Struggling with self-care

Last week I interviewed some of my friends about the topic of self-care. I had written an article about it, too, because I love the subject.

For a very long time, when I heard the word “zelfzorg” I would just roll my eyes. I take care of myself, thank you very much, I don’t need to be lectured on it.

But then if I have to be honest, my self care routines are only at their best when I’m far away from everyone. When I have few responsibilities. The minute my life gets busy… my selfcare routines become smaller, I finish them quickly, or worse: I make up excuses to “postpone”.

And we all know what postponing does to you, right? Van uitstel komt afstel (postponing means you end up not doing it), uiteraard!

So when I was interviewing my friends, I noticed this struggle is the same for everyone. Answering the question “what kind of activities is self-care to you?” is not that hard, but finding (read: choosing!) the time to actually do them, is a different story.

Then it becomes a contradiction: you have to say “no” to things that are also important to you, in order to have more time to yourself and your goals. Guilt might start to set in…

These questions help me to determine who or what to say no to:

  • Can I postpone this to a time that I have more space for it?
  • Is it absolutely necessary that I do this or see that person at that moment?
  • Is this activity supporting the lifestyle/goals I’m choosing, or trying to choose?
  • Does the idea of doing this/going there/seeing that person make me feel happy?
  • How can I make this work for me in a way that is more respectful of my needs?

So what does this have to do with language learning, you might ask?

Well, I believe that it’s possible to combine self-care and improving your language. More: to me, they are often the same thing! A big part of my self-care routines is journaling, visualising and writing what I care about. It leaves me inspired and grateful, ready to take on the world.

When I do that in a language I’m learning, I take it a little slower and become even more conscious about the process. Another part of my brain sets in, and I’m no longer dominated by what I think I have to write about, but I’m led by what I feel… It’s quite liberating.
If you want to experience a moment of self-care and Flemish immersion, go ahead and download my free guide here. You’ll find my friends’ interviews there, and an article I’ve written about it, too. That, and more.

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