What is the most important relationship in your life? Your spouse, your children, your parents- the list of choices can be significant. Although these are all types of crucial, important, and beautiful relationships, they're not actually the most important. Surprisingly, it's yourself.
Before you dismiss this idea as being selfish (it does sound like it!), take a moment to consider the longest relationship of your entire life. Who do you talk to constantly? Who is always with you?
Well, you are.
This level of self-conscious awareness is what makes humans so distinctly different than other animals. You are in a constant relationship with yourself and it's the most critical one because it shapes all of your other relationships. The healthier the relationship you have with yourself, the healthier all of your other relationships can be.
You can quickly assess where your self-relationship falls on the social wellness spectrum. Take a moment to assess your typical thoughts about yourself: do you downplay your successes? Do you call yourself names (stupid, idiot, clumsy, etc.)?, do you procrastinate and self-sabotage? It's okay to answer yes to any or all of these questions. It's part of being human- most of us beat ourselves up from time to time. The key is to replace these behaviors and habits with healthy, loving ones as much as you can- just like what you would want in a relationship with another human being. Consider this: would you speak to someone else the same way you speak to yourself? If not, you have a pretty good idea of where you stand in your self-relationship. The simplest way to start making your self-relationship healthier? Be kind to yourself by practicing self-care.
These days, self-care is an overused, over-marketed, misinterpreted idea in our society. Because of that, it can come with some negative connotations. You can feel selfish, guilty, overindulgent, and even shameful for trying to take care of yourself. Women are especially susceptible to these feelings because the more selfless you are for your loved ones, the better of a mother/spouse/daughter/sister/etc. you must be- right? Consider this instead: Although it is a wonderful thing to have other relationships that you can cultivate, nurture, and care for, you cannot forget about yourself. The two can coexist by practicing a healthy amount of self-care so you can show up in your relationships more fully and contently. But, what exactly is self-care?
Just like your self-relationship, your self-care practices will be uniquely yours. Not one practice fits everyone. A good place to start is learning more about yourself and the things you enjoy that bring you peace, fulfillment, accomplishment, and/or a sense of purpose. That is what true self-care is all about. This free, self-care quiz is a great option to start figuring out what may or may not work for you. Some other simple ideas from the Mental Health Foundation include:
Invest in yourself. Spend 15–30 minutes each day doing something that uplifts you.
When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said.
If you stumble or feel you have failed, don’t beat yourself up. Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive.
Do something to wind down at the end of each day.
Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself.
At SAFFP, we have found that practicing self-care is a process that takes accountability. Thankfully, you don't have to stay accountable all on your own. If you find that you're struggling to commit to a self-care practice, or would like to get started with one, please reach out to our Fitness Department by submitting this simple online form.