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Sunday, February 18, 2024

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The older I get the more I am focused on self care. I would encourage anyone else to be the same.

We are all busy people. Some of us busier than others, with a varied range of commitments, but whatever your deal is, looking after yourself is good for you, and everyone else in your life.

The days and weeks around the restoration of Stormont were intense. As usual I was reporting for Reuters news agency, I was also fulfilling my ongoing Washington Post Ireland stringer gig, and doing copy for Sunday Times desks too. Lots of radio, tv, podcasts, and the rest. Unholy 6am starts, 16 hour days, waiting around, monitoring, analysing, social media, sleep deprivation, and all social plans out the window.

That's the deal when you have a media gig such as mine (and honestly, I love it, even when it's sickening lol). One by one my diary plans (all the super duper fun stuff) had to be rescheduled, and a new blanket I had to drop to a special little lady was much delayed.

Catching up with Clare W and our belly busting dinner out had to postponed, roughly the same plans with my mate Bronagh were also pulled.

In the midst of it all I was determined to keep a scheduled feet MOT with Catherine at City Chiropodist (when you hang around for politicians as much as I do you need your trotters in good order).

I was also adamant that I would squeeze in a French Martini and a steak at the Fitzwilliam but unlike other invited guests I couldn't stay for the whole event and had to leave mid forkful because I was flat out with commitments.

A St Brigid's celebration, featuring some of my favourite women, was part of a whirlwind visit to Notting Hill, a partial experience because again I had work to do.

In the week or two since I have still been busy but it hasn't been quite as full on so thankfully I have also been able to have some time to myself.

I booked into one of my happy places - Hastings Culloden hotel and spa. Being there is joyous to the point that the thought of it nearly brings me to tears. Especially when I know I have been working hard.

I love, love, love, a luxury experience. I love to swim, so a swim, then vitality pool dip, and steam room, plus different periods of lounging in a fluffy robe with a glass (or two) of fizz is right up my street.

I had booked into the spa for the 'Warm Wellness' treatment package, which I thoroughly recommend. And even better I used up a voucher I had received at Christmas. I also enjoyed a fireside dinner, and left with an ESPA positivity candle for my sis.

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Getting my hair cut, conditioned and blow dried to mirror shiny status, by the fabulous Maggs at Conroy Hair, was another mood booster, as was checking in with my bro and a childhood pal for lunch at French Village (even if what I picked was almost too healthy tasting lol).

An appointment with the wonderful physiotherapist Naomi at Replay Clinic about a niggly knee was reassuring and useful, and all part of self care. I will be back to the gyms and the pools this week. My Operation Chunky Monkey campaign is a continuing project, bringing multiple benefits to my physical and mental health.

I still have to catch up with some of my girls but I had a lovely 'Galentines' date at the Lansdowne so the social life is back on track. And seeing my family has been something else I was missing but I am all topped up now.

Being treated well by my lovely man on Valentine's Day (and all the other days tbh) contributes to my happiness.

I love flowers. The wee £3.50 bunches of flowers I buy myself and the fancy ones Paddy buys me.

Something as simple as admiring nature and flowers is part of self care, whether that's out and about in our parks and green spaces, the lux bouquets on Hallmark holidays, or a bunch of £1 daffodils.

Doing absolutely nothing is also part of self care. It is for me anyway. My brain is so busy all the time I have to really concentrate on relaxing. But once I’m in the zone it’s bliss.

Listening to podcasts (Kathbum’s pod is my fav, and The Bomb Squad Pod is cry laugh funny), watching candyfloss/trashy tv (tuning into Love Island All Stars), not doing anything, and not going anywhere is important to me.

Napping and sleeping is also big on the self care tick list for me and likeminded pals. As my wee mammy once told me 'sleeping is healing'.

So, get more sleep (why some people feel embarrassed about that is beyond me), look after your hair and skin, have wee treats (like a piece of fruit from Jackson Greens or a J-Bird Bakery rhubarb and custard cupcake), explore a better work life balance, and prioritise time to enjoy the things that make you happy. Even if you have a super hectic life, that revolves around children and the rest, squeeze something in. Anything! It’s important to invest in you. You can’t pour from an empty cup etc.

I think back to my younger years, when money was tighter than it is these days. I was burning out all the time, and limited trips to the salon were purely about maintenance, not pampering.

I still managed to treat myself sometimes, just done on the budget I was working with, and definitely not as much as I deserved! I guess that’s why I really appreciate being good to myself now.

With every year that passes I am getting better at balance, at prioritising strength and rest, and embracing all the different joys in my life. No shame. No guilt. Investing in myself and my relationships never has a down side.

Next on the list includes: another salon visit to Sanctuary by The Sea for an eye combo and hot oil manicure; coffee and a flapjack at Established; chatathons with my girlfriends; an at home coconut intensive hair conditioner and face mask; walking on the beach and uppahill; buying a quarter of brandy balls from the Old time sweet shop in Smithfield; trips to the Avenue cinema, and to the theatre. Oh, and all the sleep!

What's on your list?

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P.S - I post lots more of the lifestyle sort of stuff on my Instagram story: Click here for my Instagram

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