Congratulations! You have chosen to take some time out of your busy life to invest in self-care. This is important and valuable work and you will not regret it. Welcome to the Self-Care Matters course.
So how does it work? The idea is that for 30 days in a row you set aside about 10 minutes per day that is for you to focus on yourself. That’s a minimum, by the way, if you want to do more then go for it! The aim of this course is to help you build a daily self-care practice, examine your ideas and beliefs about self-care including the sabotages that are holding you back from caring for yourself as much as you’d like, and exploring and experimenting with what self-care practices feel good for you. There is no one size fits all here. I will be guiding you and teaching some general principles, but the ultimate goal is for you to know yourself better and to truly know what actions support you to live your best life, and then to incorporate more of those so that you can feel your best.
Every week you will receive access to a new lesson from me with some information about self-care and an activity or exercise to complete. Often these will be journalling questions or some type of emotional exploration. Additionally, I encourage each of you to participate in the ’30 days of Self-Care’ challenge which involves taking at least one action every day that is kind to yourself. It could be a small thing, like painting your nails or reading a book, or a larger activity that requires a bit more time and planning, like booking a massage or decluttering a room in your home. Ideally, the 30 day challenge would be in addition to the 10 minutes you will already be spending working through the course. The idea is that these daily actions are a practical affirmation of your love for yourself and the fact that you deserve to be cared for and devote time to yourself.
However, the last thing I want to do is create stress and more pressure in your already busy life. I do encourage you to put your daily self-care action as well as your 10 minutes ‘study’ time on your to-do list, but only if that works for you. Although this is an educational course, it isn’t school. There are no tests and you won’t get in trouble if you miss a week or take longer than 30 days to complete the challenge. I have structured the starter challenge in the 30 day time-frame because that is enough time to build a habit. It will require some discipline to commit to 10 minutes for yourself every single day, plus the weekly lesson action. But there are no hard and fast rules and absolutely no shame in participating in the program however it best fits in with your life.
There is a private Facebook group for participants to share the answers to their journalling questions if they choose to. It will also be used to provide some gentle accountability for the 30 day challenge. I say gentle because it is a motivational tool to help you build some momentum, not a stick for me to beat you with if you do not post every day. I encourage each of you to post in the group every day the action you took that was kind to yourself. A sense of being accountable to the others in the group can help build your discipline muscles and it’s also a lovely experience to be able to hold that space for others too. It can be really interesting to see how others define self-care actions too, so the Facebook group can be a great place to draw inspiration from as well. A general principle of ‘what is said in the group stays in the group’ applies so that every one can feel safe in sharing, knowing that what they share will be kept confidential.
So a little bit about me. Why am I teaching you all this? Well, in short, self-care has changed my life, and possibly saved it too. Nine years ago I was a very sick and unhappy young lady. During my university years I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, had chronic infections and was clinically depressed. Eventually I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and endometriosis. I have had surgery to treat both, and a number of therapies, both medical and alternative, to get well. But underneath it all was a lack of belief in and love for myself that led me to treat myself and allow others to treat me poorly. My journey with self-care has helped me recover from and manage my conditions, as well as be a better daughter, sister, wife, friend, patient, teacher and coach. I am far from perfect and I still have ongoing management of my health conditions. Like the laundry, you don’t do it once and then expect your clothes to stay clean forever — self-care is an ongoing thing! It’s a monthly, weekly and daily process that I have grown to love because I’ve seen what a difference it makes (the self-care I mean, not the laundry!).
Disciplined and ongoing self-care has truly changed my life. Not all that many years ago I couldn’t walk over a hill without suffering post-exertional malaise for over a week, but in 2013 I climbed Mount Fuji in Japan and on a recent trip to Iceland I walked on a glacier! In 2008 I had to leave my part-time job and drop back to part-time university study because I was unwell. These days I’m working, studying and building a business. I have been not just practicing and experimenting with various forms of self-care, but I’ve also been studying it for the better part of the last decade. It is all of this information that I’m excited to share with you in this course.
Which brings me to the next point: What exactly is self-care? Check it out in the next article!