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February 20, 2022
Self-care: why it matters and how you can create space for it
By Suzy Reading
When you hear the term ‘self-care’, what comes to mind for you? It’s a phrase that is bandied about often, we have an awareness of its importance, but still for many of us it feels sticky, it rankles us, it feels hard, yet another burden, or it’s just plain out of reach. As a psychologist, yoga teacher and personal trainer, there’s no surprise that I’m passionate about empowering people with the tools of self-care, but let me be honest with you, more than my qualifications, it was my own experience of energetic bankruptcy that set me on this path. Everything I’ve learnt, I’ve learnt the hard way, let me share some of those life-changing lessons with you.
I became a mum at the same time as losing my dad to a drawn-out battle with what was posthumously diagnosed as a rare variant of motor neurone disease. In the desire to give every cell and fibre to my baby, to be there for my mum and dad, self-care got squeezed out of daily life – I just didn’t have the time, energy, space or freedom for my old pre-motherhood nourishing practices. I needed a whole new soothing toolkit. In partnership with my therapist – and that’s an important factor – our healing journey is not just about self-care, we all need to receive care and support too, it's not about doing it all on your own. Together with my therapist we looked at how I could reclaim some of my old daily rituals (my dynamic yoga practice became rolling out my yoga mat and having a sleep on it, and I did that for months) and new skills I could add to my toolkit.
Little by little my energy was restored, and my frazzled nervous system healed. I clawed my way out of the depletion that is similar to how so many of us are feeling now, ‘post’ pandemic. If you’re feeling bone-tired, completely full up, I hear you, I see you. Of course you feel as you do. There are things that you can do, things that take little time, energy or investment of funds, things that will make a difference.
Before we dive into practical tips, let’s do a little myth busting. Often it is our perception that creates a barrier to us taking time for ourselves.
We know what self-care is for, but how do we do it? I think it is fair to say that we all know what we need as individuals to feel healthy and energetic, but it is another thing to make it happen. Welcome to being human. That’s why I created my new journal ‘And Breathe’ – designed to help you get clear on the nourishment you need and empowering you with the tools to make time and space for it in everyday life. I’d love to share a few prompts from ‘And Breathe’ to help you dot your day with the healthy habits of your choosing:
To build your own bespoke self-care toolkit, ‘And Breathe’ will gently guide you, helping you find your own clarity and removing the obstacles. It is an honour to walk the path with you and I hope you enjoy seeing the dividends from your nourishing choices ripple out well beyond you.
Suzy is a mother of two, an author, Chartered Psychologist and Coach. She specialises in self-care, helping people manage their stress, emotions, and energetic bank balance. It was her life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of her father that sparked her passion for self-care which she now teaches to her clients, young and old, to cope during periods of stress, loss and change and to boost their resilience in the face of future challenges. Suzy is the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics and is a founding member of the ‘Nourish’ app. She figure-skated her way through her childhood, growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and now makes her home in the hills of Hertfordshire, UK. Her first book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ published by Aster came out in 2017, 'Stand Tall Like a Mountain: Mindfulness & Self-Care for Children and Parents' and 'The Little Book of Self-Care’ came out in 2019. ‘Self-Care for Tough Times’ and her first children’s book ‘This Book Will (Help) Make You Happy’ were published in 2021. Her first journal And Breathe is hot off the press and Sit to Get Fit is available for pre-order now.
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May 15, 2022