January is often seen as the month of self-care. But how does this work after a year like 2020? Kate Lucey, author of Get a Grip, Love, discusses being kinder to ourselves this year.
You Should Look After Yourself More, Honey
January is a time when we’re bombarded with messaging around looking after ourselves more after the ‘damage’ we did to ourselves in December. Well, considering the absolute bin fire of a year that was 2020, I for one have been doing the damage on the daily from around the middle of March. But what exactly does it mean to ‘look after yourself’ a bit more while we’re living in a pandemic? We can’t go to a plush spa (germs) or take a soothing minibreak (germs), we can’t lounge in a dimly lit wine bar with an interesting novel (germs) or pop to the neighbour’s house for a cuppa and a chinwag about the lack of parking spaces (more germs), so what are we to do?
My Definition of Self-Care
Looking after yourself means different things to everyone, but my definition would be to take the pressure of off yourself and spend your time doing something that makes you feel good. Whether that’s having a nap, making pancakes for dinner, staging a photoshoot for your cat or binge-watching 3 seasons of Friends that you’ve already seen 57 times. If it’s licking your bloody windows and making barking noises when cars drive past that makes you feel good, go for it.
Be Kinder to Yourself
But beside the physical things we can do to look after ourselves more (like taking a bath, going for a socially distanced walk or slathering on inches of moisturiser), looking after yourself really starts in your head. Being kind to yourself is hard. Our brains are very used to slagging us off and talking trash, and I think that looking after ourselves should really begin with us trying to change the narrative of our inner trash-talkers. It’s not as easy as slipping into some fresh pyjamas and whacking on George Michael’s Greatest Hits, but being kinder to yourself is the best kind of self-care I can think of.
Get A Grip, Love
In Get A Grip, Love, I speak to a whole gaggle of people to find out what works for them when they want to be a bit nicer to themselves, and generally spend the entire book harping on about how to give yourself a break, which can hopefully give you some starting points or inspiration for treating yourself as you would a friend, and not constantly giving yourself a hard time. Good luck.