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Discover How to Take the Stress Out of Self-Care and Start Loving Yourself More

Everybody loves self-care. There are apps and articles galore to help you practise it. From Headspace to Happify, there will be an app for you. When I worked in office environments, most of my colleagues were busily trying to build good self-care routines into their already overloaded lives, to try and lessen their everyday stresses and strains.

But, from observation, few of them managed to keep it up for very long by making good, caring habits that lasted. I’m talking about the sort of self-care actions that don’t need an app, or even thinking about too much; that just flow as a natural expression of the love we feel for ourselves. More pressure got created instead, more adherence to self-imposed rules. And, therefore, ultimately more stress!

I came across some interesting facts recently. The self-care industry is worth billions globally – and a good chunk of that money is being spent by Millennials. This generation is considered to be more stressed out than those preceding and even though they are less well off than their parents, are spending huge amounts of money on self-care/improvement routines. Are people really getting their money’s worth? More time is being spent monitoring our own performance management against our self-care goals, than on actually really caring and valuing ourselves. The thing is, there’s a big difference between self-care and self-love and we seem to have it the wrong way around. I read a lot of articles on self-care; self-love wasn’t mentioned at all.

If you don’t love yourself much in the first place, self-care practices are money down the drain. At best you’ll get some temporary relief from the discomfort that drives you. And, that’s really what self-care ‘products’ should be used for; with the recognition that they can effectively decompress our short-term stress by distracting us for a while.

Positive thinking and affirmations fall into the self-care category also; keeping our minds and spirits on the up. The theory is that as we radiate positivity, more positive interactions and events are attracted back to us. If we keep a positive focus we won’t be so stressed out, right?

Wrong. I’m not big on gurus, but Osho was spot on when he said:

“Positive thinking is simply the philosophy of hypocrisy – to give it the right name. When you are feeling like crying, it teaches you to sing. You can manage if you try, but those repressed tears will come out at some point, in some situation. There is a limitation to repression. And the song that you were singing was absolutely meaningless; you were not feeling it, it was not born out of your heart.” – Osho

Self-love, on the other hand, is a different animal. Activities that fit into this category are going to profoundly change your life. And, if self-love isn’t your foundation, your self-care will not, in the final analysis, work.

If self-care is not delivering for you maybe it’s time to look a little deeper?

So, the challenge is not to care for ourselves more, but to love ourselves more profoundly; all the way down to our bones. And, that means loving the parts of ourselves that currently, we don’t. To examine the real roots of our stress and discomfort takes courage, but when it’s done well, it leads to lasting change (and a healthier bank balance as you won’t need so many self-care activities!) Fewer judgements (of ourselves and others), more compassion, better boundaries and needs met are just some of the benefits to self-love.

If you want to read more on this topic and discover exercises to help you on the path to loving yourself more visit https://www.amazon.com/author/nikymagdalen for my ebook - ‘Self-Care or Self-love, How to Live a Healthier Life by Loving Yourself More’.

I wish you well on your journeys.

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