Do you take as much care of yourself as you do of others? If you don’t, you could be heading for burn-out. Chances are, at the very least, you’re not experiencing much abundance and joy in your life.
So why is it so hard to pamper ourselves? Do we think of pampering as indulgent, selfish, or narcissistic? Do we feel guilty because it’s a ‘luxury’? Many of us, consciously or subconsciously, believe it’s a waste of time and money, that we should be doing something useful instead, that being stressed is ‘normal’, or – most insidious of all – that we somehow don’t quite deserve to be pampered.
Yet taking proper care of ourselves is essential for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The better we feel, the more we’re able to engage fully with our lives and the richer our relationships with other people become. A good pampering session can balance us from the inside out, refreshing, relaxing and rejuvenating us, making us happier and saner, all of which we’ll carry with us into our dealings with the wider world.
The demands of our fast-paced lives take a toll on our bodies in many ways. Stress increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, and cancer. When we’re stressed we don’t sleep well, we don’t eat sensibly, and we certainly don’t take the time to stop and smell the roses. We begin to feel exhausted, discouraged, bored, resentful and frustrated. Our relationships suffer, creativity dries up, productivity falls, and quality of life becomes a distant memory. We need all our energy just to get through the day, we have little left to give to anyone else, and taking care of ourselves comes last on the list.
Awarding ourselves the gift of ‘pamper time’ can turn all this around. Being fully at ease with ourselves is the foundation of true freedom, inner peace, and enjoyment of life; kindness to ourselves builds self-trust and inner strength, allowing us to feel worthy and cared for, regardless of our circumstances. When we feel cared for, we are able to engage fully with all aspects of our lives, including caring for others. A pamper session can provide a mental, emotional and physical ‘holiday’. This is even more important when we’re under particular pressure than it is when things are going smoothly.
We can start by learning to listen to our bodies, our minds and our spirits, acknowledging what we need, and then responding to ourselves with the same acceptance, patience and kindness we extend to other people. Pampering need not be costly or complicated; it could be whatever provides you with relaxation, inspiration, clarity and rejuvenation. When the same old routines day after day have taken all the joy from life, just doing one thing out of the ordinary can restore your sense of joie de vivre. Having something, however small, to look forward to can lift your heart and put a spring in your step.
So consider what it is that would make you feel pampered – something you want to do, but don’t HAVE to do. Then allow yourself to do it, without guilt. Create ‘sanctuaries’ for yourself, in whatever ways suit you, so you can relax completely and just BE. Don’t have a pamper session every day, though, as that turns it into another habit – you’ll appreciate and benefit from it far more if you keep it as an occasional special treat for yourself.
Ideally, pamper time can rest, relax and restore our bodies while strengthening our self-image and our sense of self-worth. It can allow us to pause and look deeper into ourselves, to reflect on what motivates us and what makes us happy. It can keep us healthy in body, mind and spirit and enable us to be more openhearted, calm and available to the abundance around us. Surely there’s nothing more important than being fully present in our own lives, and taking proper loving care of ourselves is a vital step towards that.