Sunday 10 February 2013

I love myself! A short guide to self care by Angel Young

Today I want to write about love of self. It's a particularly hard topic for many of us. Being creative often means being super sensitive and then it's just sooo easy to be too aware of everyone else and their emotion. And then somehow you do what they want.

But what do you want? And what do you need - as a minimum?

I must confess this is work in progress for me as historically I have dealt with self care by
a, working until I fell over
b, shouting at my nearest and dearest (sorry darling)
c, subsisting on chocolate
d, crying a lot.

Oh dear.

Still I am a lot better. I know my triggers. And I understand that sensitivity so much better. So this is my very basic guide for folk like me who need it spelt out slowly!

What's important?

For the Body....

Eating. Breakfast. Very important. Then there's less temptation to eat sweet things that actually make everything worse. Get breakfast right the rest seems to fall into place.

Regular breaks when you are working. Maybe 10 mins every hour. It gives everything a chance to relax. Give yourself permission to do this. It's especially important for home workers who perhaps don't get the dilution of office banter. For me a cup of tea then later lunch - not too late.

Exercise. Oh yes. Great if you are a natural gym bunny. If not trying walking or swimming. Our local pool has ladies night too which is really nice.

Fresh air. See above re walking but get out into the natural light every day.

Sleep. Get enough. Enough said.

Personally I travel a lot for work, but the same is true. Enough breaks when driving. Hot bath when I get home. Down time.

For the Soul....

Meditation. There are lots of guided meditations online. (Meditation Oasis is good if you are a beginner. Here's the link: You can also find them on I-tunes.) Or just sit and still your mind. Feel each part of your body. Acknowledge each part and really feel any discomfort. If you have emotional discomfort, or have absorbed someone else's, sit with that too. Feel it and it will dissipate. Acknowledge when it isn't yours. Over time this process makes the world much easier to deal with. Also it creates a sense of time and spaciousness in a world that suggests we are always running behind. Take back some of that lovely feeling of having time. Don't rush.

Inspiration. A good blog you like. The satisfaction of making scones. A magazine. The small things which cheer your day. Or the local places that inspire you. I love Charleston Farmhouse. Former home of Vanessa Woolf, sister of Virginia, and several other artists and key thinkers from WW1 onwards. Every surface is hand decorated - the walls, the doors, the lampshades (made of pottery). A hand painted naked lady reclines along the side of the bath! Check it out:

Morning pages. Or for me, evening pages. Never been much good in the morning! So even a paragraph can be helpful. I like to add little sketches into mine of projects I'd like to do. It helps. It's a pleasure.

Space. Do you have a "room of your own"? A corner? A cafe? I'm really missing this since I do my day job at home and it's subsumed my creative space. We're hoping to move house so we have a bit more breathing space. I'm trying to learn to work elsewhere. It's a kind of meditation in focus and patience. Do what you can. Stand outside for a moment and look at the moon. Sometimes a deep breath is all we need.

This isn't the only answer, but it the one I'm working on for myself. See what fits for you, and what you would do differently. Remember to allow time to observe how you behave before you try to change. Change sticks more when you take it slow. Most importantly be gentle with yourself. A bit of forgiveness and self love go a long way.

Angel lives in the south of England and loves writing and photography.

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