How to start Meeting Your Own Needs
I’ve recently started tracking my habits, and, in a nutshell, it ain’t good.
On a typical day, I wake up when the baby shouts for me, I get his milk and make a brew (if he lets me put him down), I sort breakfast, get him changed and play for the rest of the morning. While he naps, I clean the kitchen, prep lunch and answer emails. When the baby wakes up again, we have lunch, go to the park or to one of his classes, take the dog for a walk, make tea, bath and then bed. Once he’s down, I clean up, get some work done while watching tv in the background, do my skin care and get to bed early.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of support. My partner does his fair share and my family are really helpful when the cracks start to show and I need some time to myself. But even me, who feels very supported, struggles to take time for myself. Imagine what other people have to go through?!
The narrative around health and wellbeing has changed slightly over the years, moving from external health and fitness to more about mental wellbeing. A big part of that conversation has been around meeting needs for yourself.
Meeting needs, put simply, is about being aware of what you need at that moment and working it into your day. This involves listening to yourself and tuning into your thoughts and feelings in a non judgmental way.
Are you feeling strained and about to snap? What you need is a release, so go and take a kickboxing class or invite your friends to karaoke! Feeling bored or stuck in a rut? You need to switch up your routine and plan a day trip! Get the idea?
Meeting your needs isn’t always doing self care things, though. A lot of the time when I’m feeling anxious, while a bath and a glass of wine helps in the moment, the anxiety doesn’t stay away. I’ve started journaling recently, which gives me an understanding of the causes of my negative feelings, and this way I can tackle them!
One of the ways I deal with the anxious feelings around meeting my needs is with an idea called ‘pleasure practise’.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re feeling a bit itchy scratchy, and you can’t settle on a particular task. You sit down and write about this feeling, and you realise that it’s because the house is untidy, and it’s making you feel out of sorts. Problem is: you haaaaaaate tidying!
This is where pleasure practise comes in. Do you remember the scene in Mary Poppins where they tidy the nursery? I’m not saying pleasure practise will magically tidy the toys away like ol’ MP can, but what it does is coincide what you find fun with what you, well, don’t find fun. So blast some music, pop your party clothes on and dance around with the hoover!
Now I know where my time is being spent, I can see where I’m not meeting my needs, and find pleasure in the admin! This week I’m having something called a ‘money date’. Think fluffy socks, glass (bottle) of wine, luxurious chocolates, and a loooooot of spreadsheets. Do I like looking at my finances? Absolutely not, but it’s what I need. A bath also helps it feel a bit nicer too.
What needs are you not meeting right now? How can you fulfil those needs and make them fun too?
Author - Hannah Selby-Hughes