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.
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.
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!
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!
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……
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.
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.
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.
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:
G: Treat yourself like the queen you are! You finally have spare time on your hands to pamper yourself.
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;
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
Pink Bits @pink_bits
Contemporary Womxn on earth @odeandiefreude
My Dear Vagina @mydearvagina
Curated By Girls @curatedbygirls
Girl Gaze @girlgaze
Behind the Scars @behindthescars_
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.
Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.