In step five I talked about how important it is to prevent burnout rather than start taking care of yourself when you reach rock bottom.
Life can get in the way, but really it is vital to make conscious choices that honour your needs.
In some cases this can mean staying on top of your schedule and activities that are coming up in the month ahead.
Just as there are seasons in nature, there are seasons in our lives and routines. If a busy or stressful season is on the horizon it may take a greater effort to block out time for yourself, however you have defined your self- care needs.
Whenever I have overseas visitors I make sure I lock in time for my own activities or just getting out on my own regularly as I am an introvert and know that having someone around 24/7 is draining for me.
Build in accountability.
If you are notorious for backsliding on commitments to yourself, bring someone else on board to be a buddy. Plan in a weekly walking date with a friend who will push you to stick to the plan. Sign up for that class you want to attend and get a friend or co-worker to join you so you know someone will be saving you a seat or sharing the driving. Join a Facebook group or work with a coach.
After many months of pushing exercise off my to-do list I decided to pay to join an online running group. While I need little of the instruction side, I desperately needed to have a place to report in. I know that for 12 weeks I will have other women in a small group to connect with. I will want to have runs logged to check in with each week. By 12 weeks I will have my own routine locked in again.
If you have a tendency toward all or nothing thinking try not to set the bar too high. If you tell yourself that self-care for you includes daily runs (or 1 hour blocks of alone time or weekly 3 hour hikes in nature…) and suddenly you have a crazy work deadline or a child who stops napping, what will be your new plan?
Think about minimums rather than maximum ideal goals. Have a Plan B so that you don’t go from one month of great self-care to another month where you barely get any fresh air.