Last week, I read somewhere that Emma Watson has declared that she's using 2016 as a so-called 'personal development year'. Darling! During this year, she'll apparently spend her time alternating between reading, studying feminism and working on her 'HeForShe' initiative for gender equality. For the stars of multi-million pound wizarding franchises, apparently time and sleep aren't so much of a problemo.
These 365 days of uninterrupted me-time are of course something most can only dream of (seriously, IMAGINE). But thinking about it, I'm pretty sure there is a muggle equivalent us normals could all make a bit more of an effort with. By that, I mean the art of 'self care’. Not to be confused with what one of my more, uh, romantic friends hilariously refers to as 'self love' (although hey, maybe you could combine the two...), self care simply means that every now and then, you forget the to do list and stop for a moment to put yourself first.
But it’s also here that that pesky time thing gets in the way again. By the time you’ve seen your friends or your significant other and done your washing and made your dinner and dragged yourself half-heartedly to the gym and completed all of the boring life admin that never seems to be done with, it’s easy to feel like there’s no time to just BE. To do things just…because. Not because you feel like you probably should. And definitely not because there might be a prime Instagram opportunity in it. Instead, just because it would be (*whispers it*) nice. Because it would be relaxing. Because you can’t be arsed to speak to anyone for an evening.
It’s hard to ever truly disconnect in a time when people are live-tweeting their holidays and Instagramming their breakfasts, but I’m a big believer in doing stuff just for yourself when you can. I’m not advocating being a hermit, by any means; I need boozy Saturday nights and hungover Sunday brunches with my pals just as much as the next needy millennial. But occasionally, I think it’s fine to be a bit selfish. This whole ‘self care’ thing is important.
But what exactly is it? Well, that's the beauty of it. It could be...going for a walk on a crisp winter’s day, with no particular destination in mind. Ignoring your Whatsapp groups as they merrily buzz away for an afternoon. Forgetting to eat the rainbow and eating a massive vat of stodgy beige risotto instead. Rewatching Friends or that shitty Richard Curtis film you’ve seen hundreds of times before. Having an excessively long bath or shower and stepping out feeling like you’ve basically been born again. Making a big mug of tea and washing it down with a caramel digestive or three. Blocking out the world and listening to your perfectly curated Spotify playlist. Buying yourself a REALLY GOOD bra. Turning an invitation down without even bothering to make up an excuse. Doing the things you NEVER have time for – like clearing out your wardrobe or replying to that neglected old friend. Booking tickets to that thing you’ve been meaning to see for months. Reading an actual physical newspaper from cover to cover. And maybe even starting a new project…
Whatever it might be for you, today's as good a time as any to start.