A challenge to look after yourself

Antonia Higgins of Tranquillo Counselling wants people to take time for self-care
Antonia Higgins of Tranquillo Counselling wants people to take time for self-care

Finally grabbing half an hour to relax in the bath after a stressful few days gave busy mum Antonia Higgins an idea that she hopes will help people through the dark, cold winter months that lie ahead.

She is challenging people to take more care of themselves - and she wants them to share their ideas with her, and each other, every day this month on social media, using the hashtag #SelfcareSeptember.

Antonia, a trained counsellor who lives in Falkirk, believes self-care is vital for people leading busy lives with many responsibilities.

Antonia said: “It doesn’t have to be big and complicated - a weekend Stobo Castle is lovely, but getting outside in the garden for ten minutes to enjoy a cup of tea is also self-care.”

Antonia, who set up her own practice, Tranquillo Counselling, in 2015, said: “I think often, as busy people, we’re can be really good at looking after other people and bad at remembering to look after ourselves.

“When we don’t look after ourselves that can lead to issues like anxiety, stress and insomnia but we just feel we have to keep going – ‘keep calm and carry on’ because people rely on us.

“What we forget is that you can’t pour from an empty cup!”

Antonia herself went through what she calls a “life-changing counselling process”.

“I went to counselling for a few months and came out feeling like a new person,” she said.

“So, I decided to use my own experiences to help other people.”

As someone who is keen to practise what she preaches, Antonia explains that self-care doesn’t just have to be “nice things”.

“It can be things like long, hot baths and facials or watching a film,” she said. “Or it could be a practical thing that will help free space in your mind or your life: writing a to-do list, rearranging a cupboard, cooking or baking, weeding the garden.

“As long as it’s something you want to do and not something you have to or should do - ‘have to’ and ‘should’ are not about looking after your own needs,” she said.

She’s now keen to see what other people’s ideas are and hopes people will inspire each other.

“I want it to be a fun thing – not for people to feel like they’re shackled to it. I also want it to be supportive – knowing you’re part of something bigger is important.”

To join Antonia’s #SelfcareSeptember challenge visit Tranquillo Counselling or find Tranquillo Counselling on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.