Looking after yourself

No really. Do you? Look after yourself? I often don’t. I learned the other night that it’s a Capricorn thing (being a bad self looker-afterer).

Image via imgur.com
Image via imgur.com

The same night, the same person – one lovely Lou Androlia – shared that while she suffers from Hashimotos (and previously fibromyalgia, another autoimmune disease), she doesn’t get too many flares these days because she doesn’t get anxious too often. Anxiety and lack of sleep cause the biggest flares, we both agreed.

How come, I asked?

“Because I’m really good at looking after myself,” she said. Not smugly, just matter-of-factly (probably because she’s a Scorpio with Taurus in her sign…?!) This part of the conversation struck me and I went home elevated by it. Yes, looking after myself!

Before I go on, some context. I hooked up with Lou in Primrose Hill after she commented on Instagram under my shot taken just outside her house as I rode home from a yoga class at Fierce Grace yoga school (yes, more on this later). I recognized her handle. I knew she’d followed me for a long time and so I replied to her, on a whim, on my last night in London, asking if she’d like to meet up for a drink. She did (want to). So we did (meet up) an hour later. She was unmissable. She has flaming orange hair that just works a treat.

So it turns out Lou knows Gabby Bernstein. In fact, the last time they met up for an impromptu drink (after meeting online, too), Lou shared with Gabby that she might like to try my IQS 8 Week Program, which Gabby did.

So it was you who got Gabby onto it!?

The loops tightened. And tightened further. Turns out, too, she’s friends with Gala Darling. Who’s also friends with Gabby…And around and around we go. It’s been quite the trip for these loops. More context: Lou is a healer and life coach working a little with esoteric practices and using her own journey through illness as her guide. Yet another AI type earnestly needing to communicate (it’s definitely A Thyroid Thing).

On top of this, I’d spent the day feeling pretty low. Exhausted and a little lonely and directionless. And a bit thyroidy. I took stock at one point and thought to myself, “I’m feeling crap”. And sat in a quiet café with no one else in it and had a rosemary tea. Just this – that the place was empty and had rosemary tea (great for depression, hormone swing, blood sugar issues) – was confirmation from Life that taking stock was A Good Thing To Do. I took stock and reflected that I needed to do whatever it took to look after myself. Funnily enough.

More loops.

There we are!
There we are!

In that moment all it took was stopping and confirming that I had to look after myself, and to be OK with feeling crap. This very pause and reflection and acknowledgement was looking after myself. A weight lifted and an ease set in. I was then able to make simple decisions. Like, 1. Don’t go near shoppers/shopping 2. Don’t do “The Beast” yoga class requiring a mad rush 45 minutes on a bike across London; do the slightly gentler “Fierce” version a few hours later instead. All of which, of course, led me to go to enjoy a perfect yoga class, to post an Instagram post afterwards that connected me with Lou, which saw me have a nourishing evening with a fellow introvert who didn’t drain me (fellow introverts, by definition, don’t). Life flowed in.

For me, looking after myself is mostly about backing off and slowing down and getting space. It’s also about a dedicated morning routine and doing what I love.

For Lou, it’s about a morning routine, too…she needs to potter about her house for a good hour or so. She also commits to sitting on her cushion. Sometimes she meditates, sometimes she reads, sometimes she writes on this cushion.

It’s about walking when she gets thryoidy. Putting everything down and walking up to Primrose Hill and back. It’s drawing. It’s eating at home, and being on her own for slabs of time (me too!). And it’s being OK with feeling crap. Like really OK with it.

Pause, reflect, acknowledge. And then life flows in. That’s looking after yourself.

Do you struggle with the concept?  I’ve previously struggled with the idea of deserving to look after myself. And, to be honest, even knowing what it felt like. You?

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