“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation…” – Audre Lorde.
In addition to being connected with others, you need to have a connection with yourself. This connection brings us to the last component which forms the foundation of buoyancy – self-care. Have you ever been on a plane and, during the safety demonstration, had the flight attendant tell you to put the oxygen mask on the person next to you, before putting one on yourself? No, me neither. Why not? Because if you pass out from lack of oxygen you will be no good to anyone! You have to put your own oxygen mask on first, to look after yourself, because only then will you be able to look after others. It’s the same with your mental health – taking care of yourself first is one of the very best things you can do to help you bloom.
The options for nurturing your mental health are only limited by your imagination
They can be things such as a massage; gardening; cooking a nice dinner; playing uninterrupted with your kids; or going for a jog. It could be things like committing to going to bed early one night or turning your mobile phone/email off at 6pm one night a week. Maybe you have always wanted to try Zumba, join a meditation class, volunteer with your local soup kitchen or learn an instrument or a language you’ve always wanted to learn. Well, go for it!
Often we don’t prioritise ourselves in this way. We don’t take the time or put in the energy to look after ourselves. You are worth the effort. Show some compassion to yourself. You may not be all that you dreamed of; you may have bits about yourself, physically and emotionally, that you’re just not thrilled about. Remember that you are the one who can change that. I don’t know many people who have made lasting positive changes to their lives by not believing in themselves; by not looking after themselves or by beating themselves up. I have seen countless people make amazing, positive changes physically, emotionally, vocationally, relationally and spiritually when they are compassionate to themselves. When they accept themselves today, as they are, and make a plan for how to love themselves into their future goals.
Be kind to yourself. You are worth the effort.