Megan is a devoted wife, mother of four children of various ages, a photographer and the one in charge of cooking, cleaning and providing a family taxi service. Her pottery wheel is where she says, “I go, daily, to reclaim my sense of self.”
To the casual observer Megan and I are completely different. She’s tall and slender, never wears makeup or nail polish and is very quiet. I, on the other hand, am short and curvy, rarely seen without mascara and a red manicure and can be quite vocal. We live vastly different lives.
Yet we strongly agree on one particular topic; the importance of self-care.
Self-care has become a buzzword, an Instagram hashtag and let’s face it…we all know at least one person who uses “self-care” as an excuse to think only of themselves. It’s also become a lucrative industry. We’re being sold the idea that it’s a luxury item; something to be booked and put in the diary when time allows or added to our shopping carts.
But the first step in self-care isn’t booking a spa day or buying a new overpriced candle. It’s believing you’re worthy of self-care at all.
At the heart of healing my relationship with my body was my commitment to practicing self-care no matter how much I weighed. This was the opposite of what I’d been doing: Viewing it as something I needed to “earn,” a reward I could only claim once I lost weight…which rarely happened.
When I initially made this commitment, wearing clothes that made me feel fabulous and buying myself flowers were some of my first steps. Now my practice has evolved beyond items I’m privileged to have. I no longer view it as “a nice thing to do when life allows,” but rather as non-negotiable actions which form a firm foundation for my life, especially during tumultuous times. The pretty dresses and weekly flowers are an added bonus, not essentials.
If you’re waiting until you’ve lost 10, 20 or 100 pounds before you invest in self-care, you’re looking at this from the wrong angle. You are already worthy, not once you reach a goal weight. Could it be you’re used to giving so much, you’ve forgotten how to ask for what you need? That won’t stop just because you reach a “magical” number on a scale.
Start treating yourself, now, as you plan to treat your future self.
There’s no magic self-care prescription. Just as Megan and I take a different approach, so can you. You may decide it means making time to journal or read each day or signing up for that class you were going to take after you lost a few pounds. I have a friend who considers her work an essential part of her self-care and another who finally freed herself from toxic friends.
Whatever you choose to do, someone will have an opinion. Take a self-care tip from me: Ignore them unless you agree. By the way, this isn’t a static concept. What you need at this stage of your life may differ over time. What’s important is that you believe you’re worthy of self-care – not in future – but right now.
The Pro-Body Project is published fortnightly. You can read the first entry here.