It's a well-known mantra of the beauty and wellness community that you have to love yourself to love others. It's equally important, to these same people, that you have to pick a day to take off to love yourself and relax during the week.
If you don't, we are warned, your body will pick one for you. It will inevitably be a longer 'day' of recovery than it would have otherwise been if you had respected your boundaries and not pushed yourself too hard.
Repairing damage from the breakdown is harder than having mini-avalanches to stop the big one from ripping through your system. When you're stressed it's hard to know when to stop, where to draw the line, and call it a day.
Particularly when you're in your groove or working to a deadline. In reality, though, that's when it's most important to keep tabs on yourself. Your mental health and bodily health are just as important as each other.
Don't let one slip or hold up one at the expense of the other, moderation – as ever – is key. You have to love yourself to keep yourself well.
Here are a couple of ways to keep on top of yourself in the most stressful situations, and effective ways to relax properly.
1 – Remember to say 'no' sometimes
It's really important to be able to value your own time while also wanting to be helpful and supportive to your friends. You want to be able to look after everyone and every aspect of your life, but you should prioritize yourself first.
Always, always, always – you should be able to put yourself first. You have to live with the consequences of your actions after all, not anyone else.
This means that you can take ownership of your life by actually – bear with me here – letting go of some control…
Controversial, I know, but once you've stepped back, taken an evening for you to take a bath and read that trashy romance novel you bought over summer that you never got around to reading – you will know bliss.
It may seem strange or alien to have time to yourself, alone with your thoughts, but that's where you can reflect on the week. Come to terms with both big and little things that happened, hurdles you overcame, or things that cropped up that you didn't expect.
You will find that you have achieved more than you gave yourself credit for. You will also realize why you need the break!
2 – Pick wholesome friends to surround yourself with that support your breaks
It's during these moments of self-preservation that some of your more needy friends will reveal themselves to not have your best interests at heart. If they can't understand why you can't see them, or why you need alone time from socialization, then they shouldn't be in your life.
This perspective you get from picking a day off to love yourself will allow you to see where the toxic, stressful parts of your life are when you distance yourself from them.
You will find yourself more and more relaxed the more you practice the art of self-care. Sometimes, self-care will be an evening out with the girls if that's what you're in the mood for, but they should also understand when you need a bit of space.
Some me time is not selfish – it's survival. Think of it like Marie Kondo – if it doesn't spark joy, get rid of it! Unclutter your mind, social habits, and body all in one evening!
3 – Use your days off as opportunities to learn about yourself and life
Don't get stuck in the headspace of routine and habits. Just because you enjoy the things that you've always done, doesn't mean that that's all you are interested in. Step back every now and then and try something new.
A spin class, running, yoga, reading, knitting even! You will meet new, interesting people and learn so much about yourself and your goals.
If your health is a top priority, you must remember to pick a day off from physical and social exertion. Take a break, be happy, love yourself!
You deserve it.