Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, self-care is not only meditating, yoga, and spas. Self-care is exactly what the phrase says; it is literally just taking care of oneself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (if that is what you’re into). The way one goes about practicing self-care can vary from person to person. With the definition being so simple and the execution so broad, it amazes me how often we don’t utilize it. I feel that all too often people take the time to take care of everyone aside from themselves. To set time aside for yourself can be easier said than done depending on what you have going on in life, but it is completely necessary. It is impossible to continue pouring from a cup that isn’t getting refilled, at some point the cup will be empty. My idea of self-care may not align with your idea of self-care, and it can sometimes be trial and error, but for the sake of longevity and living a fulfilling life we have to start somewhere. Consistency is key to building a habit too!
For me, self-care involves relaxing my mind. I’m always on go, if not physically, for sure mentally. My (possibly cliché, but very beneficial) self-care involves yoga, meditation, journaling, netflixing without texting, going to the gym, frequenting the farmers market, and spending intentional time with myself. That does not mean that I am always consistent, that’s something I’m working on. I am the person that gives all that I have to make sure everyone around me is comfortable and happy so this serves as a reminder to me too. When I take my routine seriously I make sure to let my partner know that at this time I am doing yoga, or at this time I’m going to the farmers market; I do that so that I hold myself accountable and so that there is no confusion, interruption or anything throwing me off-course for doing what I need to do for me. I read somewhere (probably in a psych journal) that self-care is something that you actively plan rather than fall into, sure there are times where you just decide on the spot, but it is an active choice that you make ahead of time, especially when creating the habit of incorporating it consistently.
This summer I incorporated a new journaling routine and it quickly became a habit. I went to the store and purchased a new journal and writing supplies (I love a good fine tip colored marker-pen). I then decided what time I was going to journal every day, I set an alarm and when the alarm went off no matter what I was doing it is time to journal. When I sit down to journal I make sure there are no distractions around (turn off the tv and only play music if it doesn’t have sing-able lyrics) and I set a timer for 15 minutes. I sit and journal for 15 uninterrupted minutes about whatever comes to mind. It really helped me release the good and the bad.
I propose that you take the time to discover what you need to better take care of yourself, after all the better you are for you the better you are for others. Set aside maybe 20 minutes and make a list of things that you want to incorporate into a self-care routine, followed by how and when you will execute said list. When you create your list make sure it includes things that YOU see as being self-care not what social media or the interweb tells you. Decide when you are going to execute each thing on your list and stick to it. Trial and error your list consistently for 21 days if you’re feeling up to it, otherwise try starting with 7-days and go from there. Eventually the routine that you’re working will become habit.
Self-care is not one size fits all.
Oh! A gentle reminder for my extremely altruistic and “putting everyone before myself” people (new and seasoned parents included), self-care is not selfish act; it is essential for a balanced life. We all want balance, right?