The Power of Self Care: Nurturing Yourself Without Guilt with Steph Grainger

In today's fast-paced world, where everyone seems to be constantly juggling multiple responsibilities and obligations, taking care of ourselves often takes a backseat.

Society has ingrained in us the belief that focusing on our own well-being is a selfish act, something that should be done only when all other tasks are completed.

However, this notion couldn't be further from the truth.

Self-care is not a selfish act but rather an essential practice that enables us to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

I recently spoke with my friend, Steph Grainger on The Social Brain Podcast about the transformative power of self-care and debunks the myth that it is a selfish indulgence.

Prefer to listen to the audio version of our conversation? Check out episode 28 on the podcast here

The most common reason women don’t practise self care regularly

It's really common for business owners to glaze over how they’re really feeling. The idea that we need to keep calm and carry on, whilst juggling a tonne of other responsibilities, can leave us feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. 

For women, the most common reason not to practise self care is because they don’t have time. There are other things that need prioritising and we then feel guilty if we dare take an hour or two to ourselves. 

We’ve been conditioned to believe that we have to come last on the pile. With the world now telling us we can have it all and do it all, a lot of us have started to burn ourselves out trying to prove a point.

The reality is, we might not even want it all.

The first step to redefining what self care means to you

In order to start nurturing yourself without guilt, it’s important to redefine what self care means to you. For some, it can be perceived as a luxury. It’s all about spa trips or getting your nails done. And whilst yes, that’s absolutely self care to some, it’s also so much more than that. 

Self care is really about connecting to what you enjoy doing, discovering what brings a sense of calm to your head space and then making the time to do those things regularly. 

Ask yourself: “What makes the noise a little bit quieter for me?” and consider that as self-care. 

It could be taking a walk, enjoying a cuppa in silence, meditation, having a massage, watching some Netflix, going to a zumba class - whatever helps you tune out from all the noise around you so you recharge your batteries.

The mantra you need to start living your life by

During our interview, Steph shared: “I live by the mantra of the body keeps score and it always wins. If we don't make space for wellness, we will be made to make space for illness and the body is really good at shutting us down.

If we keep ignoring the little signs that we're tired, we're burnt out, we're overwhelmed, we're stressed, eventually something will manifest in our body, whether that's an outbreak of bad skin, hair loss, illness, all of those things where the body just says, I can't do this anymore.

And that's actually far bigger to recover from than just taking small steps each day to help you.”

This is why it’s so important to recognise the signs as they begin to appear so you can make instant changes and choose to rest before it becomes debilitating. 

The simplest way to get started with self care

Steph explains that the simplest way to get started with self care is to really tune into what your body is doing hormonally. Once you create this awareness, you can start to see the peaks and troughs throughout the month. You’ll see patterns in the moments where you feel more overwhelmed and the moments where you're feeling more alive or more energetic.

From that perspective, you can start to notice the parts of the month where you need to give yourself more space and the days of the month when you can power through. When you can pinpoint the days you’re likely to feel more stressed, you can clear certain things from your calendar or schedule in extra pamper sessions and early nights. 

As well as tracking your cycle, you can also use an exercise like journaling to simply jot down how your day went. At the end of each day, write down:

  • How you felt during the day
  • What felt challenging
  • What you enjoyed 

You can then look for repetition as the months go on and discover any common patterns. 

Exactly what to do once you’ve increased your self awareness

When you have this new found knowledge, you can then make a list of possible self care activities that can support you throughout the month. Creating this list means that the next time you commit to self care, you don’t think “Oo I don’t know what to do with myself” and end up carrying on with work. 

You may want to think about things that you’ve always wanted to do but just haven’t gotten around to yet like a meditation class or joining a walking group. You may write things down like switching your phone off at 7pm or going for a morning swim. 

Ask yourself: “What is going to make time easier for me today?”. This will help you to create more balance in your life. 

Reframe your beliefs about self care

To make it easier for you to commit to regular self care practices, you need to uncover the beliefs you have about self care and change them into more empowering beliefs that support you with your desire for improved levels of self care.

Steph shares: “What are you saying to yourself about self self-care? It's a selfish act? I can't, I've got three children, they all need my energy or whatever it is? Hear the dialogue first and then unpick that.

My reframe to anybody that says they’re too busy is: Have you got space to be ill in a few weeks time? Have you got space for your body to take you down? And actually, self care impacts everybody. So it's like a ripple effect on a pond. When you take care of yourself, you feel better. Everybody around you notices their energy's different when they’re around you.

You’re exhibiting and modelling really positive behaviour to your children if they're seeing it. This is important. Your mental health is important, and it creates a beautiful ripple effect.”

The importance of boundaries and why it’s ok to put them in place

Nowadays, the instinct is to be super responsive to anyone who needs our attention. Especially online business owners who manage their own social media. There’s a real fear that if we don’t respond immediately, we may lose a customer. 

But, like Steph says, would you really want those types of clients anyway? Would you want to work with someone who didn’t respect your need for self care? Who didn’t respect your ‘you time’? 

It’s healthy to set boundaries for yourself, particularly in the form of when you will or won’t respond to messages or emails. And we can use technology in the form of auto-responders to help us with that. Set one up for yourself that explains you’ll respond within 24, 48 or however many hours feels comfortable to you.

Steph says: “ If my clients are demanding of me and saying why didn’t you respond to me at 10 o'clock at night? Then they're not right for me. I want to be teaching them to create healthy boundaries in their life so if they're not accepting of mine, then it's not gonna work anyway.”

How much self care should you really be doing?

For somebody that's got to a place of really understanding themselves and working healthily with themselves it’s going to be easier for them to practise self care regularly - it becomes a non-negotiable. It's part of their day, it's part of their week.

Yet, for somebody that's in a very reactive stage and is very overwhelmed or stressed, it's going to be an effort for them to take that time away from all the things that are on their plate. And these are the people who need self care the most.

The more you allow yourself to practise self care regularly - and this needs to be what works for you, not what everyone on Instagram is doing - the easier you’ll be able to handle challenges in your daily life. 

Steph Grainger is a Therapeutic Mentor for Women.  She helps her clients to remove the layers that life has imposed on them so they can move forward with clarity and alignment with how they want to live their life, as opposed to how they've been told to live their life.

Follow Steph on Instagram and visit her website here.


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