One of the things I hear people say the most is “I don’t have time for myself or fitness in my life”. It made me think…why is it that we can find the time “show up” for our jobs, families, friends, kids…but we can’t find an extra hour to care for, and “show up” for ourselves? Self-care is not “Selfish” at all… a regular self-care practice not only benefits you…but everyone in your life. Creating a self-care plan that includes physical, mental, and spiritual practices will keep you feeling energized and give you the fuel you need to focus on and achieve your goals.
What is Self -Care?
Self- care is taking the time needed to tend to your needs by doing something that is entirely for you. Many people (especially women) tend to feel guilt or shame about taking the time to nurture ourselves…it is viewed as selfish, vain or self -centered to do so. However, if you are feeling unbalanced, out of focus and run down, incorporating a self-care practice into your life can help to change all of that.
The benefits of self-care are numerous. Improving your mood, reducing stress levels, creating a better work -life balance, improving your physical health, relationships and quality of life, are just a a few of the wonderful changes you will bring into your life with a consistent self-care routine.
Where do I start to create a Self- care plan?
Examine each area of your life, physical, mental, spiritual to see which parts need your attention the most so you can focus there first. Once you have that figured out, think about what is that you like to do that is only for you… what will bring joy and comfort to that area of your life?
Commit to showing up for yourself for 1 hr a day to do whatever it is that makes you happy. You may need to do this by scheduling the time in your calendar, waking up a little earlier or leaving the office a few minutes earlier. I know…I know…you’re like did she just say get up earlier? Leave the office earlier? Yes, I did. It’s OK to set boundaries around how many hours you are giving to your work to allow time in the day for you… in fact it is imperative that you do. Your boss will appreciate the more rejuvenated you, and the time that you are in the office will be more productive and enjoyable for everyone. If you feel like you just can’t find a whole hour…start somewhere even if it’s just 15 min. Once you start feeling the benefits you are sure to want more, and that hour will become more readily available.
Here are a few ideas for ways to show yourself care:
Physically- Put more movement into your life and make it fun. Some of us enjoy the gym…others not so much, so find a dance or yoga class you love, walk in the park with your girls, ride your bike to work. Whatever it is, find some kind of movement that you truly enjoy and add it to your day so that it becomes a habit.
Spiritually-Meditate, pray, find people and things to surround yourself with that inspire you. Create something, take a bubble bath, get your nails done, treat yourself to a facial or do one at home. These kinds of things help to nourish our souls.
Mentally- Find new hobbies that challenge your mind, read more books and discover new authors, take that painting, sewing, or photography class that you have always wanted to take.
Journal your progress each week or month so you are aware of the things you have found that bring you joy, and how that joy makes a difference in your life. It’s always nice to have a reminder of what we can do for ourselves to make us feel great, in case we slip back into old patterns or are simply having a bad day. It’s also wonderful to be able to look at the progress you have made and celebrate it!
Whatever you choose to do to show up for yourself, make it a priority, and show yourself daily the love and respect that you so freely give to others. Having a self-care routine is sure to enrich your life and the lives of those around you.