I’ve been asking women one simple question lately.
“How many people do you take care of?”
I wish I could say I’ve been surprised by the responses, but as I expected, women often take on the responsibility of caring for others. And not just one or two people. They care for their parents, their partners, their children, their coworkers, their neighbors, their friends, their church members….the list goes on. They pile so much on their plates that they forget to care for themselves.
If you tell a woman to take a day off, she’ll often say she can’t. She’s got too much to do, or even worse- she doesn’t feel she deserves it. Women are working second and third shifts, often running around with an endless To-Do list. I noticed the time they carve out for themselves is often nonexistent or reserved for some time far off in the future.
Not only do you deserve to take care of yourself, but you deserve to work it into your routine. This isn’t a “once a year” thing. It isn’t a “next year thing”. It’s a normal part of being healthy. Repeat after me:
“Self care is not greedy. Self care is not selfish. Self care is necessary.”
Go on a solo trip. Whether its a weekend or just a day trip. Take time to explore something new by yourself.
Go on a walk. I know it sounds sort of lame, but just move you body. Get yourself out of your normal space. You’ll be surprised at the thoughts you’re able to have when you’re outside; there’s more room to think. The scenery is different and there are different sounds. It’s healthy for us to walk not only physically but mentally too. Plus it’s a great reason to leave the house and get some time alone.
Have a spa day at home. Light some candles, pour yourself a drink, dim the lights, and put on your favorite music. You can even do a face and/or hair mask. Pampering yourself doesn’t have to be expensive.
Unplug daily. Is your phone constantly by your side? Set a time daily that you commit to being without your phone. Remove it from your reach and you’ll find that you’ll be more present. Having our phones by us is like being at two places at once. Focus on the here and now.
Meditate & Stretch. Set a 5 minute timer and just commit to mediating or stretching for that time. Don’t let anyone of anything interrupt you. Five minutes isn’t too much to ask for. Listen to & love your body.
Dance. I’ve gotten in the habit of turning on a music station and dancing in the morning while I get ready. I usually pour myself a cup of coffee, do my makeup, and get dressed during this time. It’s amazing how much music effects my mood and decisions. It’s an easy way to enjoy your routine, feel sexy, or just goof off when you’re alone.
Find a podcast. I sit in traffic for two hours a day, so I found a podcast to listen to during this time. Instead of being miserable during my commute- I am laughing (sometimes crying) because of the podcast I listen to. Even after I’m home, I often park my car and just sit there to finish an episode. Any time when you’re alone- even if you’re in transit- can be time dedicated to yourself.
Pick an activity & Set boundaries. For some families, mom is the one to always go to. I think back and I always consulted my mom without any regard for what SHE was doing. Remind your kids to pay attention. You don’t need to be available every second of every day for everyone. Choose something you enjoy and set boundaries for your family. For example- say you love reading. When your family sees you with the book they shouldn’t interrupt.
Join a group. There are a ton of groups where people meet up. They don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Whether it’s a book club, workout group, or discussion group- this is an easy way to build something into your schedule and not feel ‘guilty’ about it. By joining a group that meets on a regular basis you’re committing to self care. You have designated time into your schedule to focus on bettering/loving yourself.
Stargaze. Not much will put your frustrations into perspective like going outside and stargazing.
Say A Positive Affirmation. Look into a mirror and say, “I love and accept myself”. This can be hard for some people, but once you get into the habit it feels amazing to love yourself.
Write a Letter. You can write a letter to your past or future self, or a letter to someone else. You can forgive yourself for something, express something that’s been bothering you, or remind yourself of what’s important. If you write to someone else, you don’t have to give it that person. Sometimes just writing your thoughts is cathartic enough.
Eat a Healthy Meal. It can be easier to eat poorly when we’re always on the go. Commit to at least one really healthy a meal and don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Create Something. It does’t have to be beautiful or even meant to last. We get wrapped up in creating a product, but it can be amazing to focus on the process of creating. Sometimes I paint a ton of flowers on one page, let them dry, and then stash them at the end of my journal. They get crumbled up and no one but me sees them. It’s nice having created something that feels like a secret.
Remember: These are meant to be worked into your routine. None of these cost much time or money, but they might take some getting used it especially if you aren’t accustomed to dedicating time to yourself. Remind yourself that you will be a better, happier, & healthier you if you care for yourself.
You are not greedy |You are not selfish | You are doing what’s necessary for you.