As a counsellor I see every day how failing to look after our health - emotional and physical - impacts on our lives. When we sprint off the starting blocks in the morning and race through the day meeting other people’s needs and living by other people’s agendas we don’t give ourselves a chance to stop and think about what we need. Or, indeed, a chance to just STOP...period. Over time, this puts the mind and body under huge sustained stress which can so often lead to physical and mental health problems. We ignore our struggling selves in a way we would never ignore our struggling friends. And it’s bad for us.
And so, for the second year running, I wanted to get the message across that selfcare is important and that selfcare is for everybody by running a month-long social media campaign to raise awareness. Don’t get me wrong - I believe in looking after ourselves all year round. #SelfcareSeptember is just a convenient platform to get that message across daily using a catchy hashtag!
The feedback I’ve had is that people have enjoyed the posts and videos, and I’ve been really pleased to see so much engagement, liking and sharing. It really feels worthwhile when I can join in conversations with people in my growing online community.
I’ve been reflecting on what Selfcare September has been like for me this year and, as promised, I want to share some of my reflections, thoughts and feelings here.
I am so very grateful to the ordinary, everyday people who answered my request to share their selfcare tips and stories. Thank you for giving me that permission, thank you for your open and honest accounts of your struggles and thank you for showing that selfcare really is for everybody, whether that’s to help with work struggles, depression, family or whatever. I was really struck by how selfless this sharing was. Without exception all the contributors said they hoped they could help others in some way with their stories. Such human kindness really touched my heart.
Thinking about sharing selfcare messages every day makes me more aware of looking after myself and certainly makes me realise when I’m not doing that! The irony of this is that I noticed about half-way through the month that I felt like Selfcare September was standing in the way of me looking after myself for a little while. It just increased my mental load because I was constantly on the lookout for things to post, thinking about how to share the messages - written posts? memes? videos?, creating memes, keeping on top of scheduling posts...there was something to do every day. This on top of work, family and everything else was tiring. So my antidote was to try to catch naps when I could and cancelling a couple of plans to allow myself some relaxation time to recuperate.
Spreading the love!
Finding things to do every day that help me to live the life I’m happy with by look after my needs makes me a happier, healthier person. I can say this with 100% conviction because there was a time in my life when I didn’t do that and things were very different. Finding the strength to see selfcare as essential and important can be life-changing. And I’d love to see more people being able to allow themselves that. I’ve loved seeing the discussions and taking part in the conversations online. I hope people learned from each other and I know that stories from contributors were respected and honoured by the folk who joined in.
Keep it up
Thank you once again to everyone who contributed to, chatted about and shared the selfcare messages. Not only have you all spread really positive health messages - maybe even to people who haven’t thought much about their selfcare before - you have also made me feel like what I have to say (to anyone who will listen!) is important. Please keep looking after yourself every day and, if you are in a place where you're able to, encourage other people in your life to do the same. It can make all the difference.