This is the third part in a 6 part series on self care – taking baby steps to get clear on what you need, what is standing in your way and how to make self care a priority in your life.
Many people (mostly woman if we are honest) put themselves last on their to do list (real or virtual).
We are sure we will always get to what we enjoy and want in our lives, but when push comes to shove it is often the things that will nourish us that get cut from the schedule.
Some of the excuses or battles we have with ourselves are
“I can’t afford to spend the money on myself right now, I need to do x first.”
“I cannot take all that time for me, I have more important things to tackle first.”
“It is selfish to think about my own needs. Other people need me.”
“I’m too tired to do anything. I really just need to rest.” (when said all the time)
The truth is that until it becomes a habit where you rarely fight these excuses you need to plan for self care just as you would for any other high priority parts of your life – paying bills (must do), getting in groceries (must do), washing your clothes (must do).
Add in slots for whatever you know will replenish you.
When I am constantly “too tired” to go to that yoga class I love or take my dogs for walks it actually means I need it more than anything else – burnout is on the horizon!
If you are someone who takes care of others, that is great, but know that in order to keep that tank full and running well to care for them you need to care for you first.
The time factor has to be one of the easiest to bust as self care does not have to be done in huge chunks of time.
When I take 15 minutes to doodle or watercolour the whole rest of my day goes easier.
Adding in the short walks with my dogs throughout my day and week is great – it does not have to be daily runs to be effective – the intention is to move my body, get fresh air and be out of the house!
Decide what your minimum level of self care looks like – what do you need to feel fulfilled, healthy, recharged?
For some it will involve alone time and others need to get out and about.
Some need time to read every day (me) and others cannot function without exercise so make that time sacred (or make that time 5am if needed).
Start blocking out those minimums for now and build from there.
What can you commit to and make sacred? Instead of saying you will hit up that gym class three times a week and feeling bad every time you miss it you can schedule in one sacred class time on Tuesday and use that as an anchor in your week for now.
What times will suit you or help you most? Trying to block out a painting session just before you have to pick up your kids at school might make you stress more than it helps. Maybe spend 30 minutes after you drop them off so there is no time pressure.
Just know that every bit helps when it is something that you want and need rather than trying to fit in “shoulds”. If you hate running and that s holding you back, what class or activity would have you excited to go get physical?
Think about what works for you and start locking in sacred time – alone or with others – just do what will fill you up and lift you up.
What is one sacred self care activity that is on your life calendar right now?