During the pandemic, I’ve seen a lot of clients take on more at their jobs and at home. Our lives got flipped upside down overnight and things have yet to return to normal. The things we used to have control and freedom over have changed. Maybe you’ve fared well, but many of us have had a bumpy ride. Everyone has their breaking point, but what if you could put up a shield so it never gets to that point? That shield is Self-Care.
What Is Self-Care?
Simply put, it’s what we deliberately do to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It goes way beyond just personal hygiene. It’s not mindless, it doesn’t just happen, and it’s 100% within your control. It’s not slumping in front of the TV at 9pm, exhausted and stressed from trying to complete an impossible list of to-dos. It’s finding that quality time for yourself torest, relax, and recharge. It’s intentional and conscious. Self-Care can come in many forms, and what might be important to me might be different for you. Self-Care can range from something big like a vacation to something super small, but very impactful, like having a tea and listening to music or reading. Don’t wait until you are on vacation to give yourself permission to relax. Allow it right now and enjoy some quality Self-Care time every day.
Making Self-Care Top Priority
If we were on a plane, and the oxygen masks dropped down, what’s the rule? We all know it – Put YOUR mask on first before assisting someone else. This is also true in our day to day. If you are at your best, you can give your best to your family, to your work, to your workouts. The priority list should have your Self-Care at the very top, and then all the rest. If you prioritize things that never end like dishes, laundry, and other chores, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and perpetually exhausted because you CAN’T win. You’ll never finish the laundry – you’ll lose that one sock, always, and as soon as you put that last dish away, a new one finds its way to the sink.
This is not quality time with yourself. However, these tasks still have to get done, but you control how and when. I choose to do a couple loads of laundry throughout the week to make it more manageable. I don’t fret if the dishes aren’t quite done. I’d rather walk my dog, so I do. It’s a balancing act to manage your tasks alongside your Self-Care.
How Can I Make Self-Care Top Priority?
I know its easier said than done. Taking time for yourself might be foreign, and it might make you feel weird, or even guilty. Don’t! You absolutely deserve to put yourself first, above everything else. Once you do, you’ll respect your Self-Care and protect it. This might mean some decisions that you find difficult, like saying ‘no’ when your plate is full. You might decide not to take on that next overtime shift, or not worry if the laundry isn’t totally complete every Sunday. The greatest part is that there are no rules, only what we see as social rules on social media. Ignore it all and live YOUR best life!
Choose Your Weapons
Your Self-Care may differ from day to day and week to week. It might include setting some personal boundaries and limits to things you don’t want sneaking into your personal time. This might mean setting limits to how often you work or check emails outside of work hours. It might mean you need to put your phone on silent mode if the notifications cause you stress. When I switched my phone to silent, it gave me control over when I check my emails and messages. Something so simple can have a profound effect on your daily stress level. Once you tackle those basic boundaries, you can move onto adding in some enjoyable tasks that contribute to your wellbeing. This can be anything you value or want to make time for.
Examples of Self-Care
- Book a regular massage (most people don’t use this free benefit!)
- Plan a coffee date with yourself, your partner, or a friend
- Keep your workout times sacred
- Say NO, try declining a request and use that time for something else that you choose
- Listen to music while completing a task (if I’m meal prepping, there are always tunes!)
- Look at your schedule (not just your work schedule) and book time so you can do whatYOU want to do
- Do something feel good like pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-thru or donate something to a charity
Self-Care is all about finding that comfortable balance between work and play. You don’t need to feel like you are constantly giving all your energy to everything but yourself. Remember, you do have to be conscious and mindful that Self-Care won’t just happen. YOU have to make the time, own it, and enjoy!