When I start a coaching relationship with a client we stocktake how they feel about the components of their life. One question is to understand how they feel about the relationships. I have noticed a tendency to answer that question in reference to either our romantic relationship (if we have one) or our relationship with family members, next we may consider friends.
Interestingly, when I ask if a relationship with self has been factored into the response often the response indicated that a) self hasn't been considered and b) relationship to self is not a comfortable topic. This rings very true for me also. Often we are influenced to feel that having a relationship with ourself is maybe a bit selfish, or even a bit weird - we need to put others first.
In fact, we are learning that our relationship with self is the most important one of them all. It all starts with self. If we are kind to self we can be kind to others. If we love self, we can love others. If we treat self well we can treat others well. If we look after self we can look after others.
So, we must look after self and we must have the most fantastic relationship of them all with self. The aeroplane safety message illustrates this for me – put on your own oxygen mask first, then look to help others. Without oxygen we will die and then we just can't help anyone else.
Caring for self comes in many forms. Our needs are as unique as we are. For me, it includes activities like my daily exercise and my morning meditation – even if it is only 10 minutes of meditation and a 15-minute dog walk. I allow myself the flexibility to reduce the time to the smallest amount I am far more likely to achieve that goal than miss it.
Also included in my self-care routine is seeing a naturopath regularly, catching up with my best friends, eating well, thinking supportive thoughts about myself and taking some time out of my weekly routine to just sit quietly and look at the sky.
I encourage you to think about the actions that you take each day, week or month to take care of yourself. Have a think about where changes may be helpful, test out a new strategy or improve the variety of activity. Do something different – a change is as good as a holiday!
However, you do it, give yourself permission to look after yourself. Be kind to yourself and you will be better able to spread that kindness everywhere you go.