And here I am, my very first post as a fully-fledged mentor!! Super-excited but nervous to be on this journey. I wanted to use my first post as an opportunity to reflect on something that is very close to my heart: self-care as an act of self-love. As we continue to live in these unusual times, where we are unsure what it going to happen from next day to the next, I’m reminded of the importance of taking time out to care for yourself. As women, particularly as mothers (and even more so for single-mothers) it’s see easy to put everyone’s else needs before your own, for us to keep going and to attend to our family, children and loved one’s needs, even ifs it mean sacrificing our own needs, wants and desires. This is ingrained is us from a young age. As girl children we’re often raised to be self-less, caring and think of others before ourselves. This continues into our adult life. We’re so ingrained to intuitively think that others needs matter before our needs. Ladies, it time that we rise up and re-frame and re-claim this narrative. Self-care is the one more important thing we can do for ourselves and for our loves ones. Through self-care we can achieve self-love, and we can love ourselves in the way that God intended: wholly, fully and believing we deserve the very best in life . Self-care as a route to self-love so very important for our physical, mental, emotional health, and wellbeing. It is during these those moments, when we start to putting ourselves and our needs first, and yes this includes at times putting ourselves before our dependent children (yes, I said it, I went there!!). It has taken me many years to realise that our children will benefit if they witness us practising self-care. It means that or children witness us being calmer and more healthy parents; it means that we are more attentive to their needs because we took the time to first carve out space for ourselves. If we can leave the ‘mimm-guilt’ at the door, you will understand s self-care is one of the most loving things we can do for our children and our wider relationships. We are also teaching our children a crucial lesson in life: self-care as an act of self-love means that there is no need to rely on others to love you, and ‘have your back’ because you’ve got your own back. This will help children in their later lives, falling into unhealthy and toxic relationships, because they know (by seeing you doing this) what it means to love yourself, to put yourself first, and to have a healthy, loving and fulfilling relationship with yourself. Ladies (and gents!), my one request for you as I begin this next chapter in my life, is to make it your life’s mission to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule every day to focus on you, just because YOU ARE WORTH IT! Just small acts of self-care and to spend time with yourself doing something, ANYTHING that nourishes you, sustains yom, makes you feel whole and ready take world again. It does not have to be a big and expensive thing. I know that I would love to spend more time with my friends at a weekend spa or at an all inclusive luxury resource in Negril, Jamaica, but I also know that this is not within my current reality (or within budget!) to do so, other than for those exceptionally special occasions. If you’re not used to doing something loving and caring for yourself, then start small. I will say it again YOU ARE WORTH IT!. If you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself, what can do for yourself that does not rely on others? What makes you feel at peace, will make you laugh, bring you joy without having to spend any money or seek out company to do it with? My simple acts of self love include going for the walk around my local park with a small lake whilst listening to 70s and 80s disco on my headphones (this truly saved me during lockdown!); reading a juicy novel set in far flung places; taking a long and luxuriating bath rather than a quick shower in the morning, a cup of tea with Rich Tea biscuits (if you like me you in England, then you will understand!); listening to Mr Gaskin on You Tube whilst washing the dishes and preparing the evening dinner with my children in another room, followed by 20-30 mins daily yoga with Adriene, also on Youtube…but hands-down my absolute favourite is being still and in complete silence, sitting in my garden or looking out of my bedroom window, simply listening to my inner thoughts or day dreaming ….These are all things we can do to practice daily self-care practices. I shared my examples of self-care..what are yours?!!