Self-love is the basis for good mental health, I often say that we all have mental health, just like physical health and it is important that we look after ourselves, love ourselves and show ourselves compassion. But what does this look like??
Go back to when you were a small child and remember what your parents did to show you love, or if you have children in your family think what you do to show them, love. Well, that’s it!! Self-love is basically us parenting ourselves, it is the relationship you have with yourself. This can be anything from how you talk to yourself about what you do for yourself.
Ideas please I hear you ask? I will share some ideas with you to get you thinking and started:
I will start with basics first
These basic needs are often neglected when we have poor mental health, you often hear of people with depression who wear the same clothes every day or don’t clean and wash or who eat too little or too much of the wrong things. This is the start of self-love and self-parenting.
I as a Mum of two young boys will always make sure they have clean underwear, a daily bath, wash their teeth, have enough good food and drink enough water. If I did not do these things they would feel neglected and unloved or worthless. I am not role modelling basic needs and care, this could e perceived by any small humans as love, basic needs for children is survival.
So if you neglect to do these things for you then these are the messages you are sending to yourself, you are saying, I don’t care about me, I think I am not worthy, I don’t love myself enough to bother. Today make sure you look after yourself and the underlying message you are saying is “you matter” “you are worthy”.
Secondly, treating yourself to something nice or a nice activity. Again think back to when you were small what did you love to do?? What was fun? What do you do with your children?
I loved movies and often snuggled up with my sister watching films on a weekend, we would escape from reality in the film. I remember making treat food like pizza and lemonade and waffles with ice cream and maple syrup….yummmy!
So it’s no surprise that I love to do that now as an adult, a good film with some treats- and lovely food on a Saturday night is the perfect relaxation for me. The cinema is also a favourite of mine- a luxury.
Have a think about what you love to do, riding your bike, swimming, music, nature… whatever it makes a note of it and promise yourself you will do that this week.
In times of stress, we can start to forget self-care and luxuries to enrich our lives, this is not needing to come at a cost, many memories are made doing simple things.
Sometimes life gives no time or space for such things. I am an advocate of this as I have recently experienced the pain and sadness a scary health diagnosis can have on me and my family, and what impact this has to my most loved ones, I feel lucky to be able to really understand about mental health and well-being, this gives me the skills to be able to prioritise myself. At times like this, it is important that you draw on all your learnings and realign what is important in life, skills that will be. Useful forevermore.
Self-love and self-care are essential. Without it, you crumble and are not able to help or look after others, but with it, you can conquer the world.