Do you have a set self care routine? Do you even really know what self care means? I am guessing the answer to both of these questions is a resounding NO since you are here!
If you are anything like me, you probably get to the end of a week (month/year) and think what in the world did I accomplish anyway? Is it just me, or do some weeks seem to rush by in a sort of blur of frenzied activities and deadlines?
As I go through life – and realize I am not 25 anymore! – I am finding that I need to purposefully slow down a bit. So, lately I have been doing a lot of reading and learning on self care. I basically had to start at the beginning and figure out what it even meant. Because I had this picture in my head of socialites in reality shows spending the entire day at the spa.
But what I found, thanks to Pinterest, is that there is an entire world out there of every day women making the time to fill their own cup each day. This ensures that they can keep going through all the madness that is life, work, family, etc.
And true to form, I am sharing what I learn on my own little corner of the interwebs here on Discover Your Best Life. Because that is what we are trying to do, isn’t it momma? Figure out exactly what we are doing here, and how we can make it our best life – because we only get one. Let’s make the most of it, shall we?
So, anyway, back to self care and how I am using it to slow down a bit and dream of creating my best version of this one life I get.
Why you should start a self care routine?
So why should you start a self care routine? There are so many benefits to having a self care routine. You can read 6 of them here. For me, I am finding that creating a routine and incorporating much needed self care into that routine is the best way to ensure it actually gets done.
You know, as opposed to those well-intentioned New Year’s Resolutions that never seem to happen. Starting a self care routine ensures that it will get done. Just like with my FlyLady routines that help me clean my house 15 minutes at a time, I am also using this technique to build in self care into my every day routine.
When it comes to answering the question, why routines? The answer for me is that it is the only way I have found that I can do anything consistently. I am just not great at consistency. I tend to jump in 1,000% and then burn out quickly. So routines help me to stay the course for the long run. If you are new to the entire concept of routines, you can read more about it in my post here.
How do you start a self care routine?
Now that you know the why and what about self care routines, let’s dive into HOW to create your self care routine.
Whenever I want to start anything new, I always seem to default back to the good old fashioned brain dump. So, whatever this looks like for you: if you are a pen and paper girl like me, or you would rather use the notes app on your phone. It really doesn’t matter, just start making a list of all the things that fill YOU up.
Now, this list is personal to you. We are all so different. As an extreme introvert, recharging for me truly means I need to be all by myself for a bit. Maybe you are an extrovert and being around people recharges you, great! Call up a girlfriend you haven’t seen in a while and schedule a coffee date.
If you want to see a list I made, you can see 27 ideas I came up with that recharge my batteries so that I can keep going like the Energizer bunny. But I can’t stress enough how important it is to not just copy my list, it might not actually fill you up! It is more to get your creativity flowing in making your own list.
Types of self care
There are so many different types of self care. Some will apply to you and others won’t as much. Some areas you might already be kicking butt in. Others you will immediately recognize as the areas in which you will need to focus.
From your mental health to your physical health, self care has many forms. Self care also includes your emotional health and your spiritual health. It is all important when considering your well-being.
You might find that you want to find balance in all the areas of your life. If that is the case you might want to check out making a #bujo similar to this one I found on Pinterest. For me, when I look at the entire self care wheel, I get a little overwhelmed!
So I had to break it down into smaller chunks and fewer categories. I find that it is best if I can focus on taking care of my emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being during my weekly “self care Sunday” routine. Then I sprinkle in some physical wellness throughout the week then this is usually sufficient enough to keep me running at full speed.
How can I focus on self care (self care day)?
The best way to focus on self care, in my opinion, is to set aside a day (or half-day, or even an hour) and schedule self care. Just like with getting your teeth cleaned, if you don’t schedule it, then it won’t get done. It’s just one of those things, those general “laws of life” so stop fighting it and schedule it!
If you wait for the time to be right, it never will be. And one day you will find yourself sick in bed…and usually at exactly the wrong time! So stop waiting for the right time and find a “good enough” time to focus on a self care day.
For me, this usually happens on a Sunday simply because it is generally a quiet day in our weekly routine anyway. This always gives me time to think through the coming week and figure out our meals for the next week. I do this based on what we already have and what our coming schedule looks like. You can read my entire process here.
What are self care strategies (habits)?
The best strategy when it comes to incorporating self care into my day is through creating habits. Habits are those things we don’t have to think about, we just do them. Like brushing our teeth and turning off the coffee pot before leaving the house in the morning, those things you later wonder if you even did them. This is because we didn’t think about it while we were doing them and so we can’t even remember doing it.
You can check out my list of 27 small habits you can start to add to your weekly routine. The best part about the ideas on my list is that they won’t break the bank.
I made a quick self care worksheet based on my list of 27 small self care habits. Check it out here and print it out, it’s free! You can print as many copies as you would like, I like to have one each week. Some week’s just get out of hand and I have to give myself grace and move on to the next one. There is always another day, just don’t let too many days add up without taking some time to recharge.
How to do I take care of myself as a mother?
As a mom it can be so hard to make time to for myself. Do you sometimes feel the same way? Everybody wants something from you all the time. How do you take the time to focus on yourself? The only answer that I have found is that you have to make the time. You will not magically find the time, and you will never have the perfect time to do it. So, just schedule it in and make it a priority.
Self care at work
When it comes to self care, being a weekend warrior just doesn’t cut it anymore. Self care in the workplace is the new black – or at least it should be! You can find some practical ways to practice self care at work here.
You don’t have to sacrifice your entire lunch break for a trip to the yoga studio. But, some deep breathing at your desk can get you through even the worst office politics.
Get outside on those nice weather days! A quick afternoon walk can really get your heart beating and fill your lungs with fresh air. Which can be invaluable if you work in a building full of recycled air.
You know when you are flying and they say in case of an emergency put your mask on first? The same is true in life momma! If you continually seem to find yourself trying to come up for air. Then your schedule might be too full. And you could really benefit from making more space in your calendar.
Trust me, I understand what a tall order that is! But if you can do it, I think you will find that you are not as overwhelmed as usual. So find some little pockets of time to schedule in some self care.
So, whether you are squeezing your self care routine between board meetings or nap time, it is still so important that you make it a priority. Schedule it and it will get done.
Make self care a daily habit that you don’t even need to think about anymore.
But until then, use your self care worksheet and track your progress. Remember when you were a kid learning your spelling words? The same principle applies here, practice is key!
You might not be able to build your self care routine overnight. But slow and steady practice over a few weeks and you will really start to see some amazing changes.