entry in my diary to book a spa day for January 2021! But I am clear on my future priorities and have made a firm commitment to achieve what I want.
I want you to do the same during this season of love leading up to the 14th February. It’s essential to plan your self care around the goals that are important to you. This also includes planning for indulgences – instead of emotionally indulging! The actions you take today will be the building blocks of your future.