First of all, I’m not going to deny the fact that there is an element of shameless self-promotion with this post. I have, in my etsy shop, several handmade domino pendant necklaces holding words of affirmation and self-appreciation such as You got this and Embrace your glorious chaos which is what this blog post is about. Do go and have a look, and forgive the blatant advertising…
But I also want to write about Valentine’s Day in a slightly different vein to what I usually see around this time of year.
It feels like Christmas has only just passed, and although that time of year can be a lot of fun, it undeniably brings along stress and busy-ness, too. It’s a festival which has become centred around giving, and although that is lovely it also brings about worries: who to give what to; how much to spend; is there enough money; what if someone gives me a gift and I don’t have anything for them… While this is not the only part of Christmas, it is one of the main themes. Then, when it is over, the next thing on the festivities calendar is Valentine’s Day. Although not as ‘big’ as Christmas, it also centres on giving: we go from one festival about giving to others straight into another. While I am absolutely not saying that this is a bad thing – it is always lovely to show appreciation to others and let the people you love know that you love them – I do think it can be easy to get caught up in thinking about others and forget about caring for yourself, too.
With its roots from a Roman pagan celebration of fertility, Valentine’s Day has always had connotations of couples and therefore romance. Even now that it has been taken over as a Christian celebration of Saint Valentine, it is still commercially centred around the love between couples, often symbolised by giving gifts to each other. You can almost guarantee that on the days before and after the 14th February your social media feeds will consist of couples posting loved up accounts of how they’ve been treated this year, or how lucky they are to be in their relationship. Spas get booked up, roses get bought and fancy desserts with intricate chocolate heart designs get made.
While I am in no way trying to undermine this, I think it’s important to remember that the love between couples is not the only kind of love out there. There is love between families, between friends, between other humans and animals, and for yourself. It is this love for yourself that I feel is the most easy to neglect, and why I think the idea of self-care is becoming so talked about.
Self-care is a difficult thing to pin down. It means something different to everyone, and with everyone’s lives being so busy it is often the cause of rolled eyes because people feel they simply don’t have time to give it any thought. Unfortunately, caring for yourself sometimes seems to have connotations of indulgence or even selfishness. I know that I have sometimes felt lazy or selfish for doing something just for myself. I wish I had some sort of magic wand that could make people appreciate themselves and stop feeling guilty for taking the time to care for themselves, but unfortunately my wand is still in its production phase. Until then, I hope that simple things like blog posts and awareness can do something to help people realise that they can take the time and energy to love themselves as much as they do other people.
For me, self-care time usually involves crochet, tea and a cat (although the cat does sometimes make it a little more stressful than would be ideal… he likes the wool).
So this month, give yourself a gift – take some time to do something for yourself and challenge yourself to not feel guilty about it. Take a long bath and light some candles, and don’t think about the essay you’ve been writing all day. Go for a long walk somewhere really pretty without forcing yourself to a time limit so you can wash the dishes. Set aside an evening to do nothing but read that book you’ve been putting off starting. Take a guilt-free half an hour to actually enjoy a cup of tea rather than rushing it so you can get back to work.
Work exists, deadlines need to be met and things need to be done, but all of this should be done with a lovely umbrella of self-care, rather than in place of it.
Below is a treasury that I’ve made of items on Etsy that I feel emanate self care loveliness (and I can post this guilt-free as none of the items below are mine, they are all from other lovely makers and sellers!)
It is easy to get caught up in giving to and caring about other people, and end up forgetting about yourself. This treasury features items to help us all remember to take care of ourselves >^.^<
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