How often do you make self care a priority? If you are the average person, probably not very often. In this chaotic, high tech, fast paced world we live in, it’s easy to get distracted with every day life. It’s easy to forget to do even the simplest things that are good for our overall health. Why is that? Well, on some level, we might think it would seem “selfish” in the eyes of others. Or, we might on some level feel we don’t deserve to do loving, nice things for ourselves. It’s a self worth issue. Or we’re just too darn busy and forget to make it a priority.
Well, I’m here to tell you you’re not being selfish to take time out for yourself. What good would you be to anyone else if you let your health go to pot? Second, of course, you deserve to be nice and loving to yourself. Of all the people in the world, you are the most important person in your life when it comes to loving acts and self care activities.
No one has the capacity to ever love you and care for you as deeply as you can love and care for yourself. No one can cry enough tears to heal your emotional wounds. Only taking time out to cry will do that. No one can have the “ah ha” moments you get from journaling unless you journal. No one can go get a mammogram or their teeth cleaned for you. Self care requires you to show up and make self care a priority or guess what? You’ll end up procrastinating and it won’t get done.
So here are 7 tips to help you make self care a priority in your crazy, hectic, everyday life.
#1 Keep Self Care Simple
Especially at first when you’re easing back into being more mindful of taking better care of yourself. Start slow and simple. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Pick a few activities that are quick and easy to squeeze into your daily routine. Don’t overcommit. When we have put ourselves on the back burner for so long and gotten used to attending to other people’s needs before our own, it might feel uncomfortable and even selfish to do things just for ourselves. Worse yet, we’ll resist spending money on those things.
You don’t have to start with big goals like joining a gym with the intention of taking a class 3 days a week. Start with simple things like drinking more water or flossing every night,. How about doing 5 minutes of floor stretching or putting on a facial mask while reading 10 minutes of a good book as it dries? The KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) principle is a good one to apply as you get used to making self care a priority.
#2 Write Self Care On Your To Do List
Writing things down on a “to do list” is a great way to tell your brain that you’re being specific and intentional about making self care a priority. Seeing something written down in words helps you focus and have more clarity. Before you go to bed cross the ones you did off your list. If you didn’t do very much for yourself that day, do something that only takes 5-10 minutes. Even if that means just reading a few pages of an inspirational book or saying a few prayers as you drift off to sleep. Place sticky notes around as reminders. Find creative ways to remind yourself to do simple things throughout the day.
#3 Have Balance & Variety
We are three dimensional. We’re physical, mental, and spiritual. So it’s import ant to have balance and a variety when it comes to loving and caring for yourself. Having said that, it’s also important to work the most on our problem areas. So as you write down activities on your “to do list,” reflect on what area of your life is the most out of whack. For instance, if you’re struggling with anxiety, then doing more things like breath work or vagus nerve exercises would be activities you’d want to focus on. If you get sick a lot, then maybe doing more things to boost your immune system would be best. If you’ve been feeling socially isolated and lonely then taking time out to call a friend for some personal contact would be considered self care.
Think about what areas you have been neglecting or that you struggle with and make sure you do several activities every day that address those issues. Then balance them out with doing self care activities that help other areas. Think mind, body, spirit (emotions) when making out your list. For busy moms sometimes the only way to make self care a priority is if we actually schedule it on our calendar.
#4 Make Self Care Fun
Sometimes doing things that are good for us can seem like a chore. Exercise comes to mind. Some people find meditating difficult. Whatever you choose to put on your self care list make sure it’s either fun and enjoyable all by itself or you mix it up with things that are. So for instance, exercise to your favorite music. Go for a walk/jog while you listen to a motivational speaker. Give yourself a manicure/pedicure while watching an inspirational video. Schedule a mammogram with a friend and then go to lunch afterwards. If something is fun and you find ways to look forward to it, you’re much more likely to find the motivation and time to do it.
#5 Get an Accountability Partner
This tip is for those activities where you need a little more encouragement. Find someone who will be your accountability partner. They’d be someone to check in with you to see if you’ve been keeping up with your commitment at making self care a priority. Or better yet see if they’d commit along with you. Maybe you could find someone who could be your workout buddy or take an online course with you. Some things are just more fun when we do it with someone else. At my house, we make a point of walking our dogs every day. For me, just looking at my puppies’ faces reminds me that I need to get them out for their walk. So even a dog can be an accountability partner.
#6 Work Towards a Goal
Now, of course, not every self care activity will have a goal or end results attached to it. But working towards a goal is a great way to add an extra layer of motivation. Just like writing them down, goals help us with focus, clarity, and accountability. For instance, you could have the goal of walking 10,000 steps each day or reading 10 pages of a good book, or meditating for a minimum of 5 minutes. Give yourself a specific goal to reach each day and see if that doesn’t help motivate you to squeeze that activity into your busy schedule.
#7 Vow to Never Give Up
Just because you got to the end of a day or even a week and you realize you completely neglected yourself AGAIN, just chalk it up to getting too distracted and vow to try harder tomorrow. Every day is a new day to be better at taking good care of yourself. No one but you can exercise your body, feed your mind and nourish your soul. We each wake up every morning with that responsibility. We are our own keepers. Till the day you die making self care a priority in your life will be your job and yours alone. Vow to never give up on yourself and start each day with a clean slate.