*This year.

I’ve spoken about self-care a lot on here because it is a massive part of my life and something I fully subscribe to. However, it’s quite a large umbrella term and can mean all manner of things to all manner of people. I talked about being kind to ourselves during the first lock-down here and as we examine the things we can do to take care of ourselves in 2021, I’m thinking it’s really just an extension of that.

I’m actually going to piggyback May’s post with a sort of recap/progress report because I’m lazy, short of time and hey – all about the safe-care – which might sometimes mean cutting corners!

So how did I/we do?

It’s easy to slip into the narrative of self-care being all about taking bubble baths but to me it’s way more than that.

Yes truth but also, your girl recently spent £20 on fizzing bath bars in hideous flavours such as birthday cake, salted caramel and fuzzy peach. I mean, yum if you’re going to eat them but otherwise, horrifying and they turn the water weird colours. Does this stop me though? Of course not. I want to smell like a penny sweet shop from the late 80’s!

What I’m getting at is this: I love pampery self-care and I am rocking the fuck out of it. But I know it takes more than a bumper pack of sheet masks and pink hair dye to get straight sometimes.

Sometimes just simply saying no to something I don’t have the mental capacity for is enough.

I’m still working on the no. I think most people struggle with saying no. We’re kind of conditioned to take on a lot in life with a smile on our faces. Maybe the pandemic has been good at helping us recognise that we don’t have to have all the answers, carry the world single-handedly on our shoulders or be the most productive creatures all at once.

It’s not just the actual word either. It’s sometimes the not doing that counts. The biggie for me, and a lot of my anxious friends, is not being able to bring myself to answer messages. Sometimes it feels like the hardest chore in the world.

What actually helps is not apologising for not getting back to messages or emails straight away. The more I do the over-apologising, the more I feel bad about putting my selfish needs first and anyone who really knows me knows I’ll get to it when I can.

Basically, it’s okay to put yourself first, say no and draw a line under things you don’t want to do, or put up with. Or listen to. Or eat.

Writing things down helps me.

That’s what this place is for. My world of words. My safe haven. While in the moment it might not feel like I’m doing any good or working anything out, afterwards I realise how cathartic it was. It’s also fascinating to look back at how I was feeling at the beginning of all this and to see how far I’ve come. How far we’ve all come.

Pampering, napping, nails, colouring in: these are all things I do for myself to feel better and to promote good mental health.

Check, check, check and chhhhhhheeeeckkkkk. I still love all these things and I’ve added cross stitch and tarot to my rotation. Although, I also have evenings, sometimes whole days where I do sweet, sweet FA and that’s completely alright too.

The way we speak to ourselves is also vital and something I think about a lot.

This is something I’ve really tried to keep up. Self-deprecation is a slippery slope and I don’t want to do it to myself anymore. Forever but it’s even more important in January, during the onslaught of diet/new year, new me bullshit, which is actually going to be a thousand times worse this time because we’re also supposedly having to shed all the lock-down gains too. Not to mention shave every inch of our yeti-like bodies.

I’m so tired of it and I’m staying fat and fuzzy. I’m a bloody goddess and I will remind myself of this often. Whilst simultaneously unfollowing people on Instagram who a) make me feel bad about myself and b) make fat/diet jokes. Life’s too short.

Also: Buy yourself flowers and give yourself license to just be*

Trite, perhaps but I really appreciate flowers bought for me from me. They just seem like such a decadent treat. I would file them in the same place as mid-morning bubble baths and afternoon naps. Bloody lovely to have and a great way to remind yourself that you’re dope.

Also, it’s been said a thousand times, maybe even a billion – but it bears repeating, every single time we beat ourselves up about not doing enough: we’re living through a fucking pandemic, that’s all be have to do. And we’re doing just fine.

*See my 2021 word of the year

These are the things I’m going to be doing/reminding myself of kindly whenever I need a little pep talk. This is how I’m going to start and survive 2021.

How ’bout you?