If you’ve been pouring your heart into your goals, your family, your career, you need to hear this. Self care must be on your list if you want to live a happy and fulfilling life. Prioritize yourself if you want to show up as a better version of you.
How does being busy make you feel?
Do you get an adrenaline rush from checking things off your list, a sense of self-importance from all of the things that are depending on you today, and a surge of pride for how much you can squeeze into a day before you finally fall into bed at night?
Or do you feel spread too thin? Heading in a million directions and barely staying afloat? Avoiding your to do lists for the sheer amount of overwhelm that washes over you when you compare the length of the list to the number of hours in a day?
Today I want to emphasize the importance of play.
The importance of rest.
The value of re-energizing your soul so that you can show up as your best self.
Today I want to inspire you to make time for your kiddos, your dog, your husband, yourself, a puzzle, a hike, a date night, gardening, swimming, napping, you name it.
This post is going to walk you through exactly how you can start your own self care routine so that you have more energy, patience, and focus to show up as your best self.
Let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth.BRENE BROWN
It is so sad that in today’s culture, “our self worth is tied to our net worth, and we base our worthiness on our level of productivity – spending time doing purposeless activities is rare. In fact, for many of us it sounds like an anxiety attack waiting to happen.” (Brene Brown, Gifts of Imperfection).
When is the last time you did something just for the sake of doing it?
Do you remember how it feels to spend an hour (or two or three) puttering away at something and leaving with the kind of peace and stillness that reassures you life is amazing?
We often hear advice from the self help industry to ‘just push through, you can handle it. One more hour of work. One more hour at the gym. Just do what you need to do to get through.’
The truth is, we can’t handle it. We are a nation of exhausted and overstressed adults raising overscheduled children. We use our spare time to desperately search for joy and meaning in our lives.BRENE BROWN
Ironically, joy and meaning come in those little moments.
- They come from being present and noticing your kid making a silly face.
- They come from immersing yourself fully in the picture you’re painting.
- They come from cultivating space in your day for creativity, for play, and for rest.
Dr. Stuart Brown – a psychiatrist, clinical researcher, and founder of the National Institute for Play – “argues that play is not an option. In fact he writes “the opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression… In the long run, work does not work without play.” (Brene Brown, Gifts of Imperfection)
We need to get on board with the fact that our bodies require rest.
We need time to recuperate so that we can find fulfillment and enjoyment in every day life.
STEP ONE: SCHEDULE SELF CARE INTO YOUR CALENDAR
We’re all busy.
If you don’t block out time in your calendar for yourself, you will never have time for self care.
Think through your typical week, and decide what makes the most sense.
I incorporate self care into my morning routine. I purposefully wake up 90 minutes before I need to so that I can fuel my body, mind, and soul with positivity.
I also make time for self care every Thursday night from 5pm-9pm. This is something that took some coordinating with my husband, but we’ve worked out a deal where he will take the kids every Thursday night so that I can have time to just be.
STEP TWO: PLAN YOUR NEXT SELF CARE NIGHT IN DETAIL
If you don’t know exactly what you’re going to do in the time you’ve carved out for yourself, you won’t do it.
It’s much easier for me to give up my Thursday night, if I never really had a plan to begin with. However, if I know I’m going to Indigo and browsing all of the new books while I drink a mug of steaming London fog, I most certainly will go and do it.
You don’t have to leave the house to take care of yourself. There are plenty of ideas inside and out, and the key is to try a variety of things.
- bubble baths,
- walks in the park,
- dessert after lunch,
- a puzzle by the fireplace,
- a book with a tea in hand,
- an overdue chat with a friend over the phone,
- a dance class,
- a painting workshop,
- a photography challenge.
Once you’ve figured out what set of activities bring you the most happiness and joy, you can rotate them. However, when you’re just learning to take time for yourself, make sure you try new things and know your plan ahead of time.
If calendars and planning sound overwhelming, but you have no idea when you’d fit self care into your crazy busy week, give yourself the opportunity to learn 25 effective time management strategies so that you can get control of the clock and spend your time doing what you want to be doing.
Also, my Pinterest page has all of the best self care ideas to get you started in creating your own self care routine! Check it out!
Step Three: Rinse, Repeat, Reflect
Build self care into a habit that happens repeatedly, whether it’s daily, or weekly.
Don’t give up, especially when you get busier.
As you go along, take time to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t so that you can build the right routine for you. Don’t give up on self care just because that yoga class kind of sucked. Keep experimenting until you feel on top of the world.
When I first started, I tried to stay home and do yoga downstairs or work on a side project while my husband entertained the kiddos upstairs. It didn’t work for us. I was always listening to what they were doing and couldn’t relax if they were crying.
From that I learned that I absolutely need to leave the house in order to make the most of my time for myself.
Now, my favorite self care nights include getting a massage, going out to dinner by myself (which I thought I would hate but I LOVE it), splurging on a fancy latte, window shopping at stores I never have time for, and journaling by the beach.
Today, forget about achieving and accomplishing and crossing things off a list.
Today, focus on all the things that bring a smile to your face and a satisfied sigh to your chest.
Tomorrow, you will feel the energy that comes from having given yourself time to just be.
Tomorrow, you can accomplish the next thing on your list with more purpose and vigor than before…
Or, you can play again.
- A Sunday Routine For An Amazingly Productive Week
- How To Do A Social Media Cleanse
- How To Be Happier With Mindfulness
What does self care look like for you? Let me know in the comments below!