SELF CARE ISN’T ALWAYS PRETTY

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Photography by
JKG | jkgphotography.co.uk
Location: Wandsworth, London

My journey with self care has gone hand in hand with treatment, recovery and healing. It is the sole thing I lean on from day to day, and the sole thing I completely immerse myself in when I'm struggling. Up until last year I genuinely didn't even know what self care was, but during therapy, it was honestly my saving grace.

Self care are actions one takes to develop, maintain, or improve wellness. It is a necessary tool for emotional, physical, mental (and in my eyes, spiritual) health.

Self care will change from person to person, but its essentially how someone looks after themselves, safe ways to cope and methods to manage their thoughts. I also look at self care like I'm looking after my child self; how is Grace doing today? what does Grace need?

Sometimes self care is lying under a blanket with the rain pouring outside and hiding from the world. Other times its getting dressed up and going out to slut drop it on the dance floor with friends. It's just about being in tune with your soul and giving yourself whatever you need..

However self care isn't always something that will give you instant happiness and gratification like it is often portrayed throughout society. It's not always light and easy and bath oils and face masks and this is something even I, have fallen short to.

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Right now, self care has become a buzz word. It is something that brands use to push products and newspapers use for clicks. The concept of self care as a whole, has been commercialised with the agenda of the public having to spend money. Other times self care will be packaged up as an event or a movement, and whilst some of these are absolutely authentic, some of them are not. So it's easy to get lost in the self care hype and lose sight of the real, important meaning.

Self care won't always be pretty! It can be ugly and hard and bloody effort to say the least. It might not be glamorous either, it might actually be boring and a bit
uncomfortable but that is where growth happens.

Over the last year I have found other ways to practice self care that is outside the norm, and what you may have not heard of before. Whilst I believe meditating and body scrubs are comforting and needed, there are also other things I believe are equally as vital.

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Self Care Is..

+Allowing yourself to feel anything.
Grief, anger, pain, sadness, happiness, jealousy, appreciation. It is recognising you are human and
feeling (even the 'negative') is normal, and okay.

+Giving yourself permission to eat.
This doesn't mean food that has to be healthy all the time. It's about enjoying all kinds of foods because you deserve a varied diet. It also means identifying that food has no morals and you are allowed to eat whatever you fancy at any time.

+Acknowledging your own bullshit.
We have all picked up habits that we need to work on. Learning to change your toxic behaviours is essential to growth.

+Giving yourself time to heal.
Healing your past trauma takes energy and mental space, both of which cannot be done subconsciously. Put aside time to process whats happened and how you feel.

+Recognising outside validation.
Are you comfortable with who you are without compliments from other people?

+Understanding why and how you react to certain reactions.
Ever lost your shit at the smallest thing because it triggered something from your past? Same.

+Managing your finances.
Which I know is super hard but constantly going broke for the sake of another £300 ASOS order is silly (this was me ffs).

+Unfollowing and unfriending people who no longer feed your soul.
Sometimes growth means you will outgrow certain people which can be tough - its ok to unfriend them IRL and its certainly ok to unfollow someone on social media who doesn't uplift you, inspire you or educate you. (I'm going through this at the moment).

+Being mindful of other people's struggles - as well as your own.
It's easy to cut everyone off when you feel like they're not making an effort.
Don't forget to ask yourself if you're making an effort too?

+Enjoying your own company.
You're amazing and kind and bold and nurturing. Why WOULDN'T you want to spend time alone?

+Remembering that being happy all the time isn't feasible.
I was that girl who hated being anything other than positive or happy. However I've learned how fake constant happiness is anddddd, sometimes it's actually a form of mania. Get angry. Be sad. You don't have to be happy and positive all the time.

+Learning how to manage your time.
A huge part of my self care is being organised and reasonable with how much time I have. I try not to take on any more work if I'm already busy and stressed because that would be sacrificing my mental health. I colour co-ordinate my calendar and it helps massively.

+Trying not to avoid health appointments.
So.. I've had a sore tooth for well over a year and have I been to the dentist yet? NO I BLOODY HAVEN'T. I've even made appointments and then cancelled them. Going to an appointment you've been avoiding says 'I value my health enough to attend' and it will be so empowering after. *books appointment*.

+Listening and trusting yourself.
You know that gut feeling you get? Try to believe it and trust it because usually, it's right.

+Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Because you cannot grow when you're comfortable and you're stronger than you think.

+Sticking up for yourself when your boundaries are crossed.
This is something I am really really getting stuck into more and more. After placing in boundaries this year with friends, family and working relationships, I am really realising how important they are and how awful it can be when they are stepped over. It's okay to voice your opinion and stand your ground. Your feelings are VALID.

+Leaning on the basics.
Don't underestimate how helpful and calming it can be to revert back to basic self care. Usually when things are shitty, these are the things we should be doing but we easily forget. Drink water, wash your face, brush your hair, brush your teeth, get up in time to make yourself breakfast, breathe, moisturise, turn off your phone, go for a walk, confide in someone you trust, show your appreciation for someone you trust, remember you're worthy and that your past doesn't define you.

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What I'm Wearing..

Top | New Look
Trousers | River Island similar linked
Jacket* | ASOS
Bag* | ASOS
Boots | River Island
Sunglasses* | Ray Ban

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Before I go I'd just like to add that although I advocate for the growth and gritty side to self care, I also advocate simply being kind to yourself.

In my opinion - that is the hardest part of all.

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8 Comments

  1. 13th December 2017 / 3:28 pm

    OMG yes to all of this. Thank you for talking about the part of self care that isn’t all flowers and sunshine.

  2. Jem
    13th December 2017 / 7:03 pm

    Thank you so much for this incredible post. You really are a true inspiration. So many of these points I found myself saying that’s me and it’s really made me think. Thank you for always inspiring and being such a beautiful soul xx

  3. Mel
    13th December 2017 / 9:40 pm

    This helped me understand self care more, thank you xx

  4. Imogen
    14th December 2017 / 12:13 am

    Sooo good. Feels like a condensed version of instructions on how to live well! Feels pretty applicable to my change in mindset/growth this year, so that’s cool. Thanks for a good post 🙂

  5. 14th December 2017 / 12:47 pm

    This is such a great post Grace, and I’ve come to a similar realisation myself that self care goes much deeper than lighting candles and a face mask etc. It’s only recently dawned on me that I’m terrible at taking care of myself on a basic level – and that’s the self care I need to work on.

    xx

  6. 14th December 2017 / 3:41 pm

    Grace, you are actually amazing. Can I suggest you write another book at some point and write about your entire healing journey including therapy, self care, discovering your blackness, discovering spirituality etc. and you could call it SAVING GRACE. Just sayin’. Also a big YAAASSSS to everything you are about. You are inspiring and your posts always fill my social media w. good and real vibes. Sending you love and strength xo

  7. 17th December 2017 / 4:47 pm

    ABSOLUTE TRUTH! Self care isn’t always pretty!

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