If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I attended a workshop in London last night- hosted by the ever wonderful Grace Victory. It was an event designed to bring a group of people together to talk about self-love, self-care and taking positive steps to making yourself feel better and more confident in yourself.
I’ve been a skeptic in the past of ‘self-care’- thinking that it was a buzzword, a nothing statement and that it basically just involved taking a LUSH bath and sitting in your pj’s. But actually- I’m never one to mind being taught something or to correct my views- so here are a few things that I learnt about what self-care and self-love really are:
On toxic people
Toxic people are very real. Grace and Tanya spoke a lot about this- and particularly the importance of removing yourself from situations that make you feel uncomfortable or taking yourself away from social platforms that make you feel bad about yourself. I’ve taken this self-care step myself by getting rid of Twitter- but I’m always looking out for myself on Instagram by unfollowing anyone who promotes diet culture or could have negative impact on my mental health.
I thought it was so interesting that all the panel pointed out that if it’s a friend who’s making you feel shit about yourself- by telling them ‘look I love you, but your [insert social media] makes me feel bad about myself’, a true friend would totally understand that. I’ve sometimes felt like this when pals have posted fitness/ health content, but been too afraid to stand up for myself and say it.
There was a question from an audience member about what to do when your family are the ones who are commenting on your weight, image or life- Michelle shared the importance of having escape strategies in place for moments like this. One of my family members is very fixated on ‘not being fat’- and this has had such a negative impact on me and my perception of my body. If they won’t listen, then remove yourself instead.
On social media
Following on from that there was a lot of discussion about the reliance that everyone seems to have on their phones and the need to be ‘on’ all the time. Tanya and Lucy both talked about feeling like you sometimes just aren’t in the right head-space to be active and reply to people all the time- but that’s OK. It’s self-care to take the time to put your phone to one side, but it’s also self-care to not feel obliged to reply to every single message you get straight away.
On choosing your battles
In response to a question about dealing with negativity and bad comments, Grace spoke about the need to choose your battles and the decision whether to sass people right back and put them in their place- or to make the self-care decision to ignore negativity and block them out.
The thing that I predominantly learnt throughout is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ for this term. You can choose what the best response for you is- and it might be your self-care to call people out for being nasty. It might be the pole opposite however. Self-care is knowing what you need to do for you.
On body positivity
Michelle has had many surgical procedures (she was actually in a campaign with my beautiful cousin called ‘Behind the Scars’ – which you should 100% check out here ) but she’s found a new way to look at her body and positivity by affirming to herself that she is beautiful and talking to herself like you would to a friend.
She spoke about the term ‘fat’- and how it isn’t a feeling when you say ‘ugh I feel fat’. There was so much positive chat about acceptance of the body you have, knowing that it’s part of your identity and that it’s so important to fill your social media up with inspiring people who embrace their body confidence. (I recommend Bodiposipanda as a good start!)
On ‘the journey’
Lucy and Michelle both spoke a lot about how self-care and self-love aren’t things that come hand in hand or appear overnight. They compliment each other, but it takes starting out on the journey to begin to feel the benefit.
From being a skeptical person on the whole thing, I’ve realised that there’s a whole lot more to it than I had first imagined. It’s ultimately about making the decisions for you, being selfish and realising that although it might take some time- you’ll ultimately get there.
Hope you enjoyed!