Self care is a form of self love – knowing what you need and making those needs an intentional priority in your life.
Sometimes though life gets in the way, or rather we choose to push self care down the priority list.
Often it is not even a conscious choice.
Before we know it we realise we have not exercised in ages, even though we love yoga or running.
We start grabbing convenient food that does not give us the energy we need.
We think cutting out sleep to get things done is what we should do and our friends start to wonder what we look like these days.
While it is possible to pause and regroup and get back on track when self care has fallen by the wayside, that is like waiting until your car sputters over to the side of the highway on empty.
Sure you can have a friend drive over with some gas to get you to the station, but really it is better for everyone if you keep an eye on that tank and top it up regularly.
Prevention is better than cure and self care burnout is completely preventable.
Take a few minutes at the end of each day just to review how you are feeling -do you have energy, are you cranky, resenting other people…
It took a long time for me to recognise that when I was over-reacting to things people in my life were doing it was a sign that I had not been getting enough time on my own.
As an introvert part of my self-care is regular recharge time by myself – does not have to be long or very involved, just has to be regular and alone.
Look at what is going on in your life.
What things are in your calendar, but got cancelled (is this a repeat offender – notice if you have cancelled the gym 4 times or changed plans with friends).
Do you have any breathing room in your life or are you running from one thing to another? Some people thrive on being busy so the key there is whether it feels good and positive or like a drain leaving you empty.
What food have you been eating?
When I start running low I cut corners with food which just makes everything worse.
It is of course easier to grab some toast or pasta, but I can also buy pre-washed salad and add a few things to that in minutes.
Balance is the key – between nourishing myself with food and nourishing myself by taking it easy.
Think about what you need and plan ahead. Try to grab blocks of time and stock up on what will fuel you.
If someone gave you 24 hours “off” what is one thing that pops immediately into your mind that you need?
Are you dreaming of reading books for a whole day? painting in your art journal? hitting the shops to update your wardrobe? Hanging out with friends or family?
Find a way to bring that 24 hour fantasy into your current life. You may not get a whole day to lay in bed with a stack of books, but make sure you pick one good book and let yourself enjoy it guilt free before bed or another time that suits you.
These are all clues for you.
Pop a reminder in your phone or calendar to check in daily if self care is a huge issue for you and weekly if you know you just need to keep an eye on your priority list (and make sure you are at the top of it!)