How to practice self-love while in lock-down.

By Dr. Greta

How to practice self-love while in lock-down is a Q&A session with three non-experts dishing out some unsolicited advice.

While I was out for my walk the other day I started thinking about self-care and self-love and how that has changed since we’ve gone into lock-down. Then I had an idea! Maybe I should ask other people what their thoughts were and together we could collate ideas to encourage women to foster self-love during this strange time.

So here we go. I asked two cool ladies who are doing awesome things in the women’s reproductive and sexual health space. So, without further ado, below is our Q&A and I have color-coded it so you know who answered what and also because color-coding is my vibe.

Let me introduce the ladies dishing out the wisdom today.

pictures representing the women giving advice on how to practice self-love while in lock-down.

Hannah – Sexual Health Dr and founder of uteryou uterme uterus podcast.

Greta – General Practioner and founder of the Woman be kind – blog

Tash – Ovarian cancer survivor and founder of Talk Peach Charity. 

Do you have a theory on why women find it so hard to love themselves?

H: I am sure someone smarter than me will be able to give an insightful anthropological answer to this question. I’m going to be really unscientific and base my answer on personal musings. I think it is because we don’t feel represented. If all you see is a size 6, white, cis-gendered straight woman, that’s what you’re gonna think society cares about. And it’s not true. Diversity is the spice of life.

G: You know how when you record your voice then you hear it back you’re like “Woah – I sound totally different in my head”. I think its exactly the same with our bodies. I genuinely think women see something completely different in front of the mirror to what everyone around them sees. Perhaps we all have a warped idea of what we really look like and we often think we are bigger or uglier or less vibrant than our true selves actually are. I wish we could all see ourselves through the eyes of our best friend, I think then we would love ourselves more.

T: Trauma, stress, colonisation, the patriarchy, violence, the devaluing of caregiving work and parenting, inequalities in leadership, management, governance and decision making roles in the private, political and voluntary sectors, poverty, homelessness and low pay/pay inequality all of which disproportionately affect women… – just to name a few!

Do you think being in lock-down makes it harder to practice self-love?

H: Um yeah. If you practice self-love by getting your nails done – harder. If you practice self-love by going to the gym – harder. Practice self-love by catching up with friends – harder. If you practice self-love by being alone 24/7 for weeks on end – easier. It’s probably the minority of people that would truly flourish in enforced isolation. That’s why we have to be intentional about finding new (hopefully temporary) ways of practicing self-love.

G: Naturally, our self-care is often the first thing to stop when we switch to survival mode with facing a stressful period. So yes, I think self-love is harder when in lock-down. THerefore we all need to make a more conscious effort to prioritise self-care and self-love at this time! 

T: I can only answer this for myself, but for me it’s the same as non lockdown sometimes your up sometimes your down! its been pretty good thus far, feeling slightly guilty about all the honey on toast but will I have it again tomorrow,  hell yes! 

What is your favorite body-positive activity right now?

H: I’ve never appreciated toddling aimlessly around the park as much as I do now. Walking is like, the ultimate body-positive activity for me right now. Not just for the exercise. But because I fill my ears with podcasts of intelligent people talking about hopeful things, I see other humans interacting from safe distances, I feel the sun on my SPF-50’d face, and I get to wear my outside clothes.

G: I am loving having pampering baths! It’s just a regular bath but I shave my legs, scrub my feet, exfoliate AND moisturise my whole body (I don’t think I’ve ever done that before now!!). I always feel amazing afterward.

T: How long have you got…lol. Face masks, my new korean skincare regime by Cosrx you can check this range and many more amazing korean skincare brands out at Hikoco beauty @hikoconz, I’m hooked! 

T: Ok what else……

  • Wearing my hair in plaits, buns and pigtails
  • Colourful clothes- (I would say 75% of my wardrobe is vintage/2nd hand, this makes me feel good 🙂 I love op- shopping, it’s my fave sport. 
  • Glittery socks and fun sneakers
  • Blusher blusher blusher!!
  • Moisturising my body after the shower, it always makes me feel good and like I’m looking after myself for minimal effort, winning.
  • Daily vitamins, I take vitamin C, Magnesium, Zinc, Gingko Biloba,  and @kiwiherb_nz ‘stress arrest formula’ for when the going gets tough, this was my holy grail when I was having treatment for ovarian cancer back in 2017, I’m always recommending it, you can get it in a tincture or pill form, I like the tincture it has kava in it and I feel like it kicks in straight away.
  • I’ve also just started taking Collagen body formula,  I had a hysterectomy when I was battling ovarian cancer and am conscious I need to be taking care of my bone health.
  • Essential oils, my favourite is lavender, all over my sheets and pillows, I do it most nights, I think this is probably my favourite self care ritual, I love it so much, especially when I’ve just changed my bedding it’s like I’m floating on a dreamy cloud, to me it’s the ultimate in peaceful indulgence, it makes me feel so calm and happy, you should try it. 

What is your favorite body part? And why?

H: It’s not a very glamorous answer, but I think it’s my teeth. They’ve always behaved. I’ve never needed fillings or root canals or anything else that requires a drill near my face. And, most importantly, they help me eat. I love eating. 

G: Hmm, I am really enjoying my fingernails at the moment, I have never been able to get them long without nibbling on them but for some reason, they are long and strong at the moment!

T: I like my curly hair, it was straight, then I went bald during chemo and it came back super curly and I really love it, I know lots of people who hate their chemo curls but I like mine, they remind me not to take life so seriously for some reason, curls are playful and carefree. I have a tendency to take a lot of things on, I can be a perfectionist, and get in my own head, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, constant need to be achieving more, I’m working on these things. Most people’s chemo curls go back to straight, but mine have stuck around, a little reminder from the gods perhaps.

What are you most proud of your body for?

H: Do I have enough time to explain the krebs cycle? That shit is impressive.

G: One day my partner and I were tramping in the Tongariro national park and we were planning on doing the Northern circuit tramp which is a 3-4 days tramp around 43km and has some crazy ups and downs. My partner loves doing everything at speed, I’m more of the amble type. But instead of the planned 3 days tramp we ended up doing the whole thing in one day as the huts were packed and rowdy which didn’t lend well to good night’s sleep! So I ended up tramping with a full pack on, over crazy terrain for around 40km in one day, into the night. At the end of the tramp I spewed in a bush but I was pretty dam proud of myself!! Afterward, I celebrated with hot chips, a lemonade, and a 14-hour sleep. 

T: I like my laparotomy scar, it’s about 15cm long from my belly button down I was cut open twice during my cancer battle.  I’m proud of the fact it’s never bothered me, I often look at it and think of how glad I am to still be here, it’s a reminder to be grateful, have fun, and give back. When I was sick and still awaiting my diagnosis/prognosis I didn’t once think oh I wish I went here or went there, did this or that , all I thought and cared about were my whanau and friends, that’s really the top of the heap being grateful, connections, loving and being loved in return and this scar reminds me of that.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self about self-love and acceptance?

H: Your body is literally nobody else’s business. If you wanna do something to it or with it then go right ahead. The world doesn’t need to know unless you find it empowering to tell them. 

G: I would tell her to keep being her unique and slightly strange self. Just enjoy being a teenager and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. I would tell her not to worry about having everything figured out because even in my mid 30’s I don’t have it all figured out. I’m pretty sure now, that no one ever has it all figured out – maybe that’s the beauty of life.

T: That there isn’t a finish line. It’s a bucket that needs filling, filtering, emptying and refilling.  Does that make sense hmmm, I guess I mean actively reflecting and being willing to work on yourself, it’s not easy facing inner demons, traumas, anxieties, but it’s a biggie for mental wellbeing, and for me an ongoing challenge; but working on yourself feels good, just even acknowledging and committing to wanting to work on something I find boosts wellbeing, but also don’t be hard on yourself, forgive yourself, learn and move on.  

Another thing is taking time to reflect and acknowledge your achievements, don’t always be looking forward to the next challenge, stop, look back and recognise how far you’ve come. (note to current self!)

Self -love and acceptance for me comes in waves, but I guess it’s those times when things are not so positive that help guide us to the ‘where to next’, and anything you get through can then be used to help someone else, there’s always someone a step ahead and always someone behind, reach out, level up and then pass it on.

Give the people some tips on how they can foster self-love during a lockdown?

H: I didn’t know how to organise my thoughts on this, so I’ve gone with a list which is neither comprehensive nor in any particular order:

  • Use the houseparty app (partly to catch up with friends, but mostly to dominate them in Pictionary)
  • Light all those candles that have been gathering dust for months. All at once. Who said toasted vanilla and cedarwood and blood orange can’t all go together?
  • Make a list of all the activities you’re going to do when it’s not illegal to see your friends anymore
  • Dedicate at least 30 minutes/day to looking at covid-19 memes. It brings joy.
  • Give yourself a break from screens. I know this isn’t an original thought but it genuinely helps. Read a book. I can recommend heaps. hmu. 

G: Treat yourself like the queen you are! You finally have spare time on your hands to pamper yourself.

  • Paint your nails and do something different with your hair
  • Have long showers or baths
  • Learn more about your body (hint hint – Woman be kind has you covered on that)
  • Listen to Hannah’s fabulous new podcast: uteryou uterme uterus
  • Practice daily gratitude, write what you are grateful for, down in a diary
  • Get to know your ladybits
  • Eat food that makes you feel good
  • Move your body!! Zumba in the front room sounds like a great place to start. Get fresh air everyday too!
  • Talk with loved ones, zoom/skype/facetime – use all the things to connect with people you love. It might just give you a little glimpse of yourself through their eyes.

T: Check out the Talk Peach educational website at www.talkpeach.org.nz and our instagram @talk_peach, learn to care for your gynaecological health, this is the perfect time to do so. Also;

  • Connect with friends and whanau 
  • Take part in Talk Peachs’ viva la vulva art challenge, deets on our insta. 
  • Follow The Mental Health Foundation New Zealand @mhfnz
  • These are tough times for so many, as long as it’s not hurting anyone then do whatever makes you happy! 
  • Now where are my trackies! 🙂

Cool accounts and inspiration to boost your self-love.

G: I really just to plug the Talk Peach charity and the uteryou uterme uterus podcast. I think both of them are awesome resources and every woman should go have a look over both. Oh and some shameless self-promotion coming at you. You should also explore the Woman be kind blog a little more to learn everything from what your vulva and vagina are to remedies for period pain!

T: Body positive instagram accounts to check out. Some of my faves are Women Be Kind @womanbekind and Talk Peach (of course) @talk_peach.
Māori Mermaid @maori_mermaid
Rainbow Youth @rainbowyouth
Aimee @ripsnorter
Pink Bits @pink_bits
Contemporary Womxn on earth @odeandiefreude
My Dear Vagina @mydearvagina
Curated By Girls @curatedbygirls
Girl Gaze @girlgaze
Hara @hara_thelabel
Behind the Scars @behindthescars_

Thank you and take care.

That brings out Q&A to an end. I hope you have been inspired by ideas on ways to practice self-love in lock-down. Hopefully, you found something in here that resonated with you. There certainly are a lot of different ways to show ourselves love and care so perhaps you can start with something small. At the end of the day, you are your most important asset so you need to make sure you take the best care of yourself (even while you are in lockdown).

Interview information collected and collated by Dr Greta.

Comments

Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

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