Ok, so first things first, this is not a book review. Not really. It’s more of a ‘this book is brilliant, you should go buy it, it’ll change your life, do it, do it now’.
So… sort of a review? Kinda.
The term ‘self-care’ is bandied around like nobody’s business these days – in fact so much so, that I feel like we might have lost it’s core values; what it’s really all about. As much as bubble baths, candles & moisturising are forms of self-care, it’s really about a lot more than all that. The author, Jayne Hardy, brings it back to basics. It’s like going back to school, stripping everything to the bone & learning about something we ought to be a lot more familiar with than we are. It’s pretty startling that so many of us don’t deem ourselves worthy of self-care; we put ourselves on the very last of the priority list, we make out we just don’t have time, we’re busy, we make excuses.
Now you will know that I suffer with my mental health. Self-care is something that I’ve always struggled with. Again, it came down to not feeling worthy of it, maybe not even realising I needed it – I felt like making time for me sounded selfish, and I think a lot of us have felt that way? This book says NO to that; self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary.
Jayne Hardy is in fact, one of the most uplifting, empathetic & relatable writers I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. She’s one of life’s true do-gooders and is the founder & CEO of The Blurt Foundation – “a social enterprise dedicated to helping those affected by depression”. These folks are smashing. I’ve been a long-term supporter of what Blurt do, which in essence is be there for people like me. They’re constantly working their hineys off to bring awareness to depression & mental illness, whilst also providing support & resources, which I think is wonderful. They also do what they call a ‘hug in a box’ which is a subscription box – or ‘BuddyBox’ – for “ANYONE who could benefit from a boost, or a pick-me up, or a big dollop of self-care“. Basically, they’re blinkin’ marvellous people.
“Think of us as the knowing nod. You’ve seen it – a slight bob of the head, often accompanied by a smile. A little movement that says, “I understand”, “I’m listening” and “I’m here for you”. That’s us.”
Anyway, I’ve rattled on enough & the whole point of this post is to tell you a bit about the book itself, The Self-Care Project. It’s literally like page after page of ‘me too’ & ‘omg, I’m not alone?’. I feel as though I made a friend in Jayne – that’s how at home she makes you feel with her writing. She tells us her story – how low depression has had her, to the point she didn’t feel worthy of brushing her teeth or leaving the house, how she’s struggled to cope. In fact I feel like a lot of her experiences mirror my own, and maybe that’s why I felt so comfortable with her.
Like I said earlier, Jayne brings this self-care business back to basics. She reminds us that it’s about prioritising your needs; making time for things you love, but also making time to brush your hair, wash yourself and make yourself that lunch you’ve been thinking about. It’s being ok with saying ‘no’ to something or someone that you’d ordinarily feel obliged to say ‘yes’ to. It’s seeing the Dr or Dentist when you need to – it’s saying ‘it’s absolutely bloody fine to put myself first for a change’ – because it really is fine.
Everything is conveyed so gently and yet with a real comic flare – you find yourself laughing in the coffee shop with the baristas looking over at you like you might be crackers. Just me? Jayne’s tips & advice are practical, attainable and you trust what she’s saying because you feel like she gives a shit; she’s been there, she’s got the t-shirt, she’s not just ramming any old gibberish in your face – you trust her.
What’s really cool is throughout the book, there are pages with activities on them, where for example you might use boxes to help describe yourself in ten positive words – or you might write some of your acts of bravery, your favourite things or what support your missing. It’s as though Jayne gets you thinking, gets those cogs turning and then gets you to write things down whilst your there, while it’s all fresh. It’s simple, but genius, and it makes you realise a lot of things.
She really thinks of everything and everyone – tackling self-care whilst parenting, inputting it into busy lives, or ’emergency self-care’ for when we’re in a crisis or when life is just downright pants. In short, she’s bloody brilliant, and I implore you to purchase this book. I’ve taken so much from it; I’ve learned that I’m worthy of self-care, that I can make time for me & I am a priority.
I’m gonna leave you with one of my favourite passages from the book, which pretty much sums up self-care in the best way I’ve seen yet:
It may be unchartered territory but self-care is non-negotiable and here’s why: it deters ill health from our door, it’s the simplifying of life, not the sacrificing of ourselves, the light to the dark, the pause in the go-go-go. It’s our rehab from the demands of life, the self-permission to bloom, the regaining of control, the nemesis to burnout, the straightening of the skew-whiff, the blossoming friendship with ourselves, the release of tension, the nurturing of dreams, the redirection of energy and an emphatic goodbye to the shoulds, coulds and buts.
Let me know if I’ve persuaded you to buy this or if you’ve got it already and what your thoughts are! & if you take nothing else from this, remember you’re worthy of self-care, every single day.
Big kisses, and a big thank you to Jayne Hardy for being such a superstar.
Buy ‘The Self-Care Project’ HERE
The Blurt Foundation: https://www.blurtitout.org/