Self-care: Making yourself #1 and becoming a full-to-overflowing glass.

Care for Yourself; you are the most important person in your life and not doing what needs to be done to maintain your mental, physical and emotional health is a crime against the life you have been given. Harsh? I don’t think so. There are times when it’s necessary to call a spade a spade!

I’m always interested when I hear women talking about how little time they have for the every day things … especially themselves! Which is why this article is largely about women of a bygone era who really knew how to look after themselves. Although they didn’t really have a choice.

A different time and a different era; privilege at work.

Of course, I come from an era when women I saw and knew always had time! Although I do remember my mother rushing around to organise the house for when my father got home; she used to go out a lot!

The majority of these women ( a particular socioeconomic group) didn’t work, and the most tiresome task of the day was deciding what to prepare for dinner; unless you were really well-heeled and had a cook/housekeeper who made even that decision disappear in the steam of boiling vegetables. Did they realise, by being so self-indulgent they were practicing excellent self-care?

For many women of that time, life was about Morning Coffee, Afternoon Tea, collecting the children from school, ironing the bread winner’s shirts, or instructing the help in what needed doing, and going to the hairdresser once a week for the obligatory ‘cast in stone’ helmet-head hairstyle which lasted, with nary a hair out of place, until the next week.

The less privileged Lifestyle

And yes, there were even more women who never experienced this type of life; whose every waking hour was spent trying to keep their family clean and fed and happy. And that was all they wanted … or was it? Was there any choice? Was there any self-care involved? Probably not. Was it their attitude or just their circumstances? Did they think about attitude as in this blog post?

A changing society; so much change in a such a short time

Society has changed … dramatically. Think of what we have nowadays that hadn’t even been thought of 40 or 50 years ago! I remember my first mobile phone which closely resembled a house brick. And the first time I wrote a computer sub-routine was using a small card and a hole puncher; the card was fed into a slot and hey presto, some time later, the answer appeared … on another piece of paper !

Is it any wonder that women who, like myself, were brought up in that quieter, slower and (dare I say it?) more genteel era, are now looking around and thinking “this is very interesting! Not sure if I like it all.” We look at younger women in their thirties and forties and can’t help but see they are heading in the same direction. So what was Women’s Lib all about?! Why is there so little emphasis placed on self-care?

Where do their dreams and aspirations go? What happens to their chutzpah and pizzaz? Why do they persist in following in our footsteps and making the same mistakes? Why are there so many women with an aging attitude?! What do you think of what’s written here?

What is the biggest thing we can pass on to the women coming up behind us … We can teach them to change the one major, glaring, in-your-face, monumental boo-boo that so many women seem to choose to make (I plead guilty in the past!), which is simply refusing to acknowledge they are worthy and deserving of time spent on themselves. Back to lack of self-esteem.

Maintaining or revisiting your self-esteem and practicing self-care.

Once a week it is crucial, to maintain your emotional balance, your physical well-being, your self-esteem and your values, to reward yourself in some way, for having achieved so much. Every single week. And if you really want to take it to the limit, reward yourself once a day … even if it’s only sitting outside quietly sipping a cup of coffee or a glass of water (maybe wine?).

□ Take the time to be with yourself.
□ Enjoy your own company.
□ Take up Yoga or Pilates or just go for a walk every morning and enjoy the peace of the start of the day.
□ Be grateful for everything, big and small.
□ Smile … big smile … more often, more easily

Can such simple and easy choices really change your life? Absolutely.

Why not read The Little Book of Self-care … 200 suggestions for caring for yourself …

And if you don’t think you’re old enough to take this advice on board, you will be one day. The legendary Sophie Tucker on the subject of growing old, said “all you have to do is just breathe”


  1. Dot says

    I can really resonate with this post. I was one of those constantly caring for everyone else. It is only since I have been retired ( ten years) that I have had time to relax in the afternoon and read or knit, have the occasional massage. Shame it took 60 years! ( I am 70 now). Ladies, take care of yourselves, you are worth it!

    • Penelope Whiteley says

      I’m so pleased you found it useful Dot and I hope you pass it on to other women. So many of us have the problem of living within the expectations of others! And at a young 70, you have years to enjoy your wonderful ability to just be you.

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