The season of self-care for fibromyalgia

There’s something so wonderful about October – and it’s not just because it’s my birthday. It’s because it’s the start of autumn; the mornings are darker, the air is cooler and I’m finally reunited with all my chunky knits. It’s a love like no other.

But also, it’s because it’s my birthday. (High five October babies! Here’s to you.)

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It’s not just my birthday and the chunky knits though; there’s something else happening this month. This month is the first time in a very long time that I can honestly say I’m resting. I’m saying no, I’m clearing the diary, and I’m booking in time for self-care.

The internet is obsessed with self-care and hygge at the moment and quite frankly, there are worst things for us all to be obsessed with. Hygge is a Danish term for which we have no direct translation – although, we’re talking about it so much in the UK that I’m not sure it needs a translation. For those who have yet to be gently hit over the head by cosy words and imagery, Hygge is the name given to creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. Simples.

For my season of self-care, I launched into October by booking a spa day with two of my favourite girls, a luxury manicure and pedicure with my mum, and a full body aromatherpy massage at my local therapy centre. I also booked an hour in a float tank which I am giddy with excitement about – and will review later this month – and I got my hair cut and coloured by a stylist so good I practically flew out of the salon feeling lighter than air. It feels so good to look after myself and invest in myself. I so often whittle my money away on things that end up in a charity shop nine months later (seriously, I’m pretty sure I single-handedly kept the Red Cross shop in south east London afloat) so spending on moments of happiness feels like a good move. Massages, manicures, brunch, cake… what’s not to love?

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As the weather gets colder, the food gets warmer. Stews, pies, roast dinners – the things I utterly adore. Delicious smells fill the house, there’s a warm glow from the roaring fire and I feel so relaxed and content curled up with my little family and a good book or, more likely, the latest Netflix series. This scene is everything that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

All that plus birthday fun! Did I mention that? At 32 years old I still get a childlike excitement in my belly about turning another year older. I don’t know why, but I start counting down in June and it’s all I can do not to talk to anyone and everyone about birthday magic for weeks and weeks. There’s no doubt about it; October is my dream month. This year my birthday falls on a Saturday which means no work and lots of indulgence. And by indulgence, yes, I mean food. Birthday breakfast is one of my favourite traditions and kicks off the day in spectacular style. This year I’m planning nothing but lie ins, lots of food and cocktails with friends in the evening. Perfect.

Hygge means different things to different people – it’s one of the reasons I like it so much. It forces me to think about the things, the foods, the smells, the people that make me feel warm and blessed. To me, it means saying no to the people and things that require effort and, instead, surrounding myself with things and people that make me feel protected – even if I’m the one doing the protecting. I feel proud and excited about the months ahead and whilst self-care may end up sounding a little selfish, you know what… I’m okay with that.

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