Often it is when we most need to take care of ourselves that we “don’t have the time” to do it. Yet self care is so important, especially when times get busy or tough. In this post, we’re going to first talk about what Self Care is, and then explore ways you can implement it.
Self Care is really a form of self love. It is letting yourself know that YOU are important enough to take care of. This may go against what you learned about yourself as a child, or how you are used to behaving as an adult. But logically we all know that if we don’t take good care of something, it wears out faster, falls apart or fails.
Let me ask you, do you want to fall apart?
I didn’t think so.
So, what is self care?
Self Care is the antidote to falling apart. It is the daily, weekly and yearly maintenance you do to take care of your body, heart and mind. This can be small things, big things or anything in between. This maintenance can take a little bit of time or a lot of time, but as with anything, consistency is key.
Your care plan will look different depending on what you have going on. In other words: self care is going to be quite particular to you and your unique life. Let’s explore some potential ways to care for you.
+ drink enough water
+ eat in a particular way that feels healthy to you+ getting x number of hours of sleep
+ take time for meditation, prayer or breathing exercises
+ create a morning or evening ritual
+ incorporate some kind of fitness routine
+ do a group activity (ie yoga)
+ spend time with friends
+ spend time alone
+ spend time in nature
+ read an inspiring book
+ get pampered (ie massage, hair cut, facial)
+ create a bath ritual
+ take time away from children or family responsibilities
+ take a digital detox (reduce screen time)
+ enjoy a cup of tea somewhere quiet
+ eat a meal mindfully
+ go on a retreat
+ go to a movie by yourself
+ clean out your closets
+ hire someone to clean your house
+ schedule a daily nap
When reading this it is important to remember that you aren’t trying to do all of these things. Self care is about knowing when you are feeling run down or depleted, and then knowing what will fill you back up.
Let’s use Jodie as a real life example of reasonable self-care. Jodie is a Mum of 2. Her children are both under 5 years old and her husband works full time. That doesn’t leave a lot of time left over, yet Jodie knows how important it is to keep herself nourished.
Jodie’s self care
+ 6-7 hours of sleep at some point in her 24 hour day. Sometimes this means she leaves the tidying up for later and naps with her youngest.
+ Instead of meditating, Jodie does two sessions of intentional breathing each day. She aims for three minutes but doesn’t always get there.
+ drinks 2 litres of water per day and limits to 2 cups of coffee
+ Jodie uses a sitter for 3 hours a day, 2 days per week so she can take some time for herself to sleep, run, or take a bubble bath on her own
+ she has one outing per week with a close girlfriend while her husband watches the kids, and
+ one date night every other week with hubby while her close girlfriend watches the kids.
None of these are easy to implement. Her youngest is still up frequently at night, so 6-7 hours seemed more realistic than 8. The sitter required lengthy negotiation with her husband to budget out the right amount. And the breathing exercises were better than nothing, even though Jodie would much prefer to meditate. The date night with hubby is a swap with their close friends: one week Jodie takes their kids and then they switch.
How about you?
Take a look at your own life and see, what could you implement right now to ensure your body, heart and mind are taken care of? How can you prevent wear and tear, damage or burn out?
It might take a little creativity, and good communication with your partner, children, work colleagues or friends. Just remember self care is whatever gives, not takes away.