What we learned about self care in 2020

Written by Vadrine Boulle

It’s safe to say that for many of us, 2020 was a challenging and transformational year filled with events that will be etched in our minds for a lifetime to come. 

Those 12 months taught us many things, not least the fact that we will never again take the freedom to travel for granted and that our relationships with our communities and neighbours are to be treasured. They are after all what supported us during the most difficult of times.

But having been indoors most of the year, with no choice but to cultivate new habits and adapt our daily lives to a new normal, one of the biggest gifts 2020 gave us was the chance to rediscover and take better care of ourselves.

Many of us will remember the time we spent learning to put ourselves first when the world seemed like it was falling apart. 

Perhaps many of us realised that we’d been wrong in ignoring our self care before, and that going forward, we want to be more conscious of the fact that we deserve the attention we spend so much time giving to others. 

Here are a few things we learned about self care in 2020: 

  • It’s about more than bubble baths and face masks. Your self care routine can be whatever you want it to be, it can be as simple as a bubble bath or more radical like decluttering and organizing your entire house. It means something different to different people, as long as it helps ease what you’re going through, you do you. 
  • Self care can be eating a salad OR eating a whole tub of chocolate ice cream. There is no right or wrong way to make yourself feel better with food and we’re never again going to let anyone tell us otherwise.
  • It’s okay to feel the entire spectrum of emotions in one day. Whether you started your day hoping for one that was peaceful and productive but ended up with chaos and madness in the house, you’re allowed to feel whatever comes up and you’re allowed a moment to process it all and to pause when the world gets too busy.
  • Routines and rituals are what help get us through the moments when we feel out of control. The little moments to ourselves sipping a cup of coffee, that 10 minute yoga stretch by yourself, the daily chats with a loved one far away, or having a quiet moment to tidy up the house - it’s our routines that we can rely on that remind us that although the outside feels out of control, we can control the controllables within our space. 
  • It’s about so much more than the physical. Yes, it’s about moving your body and those precious 30 minutes daily walks. But it’s also about the mental and spiritual - whatever that means to you. The 15 minutes of journaling in the morning, the meditating in the bath with some bubbles, the saying how you feel out loud and not bottling it up 
  • It’s okay to ask for help. Of course, you can take care of yourself! But if you need it, it’s okay to reach out and lean on your support systems. 

Wherever 2021 takes us, may we all remember to put ourselves and our care first. As they used to say in the good old days of travel, you have to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. 

And if you’re looking for some extra support, we’d be more than happy here at Empower Amsterdam to offer you that helping hand. If you're unemployed and living in the Netherlands, you can apply for our free coaching here.

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