This isn’t an article about the song ‘Self Preservation Society’ from the film The Italian Job or a kind of weird jam, but I think the title is apt and the subject something that I’ve been working on a lot recently.
I’ve been on a self-care journey for the past fifteen months. I got to a point where I was caring more for the people around me and taking no time to care for myself. You know that feeling of becoming so overwhelmed that in fact, you actually become completely unproductive? When you find that you can only do the bare minimum to get through the day, and you are existing ‘just because’? For me, mine was because I have a daughter, and because I have a job.
And then the tipping point came and it all came crashing down in June of last year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the crash in an odd way because if something hadn’t caved in I wouldn’t have known that the foundations had crumbled and I wouldn’t have known that I needed to rebuild.
The past fifteen months have been about that: rebuilding, rethinking, self-care, self preservation, and re-evaluating what I need to do in order to function and to make me an all-round better human being. Every day I feel as though I’m making positive changes, sometimes really small, hardly noticeable ones, but if I don’t manage to change something one day I won’t punish myself for it. Akin to going on a diet where you have one bad day so you throw the whole thing out of the window. I’m not doing that anymore, I’m not punishing myself for things that really don’t affect anyone else apart from me. If I don’t exercise one morning after I’d made a deal in my mind the night before it’ll be okay. The world won’t go all Chicken Licken’ and the sky definitely won’t fall in. I’ll exercise the following day instead.
My world is busy and I find it very easy to become consumed by everyone else’s needs and demands and make it all the more easy to forget my own, so little by little I’m putting systems in place. Systems work for me. It’s just me and the minx (and a tortoise) at home and a little forward thinking helps me enormously to keep ahead of myself which then allows time for me to find moments to breathe. Exercise works, even just a 20 minute walk, eating well – I make meal plans so I know exactly what to shop for and what I’m cooking. I used to be an avid reader but since becoming a mum I’ve found less time to lose myself in a book – now I’m forcing myself to sit down and read by scheduling it into my day. That might sound ludicrous but it works for me, and I really enjoy the switch off.
If we don’t stop to breathe, and take it all in then what’s the point? It’ll pass us by in a flash and I for one want to be present and enjoy it all.