I need some advice on how to do self care. I have never been good at it. I feel like I need to do everything myself, so that it is done properly, and this leaves hardly have any time for me. I don’t see where I would fit it in after I finish everything on my TO-DO list! Sometimes I tell myself, “Okay, just once you’re finished those tasks, you can relax.” It just never happens, and I find something else that must be done. I guess I just don’t see how I can have self care for myself, and look after others, too. If I am taking care of me, then I am not taking care of others! My house would fall apart! Plus, I cannot afford to have massages, fancy spa days, or lunches with friends all the time. Can you help me get started with some beginner ideas for self care?
Oh, I am so happy to be answering this question! You have brought up a great topic that many people struggle with. In fact, I don’t know many people who make time for their self-care consistently and effectively – myself included!
Self-care is a thing we know we need, and yet, we can’t always make it happen. It’s okay. Here is what we know about it: The act of taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally, leads to a satisfying healthy life. Research shows that people who actively make time to care for themselves live longer, develop resilience, and manage stress more effectively. Plus, when you make time to care for yourself consciously and purposefully, you will naturally start to care for others in a more effective way because you get to make that choice with a charged battery, rather than from a drained one AND feel obligated! We have a natural built-in defense system, and when you take care of yourself, that defense system relaxes as it perceives that you are safe and cared for. Instead of making choices and decisions out of stress, pressure, or panic, you will want to connect with others. You will make choices, easily, from a grounded place within yourself.
Making time for you yourself small steps combined with patience and commitment, and it is worth it! Cultivate the practice of self-care and you will see that the ripple effects of taking care of yourself are far reaching. You will give to others from a place of abundance and warmth, rather than out of guilt or obligation.
Here are five strategies to help you get started:
1. Self care is about self love. Make a list of activities that leave you feeling uplifted, rejuvenated, and vibrant. A 5-minute activity can be just as nurturing as a 30 minute one. The quantity does not matter… it is the quality that counts!
2. Minimize the time suckers. These are activities that you may enjoy or not. Regardless, these activities suck time from your 24-hour clock. To stop, schedule specific times to check emails or surf through social media. Block time for bills, grocery shopping, or chores, so that you can be present in the moment rather than thinking about what you must do next.
3. Take responsibility for your time. You don’t have to start saying “no” to everyone, but perhaps try saying, “I will get back to you.” rather than “Yes.” There is no shortage of thing to be done. The TO-DO list is never going to be done! Weekly or even daily, you can identify the tasks to get done and then highlight one per day that must get done – no exceptions.
4. Learn to delegate. Take responsibility for your choices. You don’t have to do everything. What exactly is on your plate? Which things could you delegate out? Hand over the tasks that someone else could do, which will leave more time for you to manage the tasks that only you can do OR you want to do.
5. Talk nicely to yourself. Notice how when you have a lot going on and you have not taken care of yourself, your inner critic talks? It doesn’t say very nice things. And this does not help you feel better about how life is going! Daily affirmations and positive self talk will help you feel and think differently about yourself.
Believe that you are worthy of time, attention, and love from yourself and does not have to be time consuming or expensive. Don’t give up on making changes to take care of yourself. It takes practice, and you are worth it.