Are you like me?
Life is busy, and my list could go on and on of all the ways that I pour out into others. Most days I don’t even give much thought to how what I am doing for others impacts me because I enjoy what I do and it is fulfilling. That is until I find myself running on fumes. Immediately, I start to notice that my conversation and tone are short, and my patience is thin. All of this happens when I fail to take care of me in the process of taking of everyone else. I needed to make taking care of me a priority.
Unfortunately, it took me much longer than I care to admit before I truly understood the importance of self-care. For some reason, I saw self-care as being selfish. I especially thought this way true when my hubby was away from home on deployment or other military assignments. I push me to the side to make sure I am taking care of everyone and everything else.
The truth of the matter, self-care is absolutely important for our overall well-being.
Being intentional in taking care of my mind, body, and spirit allows me to have overflow in other areas that matter.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is self-care?
Basically, self-care is the intentional practice of slowing down to take care of all aspects of who you are so that you can be the best version of you. Self-care includes taking care of your body, your mind, your gifts, your heart, and your spirit.
But how do you create a self-care routine that will work for you?
Because what works for me, my personality, and my interests may not work for you. So taking time to brainstorm and create a self-care routine that is unique to you is worth the time.
Creating a self-care routine doesn’t have to be complicated or feel like one more thing on your long to-do list. Instead, you get to decide how often, how long, and how much self-care is needed depending on your season in life.
Step 1: Remove the excuses
Any time that I wanted to spend time doing something I love or simply having time to spend by myself, I found that I somehow felt guilty. My life revolved around taking care of my boys and my job. It became easy to make excuses why I didn’t have time to scrapbook, crochet, write or any of the other things that I enjoyed or helped me to relax. After all, who has time to do all of that when you have kids that need to go to basketball practice, finish homework, get potty trained and still make it to bed on time? By the time all of that was done, I was exhausted. Busyness and the needs of others became my excuse for ignoring me.
If you are like me, it’s time to let those excuses go. If we can make time to ensure everyone else can participate and get things done, then we can do the same for ourselves. All of those things will be there, but we get to decide how and what we do with our time.
Instead of making excuses, start making decisions.
Decide to start. Do something small-but start. Creating a self-care routine is part of helping to prevent one burnt out woman.
Step 2: Brainstorm what matters to you
Some of the areas to include in your self-care routine are:
- Taking a bubble bath
- Carving 5 minutes of deep breathing
- Create intentional time with Christ without distraction
- Spend time with people who you can be your most authentic self
- Write a letter
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Things you love
- Work on your hobby
- Go somewhere you enjoy
- What you eat
- Remove foods that make you feel yucky
- Eat foods that promote a healthy version of you
- Your body
- Go for a walk
- Go dancing
This list is just a start of things to help you start brainstorming what your self-care list. There isn’t a magic list of what makes a good self-care routine. You do what works for you and your current season in life. The self-care routine you have with a new baby and toddler at home will look different that the self-care routine you have when they all are in school. The routine you have preparing for your wedding will not look the same as being a care taker of your grandparent. Nothing is stopping you from changing your self-care routine. The important thing is to have one.
Step 3: Carve out time and protect it
Now that you have identified some activities that you can do for your self-care routine, it’s time to commit to it. Take out your calendar and schedule time to make this a reality. The gentle reminder that pops up on your phone will help you to keep on track with actually taking the time to take care of you. Remember self-care does not have to be complicated. Only you know the schedule of your household. What is going to work for you to make your self-care routine happen?
Once you have the carved out when you will implement your self-care routine, protect that time. If self-care is going to the gym, don’t schedule your dentist appointment during that time. If a part of your self-care routine is the quiet time in the morning so you can have devotion, prayer time and read, then you cannot stay up late on a Netflix binge. Protect the time. It can be easy to let that time go because we feel the need to continue to take care of others. But remember, taking care of you helps you to be able to take care of others.