In my work I have made it my mission to promote the benefits of slowing down and being mindful for our overall happiness and wellbeing.
I always thought being busy was something to aspire to and to validate your work and your worth. I have come to realise that what I was truly craving for, was the opposite and I know that I am not alone to feel this way.
In fact, I have encountered many women echoing the same feelings that I have experienced. The discussions I have come across on numerous occasions in my work environment and on the school run, focus on having to justify and negotiate making time and not letting feelings of guilt creep in.
A recent survey conducted by the app Shine in 2019, found that 79% of women reported wanting to prioritise selfcare and mental health.
Until last year, I did not know that the word selfcare existed. I had absolutely no idea how much of an impact and an integral part of my life it was going to be.
Selfcare is an activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. It means being kind to yourself and bringing self-compassion into your life. To also help prevent feelings of constant overwhelm and feeling burnt out.
Selfcare does not mean being selfish, I know that was something that I had to understand and re-learn especially being a mother with young children. In fact, it strengthens and enables us to support our loved ones more effectively. Mothers guilt can often take a firm hold of you and you push yourself at the bottom of the list. How often have you done that to yourself?
“Self-care is a deliberate choice to gift yourself with people, places, things, events, and opportunities that recharge our personal battery and promote whole health — body, mind, and spirit.” – Laurie Buchanan, PhD
Creativity is the ability to produce original and unusual ideas, or to make something new or imaginative (Cambridge English Dictionary)
My selfcare focused on being creative and using the resources I had available to me, such as a needle and thread to stitch and pen and paper to draw. Creative activities impact the body in a way that is similar to meditation, you could say it is like yoga for your brain.
There is such a wide range of creative processes and techniques available for you to explore and try for yourself, for example; drawing, sewing, knitting and writing. You can also take advantage of the many art and craft kits and subscription boxes that provide everything you will need for your creative selfcare.
My favourite creative activity for my selfcare is slow stitching. I love this process as it is all about letting go and allowing the needle and thread lead the way to your calmness. The focus is not on what will the final result look like but instead, to work intuitively with your hands to see what develops. The benefits of this approach allow you to explore and experiment, which is playful and therapeutic.
“There is no such thing as creative and non-creative people, only people who use their creativity and people who don’t”- Brené Brown
The reasons why you should make creative activities a part of your selfcare
- It is fun and enjoyable
- Helps relieve stress
- It stimulates your brain
- Boosts your self confidence
- Gives you new ways to express yourself
- Helps us to connect with who we are on a deeper level
- Helps us to slow down from our busy lives
Make time for you
Give yourself permission to go with the flow and immerse yourself in a creative activity. Focusing on your hands while creating encourages you to be present and in the moment, forgetting about your everyday for a while. The state of flow is a powerful experience and makes people much happier according to the theories of the positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
“A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it” – MihalyCsikszentmihalyi
Making time for you cannot be underestimated and it is never too late to focus on you for your happiness and wellbeing.
National Selfcare Week 16-22 November 2020 will be promoting ‘selfcare for life’. There is an abundance of resources to help and inspire you to make selfcare a part of your life, for the rest of your life.