By Vicky Bonnefoy, an incredible TTC warrior and an even more incredible fertility coach
It’s a Buzz phrase that’s extremely popular right now, we’ve all heard it, SELF CARE!
What comes with Buzz phrases is the Buzz definition and that’s where it starts to gets complicated and even dangerous.
Self-Care can mean so many things and it means different things to different people and here’s the thing, it changes for us all, all the time.
The damaging thing about this Buzz phrase is the definitions that get shared around on social media especially. The examples that are most common are, take a bubble bath, get your nails done, go for a walk, get your favourite takeaway, have a nap or read a book.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these things individually, in fact I’d say all these activities boost our moods and really help with our mental health state, but we must know firstly that self-care is what feels right for you, and to know that, we want to be able to investigate how we would like to feel supported by ourselves, not how we SHOULD be caring for ourselves.
Self-care can be done when we also incorporate self validation, self-appreciation, self-compassion and awareness, honesty and vulnerability and then take the next best step that feels right for us.
Self-care can also look like…
Receiving support, making amends in a relationship, ending a relationship, getting a second opinion from another medical professional, healing from an emotional or physical trauma, taking that new job, handing in your notice, personal growth and development, boundary setting, replacing the ‘should’s’ to ‘I want’ and being unapologetically authentic and the list of course is endless.
I think the key thing here to remember is that self-care is whatever feels right for you and not what is advised for you to do by someone else
Self-care is how we can step up and be the voice of compassion and care for ourselves that undoubtedly we are for our friends and loved ones.
Putting your needs on top of that never ending to do list, your needs, hopes, dreams, desires, pains and traumas. If it’s important to you, your mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing, then it’s important FULL STOP.
The next step is to actually take the step that you need to take in order to reach that level of care for yourself
If that means taking a long hot bubble bath then go for it but know that it’s from a place of recognition. A recognition that this is your step towards caring for yourself because you’ve highlighted that you might need the rest, the recuperation or the time to be still for a moment to connect to your feelings and thoughts, knowing that you are strong, capable, valid and important. Otherwise having a bath is just purely hygiene and we can do better than basic hygiene!
Sometimes self-care can initially be a recognition that we aren’t caring for ourselves the way we want to, maybe we’ve noticed we aren’t meeting our needs let alone our wants! I’m not saying it’s easy which is why I suggest to get granular with it to start with. Especially if you have noticed that you are last on your list.
We want to begin to build this muscle up and we can do this by taking small success steps we can put in place to start with, like noticing the feeling that comes up, putting your hand on your heart as we sink down out of our analytical thinking brain and into our feeling brain. What’s really going on? Are we feeling overwhelmed? Are we distracting from our emotions because they are difficult to feel and almost impossible to process? Are we doing more? Trying harder to cope or be strong? Is the weight of meeting other peoples expectations or our own becoming tough? These are all honest and vulnerable questions we must ask ourselves to find out what’s really happening for us.
To help with making decisions about what type of self care feels right for us once we’ve established our feelings I use the sixth sense decisions making technique
First of all, what is the decision you want to make? Lets start small here as we build ourselves up.
Do you want tea or coffee?
Do you want to go out or stay in?
Do I want to engage in conversation?
It’s important to notice the first answer that comes up. Yes or No, we must be aware though that our analytical brain will kick in immediately after that answer comes in and ask you whether you’ve made the right decision or not. It doesn’t actually care what the decision is about but it will want to just make sure it’s right as it tries to protect you and keep you safe. This is crucial to note as we can start to feel like we aren’t sure of what we want or need, we begin to second guess our responses, and this is called post response reflection.
Once we start training ourselves to do this on the small stuff, we then feel confident to make the bigger decisions in our lives
This trains our subconscious mind to start trusting itself and then we start to really notice our needs and wants. This is when self-care starts to get good! We now know what we want and need and then can go straight into putting in the steps to make sure we care for ourselves in a way that genuinely starts to fill our cups back up.
So whatever self care looks like to you right now, get curious. Ask the question, Is this what I want? Is this what I need? Is this something that will help me move forward in my healing and growth journey? Is this how I can best support myself right now? And take the action required.
Remember self-care is different for everybody
So next time you see a post saying you should take a bubble bath, know that it isn’t what you must do to feel empowered or cared for. Lets bust this Buzz phrase and not share them on. It damages us as we begin to feel that the only way to feel better is to distract ourselves from the feeling and go straight to having a bubble bath or read a book etc, It’s no surprise then that we start to feel all those feelings coming back. We start to feel like we failed at caring for ourselves properly as we haven’t been able to move past that emotional state and we end up straight back in the emergency state feeling overwhelmed with our emotions and feeling like there is no way out. It can prevent us truly looking at what our needs are, which could be reaching out for emotional support and guidance.
Doing nice things for ourselves is of course a feel-good factor and I totally know it’s worth in supporting our mental health and wellbeing, but we really want to recognise that we need more awareness and a deeper understanding of our emotions and how they work so that we can really take that self-care strategy to the next level, the level you deserve!
I go into more detail and depth through my modules in the IVF/IUI Enhancement program and the freedom fertility program, which is personalised to meet your needs, so that you can gain clarity on what your needs and wants are. I also support you with compassionate guidance using a unique blend of councelling and coaching combined.
To book in your first powerful session called First Aid at half price, please quote IVFBABBLE in your message to me on instagram over @fertility.coach_vicky
Love Vicky x
Read more from Vicky:
Fertility Coach Vicky Bonnefoy talks about Toxic Positivity
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