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#SelfCare - it's not just self-indulgence

Feet up - when #selfcare is more than self-indulgence

Having talked about the comfort to be obtained from #SelfCare, I'd be failing if I didn't cover that it's about more than indulging yourself when needed - for that's just one aspect. A hugely important part of #SelfCare is #SelfResponsibiilty. It's about being a grown-up in the face of feeling helpless. It's about doing what needs to be done to keep yourself well, both in body and mind, even - especially - when you don't feel like it. It's about dull, practical stuff like paying your bills, not giving in to instant gratification but choosing delayed gratification instead, about accepting your weaknesses rather than obsessing over them, about learning useful lessons from your failures rather than being ground down by them, about working hard to build a future you will love rather than feel a need to escape from.

The thing is that #SelfCare is both short-term and long-term.

When life is at its most tough, short-term #SelfCare is what's required - having well-established routines to ensure you get out of bed, bathe, eat properly, do laundry, pick up prescriptions, do your job, pay your bills and get good quality sleep. It's about making choices that will ensure you don't waste your limited energy - be that emotional or physical.

When life is more stable, it's time to develop long-term #SelfCare. Like the routines you rely on when life is tough, you'll need to develop strategies to help you lessen the number of occasions when life is tough, and to build towards the life you truly want and so won't feel a need to escape from it. So, get thinking. What can you do? What do you want? What dreams would you like to fulfil? How does the life you'd never need to escape from look? Makes plans. Face tough truths. Make choices. Embrace change - or get used to making them.

Start small. If you don't have those routines for short-term #SelfCare, start putting them into place. Don't over-load or complicate them - keep them short, simple, achievable - and use them, every single day. Refine those which don't work, build on those which do. Make it as easy as possible to do what's necessary when life is tough.

Then work up to the big stuff. Are there changes you could make to your daily lifestyle? Such as build in more time spent in the fresh air, or making better dietary choices instead of opting for crash diets. Examine whether aspects of your life are dragging you down, possibly even contributing to those tough times? Is someone in your life an energy vampire? Are you under-appreciated and poorly paid at work? Are there changes you could make? Perhaps you've not attempted any changes before, as they felt too hard - does seeing how much they contribute to your tough times will make it easier to bite the bullet and make the change you need? Try visualising how your life will look after you've made the change, to give yourself something positive to move towards for it's a lot easier to move towards reward than to move away from penalty.

If you need help with this long-term phase of #SelfCare - get it! Whether that be in the form of carrying out research and engaging in self-education, in having a friend as accountability partner, or deciding to work with a professional. Do it! Keep visualising that life when you'll be able to read a magazine, have a massage, or play a game of squash just because you enjoy those things, rather than as stress relief or a form of escape.

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