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Wednesday, February 1, 2017
If I asked you to take a look at your to-do list, how many of you would have self-care, or "take time for me" on that list? If you do, congratulations! Most often, I find there are three scenarios that exist around scheduling time for self-care:
- We don't schedule time for self-care
- We schedule self-care and stick to the schedule
- We schedule self-care and easily replace that time with another responsibility or to-do
Many of us may fall into that third category. We have the best of intentions, yet the many demands of work, school, family, and friends often preempts our "me time". While it may sound silly, actually scheduling that time, writing it on your calendar (maybe even setting an alert on your phone), makes it more likely you will accomplish the task.
It's a little like writing a goal down on paper, or saying it aloud. This seems to add a little more accountability to the action. I like to think of it as the financial advice many of us may have received at one time or another - to make the first bill you pay your savings account. If we wait to pay our savings last, often we find there aren't any funds left. I relate this to self-care in the way that often by the time we think about self-care we are already depleted (lacking funds). By consistently scheduling time for self-care, we can avoid ending up in that depleted state.
Once that time is on the calendar, the next challenge is sticking to the schedule! This is the reason it is suggested to put yourself at the top of your to-do list. This will look different for different people. You might:
- Practice self-care first thing in the morning. This could be as simple as five minutes of breath work or meditation. You might take a few minutes to write down three things you are grateful for. As much as five more minutes of sleep always sounds like the best option in the morning, you might find the benefits of five intentional minutes of self-care even more energizing.
- Allot some time for yourself each day when you don't obligate yourself to anything. Give yourself total freedom to enjoy one of your favorite activities or states of being. Again, this doesn't have to be a huge chunk of time. You will be surprised the difference 10-15 minutes makes.
- Designate a day of rest. Designate a weekly day of non-obligation for yourself. This may not be possible for everyone, but if you were successful with the suggestion above, give it a try!
- Practice consistency. Scheduling time every day for self-care might not be feasible for you right now. If this is the case, choose one specific day and time and stick to it – Wednesdays at 7pm, or every Friday on my fifteen minute break.