It was only a week ago I wrote my last post, but it feels like a lot has changed. Like somehow the earth has shifted on its axis and the world has hit the reset button. I feel in a different place.

One of my goals for this year was to look after myself properly. By that I mean to invest in looking after myself. I'm fortunate enough, that if I budget correctly I am able to afford to do that. This new year's intention has changed everything.

Almost two weeks ago I started taking action on this goal. I finally saw a private dermatologist about my eczema. I've had eczema forever. But over the past few years, it's been bad. Like everything it goes through phases, it follows the pattern of my stress, and I find myself stuck in a vicious cycle, a catch-22. Stress is the cause, and what it causes. The NHS are great, don't get me wrong, but with this, they haven't provided the help I've needed to live the life I want. I won't go into how difficult living with eczema has been, I'll save that for another day. But when it's severe and covers 90% of your body, living in that body does not feel like a pleasant place to live.

So I did some googling. I rang a dermatologist and on the same day I found myself in their offices (offices... is that what they're called? Surgery maybe?)

I won't go into my treatment plan, you don't need to know that. But I will say, my life feels like it's changed. Changed in a way that no level of mindfulness would have achieved.

You see, I am a self-confessed, obsessed self-care junkie. The more cringe and cliché and more into it I am. Often I've fooled myself into thinking my mindset would change everything. It was my mindset that got me through the bad days, but I should just be dragging myself through the days, by clinging to the hope of words of affirmation, when my skin feels on fire. Life is for living after all. 

This one change made me realise I'd been doing it wrong. The self-care thing that is. Where I thought I was an expert, I was actually quite naive and narrow-minded. I'd bought into an idea of self-care that was sold to me through aesthetically pleasing Instagram feeds. Now don't get me wrong, there's a place for all of that. But I'd made the mistake of thinking that's where it started. It's not. The pretty stuff... that's sprinkles on the self-care cupcake. It's sure as hell, not the cake itself.

There needs to be a solid foundation on which you build upon

When my skin was so itchy, that I was up all night, my 10-minute morning meditation might have offered a small distraction, but it was also spent thinking about how I was itchy and tired and my skin hurt. And now I'm in a better place, I can feel the impacts of my mindfulness. 

You can't work backwards. You've got to start from the bottom. Address the problem. Face the big things. And then add the other stuff in. 

In all my years journalling, doing yoga, and picking up daily habits to become the person I aspire to be, I've noticed small shifts, and I always say if it makes you feel good, it makes you feel good it's as simple as that. But I've never felt such a difference, huge a big transformation in my energy, emotion and brain space as I have from putting my hand in my pocket and paying the money to actually see changes to the one thing that has truly made my days difficult.

And I know it won't always necessarily be like this. I know situations, circumstances, and moods change. But I will never take for granted the ease of having clear skin. 

Let this be your reminder, self-care isn't the pretty stuff. The pretty stuff, matters. The lifestyle sprinkle. But you've got to start with life.