I just returned from a week on the beach, which is one of my favorite things to do. Self-care is a wonderful thing. Yet, if you are like me, you do it less than you know you should.
I don’t do self-care well at home. That might be because my office is at home, and it is too easy to walk into the office and play catch up for an hour (which quickly becomes three). My house always needs something, even if it is a solid vacuum. My laundry needs doing, the windows could always use a wash, and the kitchen requires me to cook even if I don’t feel like it.
My problem? I can’t staycation at all. Because, to me, self-care is not about putzing around the house instead of working in my office. I know that for many of you, that is exactly what self-care is. My father-in-law’s favorite thing to do was wash and wax the car, which I do not find relaxing. Many of you could garden all day, every day, and my friend Colleen defines self-care as a long 10k run.
I like to garden, a 5k run is a good use of my time, my ironing board is my best friend, and I can relax at home for a few hours. But none of those things are how I define self-care.
What does self-care look like to you? Knowing how you define it is essential to ensure you have it.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”i2f50″ via=”yes” ]What does self-care look like to you? Knowing how you define it is essential to ensure you have it.[/ctt]
Self-care allows you to have time for yourself and do the things that make you feel good. The best part about self-care is that it can be anything you want it to be! Don’t be held to anyone else’s definition of self-care.
If you’re stressed from a hard day at work, taking a bubble bath or calling a friend may help calm you. You may define self-care as exercise, cooking, sleeping, or snuggling up with your favorite Hallmark movie. It can be taking care of you physically (exercise, sleep, eating) and your mental and spiritual health.
Self-care is a vital part of life.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”1mekw” via=”yes” ]Self-care is a vital part of life.[/ctt]
To take care of others, you must take care of yourself first! And I know that for many of you, your name isn’t even on your to-do list, never mind putting it at the top of the list. And I know there are times when we cannot put ourselves first. When my children were infants, self-care wasn’t a word I had time to say, never mind think about. When my mom was dying, my needs took a big step back so I could be with her in her time of need. When I’m in Nana mode, the grandkids get all of me. Even at work, during my crazy busy times, my self-care takes a back seat to the deadlines at hand.
While I wouldn’t change any of those things, I recognize that we can’t always get self-care when or how we need it. A good book and a beach aren’t an option 99.9 percent of the time.
Between those bigger times of self-care, we have to mentally give ourselves moments and identify them as self-care.
I read four fiction books on the beach last week. My definition of how good the vacation was is calculated by how many books I read. Four was fabulous (I packed five books, so almost perfect!).
While reading last week, I remembered how much I love reading easy fiction, so I promised myself that I wouldn’t wait until my next beach vacation to read again. I plan to incorporate a little self-care into my life moving forward. We’ve decided to go to bed a little earlier, and instead of watching the television until we are ready to sleep, we will read instead.
What can you do to incorporate a little self-care into your daily routine?
- Sit down and write down all the things that define self-care for you.
- Commit to finding time to do some element of those things regularly.
- Acknowledge when you are doing something that does qualify as self-care, so your brain knows you took care of yourself today.
It is currently 6:36 am. I didn’t sleep well last night, got up earlier than usual, and headed into the office to work almost two hours ago. I made a big pot of tea, scrolled through all my social media, got a few things ready for my day, and then started to write this article.
I could look at that and not see any self-care, but I’ve changed my perspective. I’ve already done two things that qualify as self-care. It may not be the morning I thought I would have, but I ensured that I took care of myself today, and it isn’t even 7:00 am.
- My morning tea is 100% self-care for me. I have a love affair with David’s Tea and splurge to buy only this brand of tea. This morning I dipped into my tea advent calendar early and gave myself a special treat. I spend a little extra money on my tea because I define it as self-care (it is something I truly love and enjoy).
- The quiet early mornings are self-care. I love the quiet, and right now, I only hear my fingers on the keyboard. While I cannot see the sun rising from my office, I can see the sky brightening up, making me smile. I like to get up at least an hour before Warren to ensure I have this time daily. Today was a bonus as I’ve already been up a few hours.
Self-care needs to happen, and we need to see it, acknowledge it, and plan for it. You don’t have to spend hours meditating or eating an organic diet, and you don’t have to take expensive vacations or go on retreats to care for yourself. Self-care is something you can incorporate into your daily life. So give yourself a break—and make sure that one form of self-care is making time for yourself each day!
A week on the beach has reset me to move forward with a smile. My daily focus on self-care might mean that I can keep myself healthy and happy at home and not require a beach and a book to feel relaxed again.
Are you practicing self-care today?