The Value of Self-Care
It seems like every day I hear about self-care. It has become a trend. We read how others practice self-care, we hear what we should do to practice self-care, and we hear why we should practice self-care. But rarely do we hear how to fit this practice into an already over-packed schedule.
Self-care can be defined as the things we do to care for ourselves. As a parent or caregiver, or even as an adult, it can be hard to find the time to practice self-care. The demands placed on us are real, the stress of just breathing is often enough to make us want to hide. While these are all the reasons why we don’t have time for self-care, they are all the reasons why we need to practice self-care.
Working Self-Care into Our Days
Create a Regular Sleep Schedule
Not only will you feel better if you have a regular bedtime and wake-up time, but you will also have more days, and the extra time you gain can be spent on you.
Organize your life, every aspect of it. Create a place for every item, get rid of the clutter. Build the habit of putting things away immediately to keep from wasting time on a massive cleanup. Teach your partner and children to pick up after themselves as well. Not only will you feel better and know where everything is, but you will also gain hours every week.
Create a focused To-Do List
We all have a massive to-do list. Prioritize this list by the due date. Plan a reasonable number of activities per day. When you know what you need to accomplish in a day, when you are focused, you waste less time.
Group Like Items Together
The time it takes to switch our brains from one activity to another can really add up. Rather than trying to flip from activity to activity, group activities together. Not only will you save time, but you will also feel less frazzled.
Create habits and routines
Routines are so empowering. Having a set ritual, custom-designed for you, helps you care for yourself and helps you get routines and tasks done. Create morning, mid-day, and evening routines. Build habits for yourself. When something is a habit, you can go into autopilot and relax.
Build self-care into small activities throughout the day
When you take your dog out, unplug, stretch, smell the air, and just be. When I take breaks to pet my puppy, I practice deep breathing, and if I am really stressed, tell her what I am stressed about. The rhythm of petting her belly soothes me, sharing my stress helps, and the deep breathing centers me. In no time flat, she and I are both feeling better.
Learn what you can and can’t do in a day, and say no. It’s ok to say no to your partner, significant others, and family. We cannot be everything to everyone all the time. Setting boundaries will free up time, brain space, and make you happy.
Turn car rides into pleasure rides
Create a playlist to jam out to, listen to a book, call a friend. We are going to be in the car without the ability to do anything else, you may as well make it a pleasurable place.
Buy a large water bottle
Keeping a large water bottle on your desk will remind you to stay hydrated, and keep you from running to the vending machines or slowing down because of dehydration.
When you know what you are going to cook, you stop spending time looking for something to cook.
Procrastination is such a waste of time. When faced with a task you don’t want to complete, break it into smaller tasks. Reward yourself after completing each part, and push through. If you stopped procrastinating, you would gain hours a week.
Implementing these practices can feel like you are creating a rigid life, one where you are tied to a schedule and never get to do anything fun. Living by a schedule, with healthy habits and routines actually gives you more time and opportunity to be spontaneous, practice art, be creative, and just live. Life can be hard, but if we do what we can to make it easier and care for ourselves, our outlook is positive and things become easier.