Self-care…. What even is that? Most people have the image of taking hours to pamper yourself at a spa. Or waking up extra early to journal, take a yoga class, meditate, and prepare an amazingly beautiful and nutritious breakfast.
I can hear you now: F*** that. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Let’s be honest, most people only have time to grab a coffee on their way out the door and MAYBE they’ll eat a bagel (if anything at all) for breakfast. The idea of taking hours for “yourself” is never going to happen- you’ll be lucky if you even leave the office at a reasonable time.
Or maybe it’s your family consuming all of your time- they need you to do everything or else nothing is going to get done. You are lucky if you can even make time for a shower.
I hear you. I get you. I was you (the overly stressed part, not the mom portion…). Your responsibilities (work, family, relationships, whatever yours may be) are consuming your to-do list and there’s little time left for you to even sleep at night.
But here is a truth bomb: how present are you really for your responsibilities right now?
Are you finding yourself losing your shit on a regular basis? Are other areas of your life suffering due to your time-consuming/stress filled responsibility? Are you getting sick more often than you think is normal?
If you answered yes to any of the above then you may be physically present, but you’re not really performing at your best. Your all-consuming responsibility is only getting half (at best) of you. Like you may have heard before: if you keep refilling everyone else’s cup but never go back to refill your own, then eventually you’ll stop being able to even fill other people’s cups (or something like that).
“I hear you, but how the hell do I make time for this self-care crap if there is no time to spare?”
If you’re new to the self-care game, or have neglected yourself for a while, taking even a little time for yourself can seem overwhelming. I’m someone who quit a well-paying corporate job in order to incorporate more self-care into my every day routine. I am an extreme self-care aficionado, but self-care can be quite simple. Any task that you would do to take care of someone else, but you do for yourself is a self-care activity.
Here are 4 tips to improve your current self-care routine:
Establish a why. For me, my mental health is my why. This is an internal reason to take care of myself. Sometimes it’s also helpful to create an external reason as well (remember the cup filling thing) like a person, passion project, or job that you want to be able to be more present or more effective with.
Make time for yourself. Like I said earlier a lot of people have this idea that self-care takes A Lot of time. This is just untrue. Preparing meals in advance so you can eat well even when you are super busy is self-care. Taking a 5-minute mental break from work, or people, is self-care. Even watching tv to give yourself something to focus on without using much mental capacity is self-care. My biggest advice for making time is change your mindset that self-care needs to take a crap ton of time and plan ahead for situations you know will be more stressful.
Keep a log of ALL of the self-care activities you complete. Make a mark on your calendar, create a list, or if your kind of type-A create a spreadsheet. The more you can visibly see that you are taking even small amounts of time for yourself the prouder you will be for doing so.
Reward yourself for effort not success. Life is not perfect and stress is impossible to completely eliminate. You can make a goal to do x amount of self-care activities but something may happen to prevent you from doing so. That’s okay! I even consider being willing to change plans around your circumstances as a self-care activity! Celebrate you and your willingness to take care of yourself more.