I have been thinking a lot lately about how I look after myself.
This comes at a time of year that many of us find difficult for all sorts of reasons and I know that I’ve spoken about this before.
But this year seems somewhat more poignant for some reason. Partly I think more and more of us are opening up about the challenges we face and are not prepared to simply pretend to our nearest and dearest that everything is ‘fine’. But also it feels like the time is right to stand up for ourselves and take some feeling of ownership for how we feel.
At a time when this world seems to be spinning towards a place where the individual matters less and less, more of us are standing up in our own small way and saying that isn’t right. We do matter. Whether we do this by how we vote or how we treat each other is a matter of choice.
In a long teaching career I was able to work in several communities with lots of different families that worked their family magic in differing ways. That did not matter – what mattered was that they had found ways to show their love and support for each other and to demonstrate that to the world outside their homes.
Recently as a volunteer at my sons’ school I was able to attend a training session on ‘normal magic’ where staff were shown ways to support each other and their pupils through simple ‘normal’ ways that look after our mental health and well-being. Although a really useful session I was struck afterwards by how sad it is that society is changing in ways that does not look after our mental well-being. A society where there are increasing numbers of homeless, where there are so many damaged children growing into damaged adults, where employers place so much value on productivity at any cost to their employees, where families are under so much pressure that they spilt and break and where a government puts so much value on results that children’s rights to be children are simply stated as a mean score aged seven and eleven.
Now I am not saying that children do not have the right to the best education possible but that we should remember that they are children not adults. Children need time to simply ‘be’, time to make sense of what they learn, time to learn at their own pace, time to learn in the way that is best for them.
As adults looking after ourselves we need time too. Time to make sense of what is happening around us, time to do what we have to do and we also need time to simply ‘be’. Humans did not evolve to live at the speed society whizzes by at today.
We should not feel ashamed to take time for ourselves, to nurture our own well-being for it is only if we do this that we will be able to share ourselves with those we love and to be able to nurture others.
For me sometimes I find taking a few moments for mindfulness can really help (I have found some really helpful free resources here) – but so can creativity – the simple repetitive acts of sewing, knitting or whatever you do can really free the mind to heal itself and be ready to face the world again.
So what are you going to do today to look after yourself?