Are you always running to the next thing without any time for yourself?
Do you feel like you don’t know where to begin when it comes to adding in self-care?
Sure, you want to do yoga, meditate, relax with a book, give yourself a facial…. or whatever it is that makes you feel good…. but your to-do list beckons and there is a pile of laundry you did two days ago that needs folded…
So, this is how I feel when I have a big project going. (Or, honestly, just about any day in my life.)
I’ve been trying to prepare my house to get it ready to sell, and that means a lot of home improvement projects. A lot. I mean, today I’m finishing restoring my deck.
And I almost did it again… I almost let my own self-care slip.
But, I caught myself… skipping my meditation (yikes! I need that to stay balanced), not taking 5 minutes to sit and have my tea and breathe, and skipping a yoga session (yoga is my own personal anti-depressant, so better not skip it!).
It is easy for me to think that all the things I need to do are more important than taking care of myself. But, they are not. If I don’t take care of myself, then I literally can’t be present for the things I need to get done, or my son, or my life.
So, before I let my self-care practices slip, I got them back into my daily life. Here’s how I did it:
- Do something for yourself as soon as you wake up in the morning, before you check your phone. For me, that means doing yoga and meditation as soon as I wake up, because once I check my phone, it’s game over. I’m replying to emails and looking at my calendar…. and then no time for yoga or meditation before I have to get ready and get my son up for school.
- Make a list of 5 things you like to do for yourself and keep it handy. Don’t know what to do for yourself? Sit down for 5-10 minutes and jot down the things that make you happy or feel good. Then when you have a few minutes between activities, you can look at your list and do one of them. My list is in the notes on my phone. My favorite one is pretty simple: Breathe. When I would normally grab my phone and check social while waiting for something, I check my list instead. Then I put my phone down and sit and take deep breathes, and I feel so much better.
- Put it in your calendar. So, if you have a calendar or daily schedule, add in that self-care. When it is in your calendar, you are more likely to stick to it. Don’t let yourself brush it aside to do something “more important” – it’s in your calendar for a reason. Because you are important. I put in my evening meditation time so I don’t skip it. I also added a weekly appointment to go for a walk outside. So, whatever refreshes you, add it in your calendar.
- Listen to your body and your emotions. Sometimes your body just needs rest or your brain needs a time-out from all the things. If you feel that way, don’t push through it. Your body and brain are trying to tell you something – that you need a break. So, take a nap, close yourself in your room for a few minutes, or turn on the music that makes you feel better. Yesterday, I was totally exhausted, and just needed to lie down. And so I did. I gave myself 15 minutes to rest and it totally refreshed me. Then, I came out of my room and was able to proceed with the rest of the evening in a much better mood.
- Be easy on yourself. Don’t turn your own self-care into something that stresses you out. It is meant to make you feel better. So, if you notice that you feel guilty for skipping it, or it turns into a weighty obligation…. try to let that go. Some days, you may need to skip it or go with the flow, and if you dread what you’ve scheduled as your self-care, maybe it’s time to mix it up and try something new.
How will you make self-care a priority for yourself?
May you have peace within,