From the moment you wake up, all the way to getting into bed, the day might seem too short to finish everything that’s on your to-do list.
More often than you’d like to admit, life is one messy bunch of tasks which constantly put some pressure on you.
Make meals, do the dishes and the laundry, clean up the house, buy groceries (plus other errands), take care of the kids (in endless forms & ways) and maybe a pet or two, do the job which you’re paid for…
(and, as you very well know, every one of these tasks is a whole world on its own)
To make matters worse – you’re racing against the clock, whether you’re realizing it or not.
Seems like a sprinter trying to run a (never-ending) marathon.
And in rare moments of quiet and peace you might ask yourself these questions:
Where am I in there?!
Where is me-time?!
(sometimes silence speaks louder than words)
But, as an old saying goes
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
I know it’s an old, worn-out cliché, yet somehow, it still didn’t stick with us well…
So maybe the question is not whether we’re aware that self-care is important, but how we can find the time for self-care in our always busy, filled-out schedule.
Now, for the record, I’m not an expert in self-care.
Some days are good and some are, well, just less-good (I wouldn’t call them bad, because – hey, we’re all humans, and that’s life).
But overall, applying the tips listed below helped me tremendously to feel better, have more energy, and as a convenient byproduct – be more productive in a day, and I believe you’ll benefit from them, as well.
Self-care rule #1 – you MAKE the time
This is the first and foremost.
As with anything else in life, the same goes true here.
Let’s get back to an empty cup quote or an oxygen mask – another well-known analogy.
The point of either one of those is to make yourself a priority.
And I know you’re probably well aware of it.
However, there’s that nagging feeling of guilt in the background…
“Am I being selfish this way?”
Take a moment and think about it this way.
What person would you like to be?
What kind of person would those near you like to have by their side?
From what kind of person would the people who depend upon you benefit the most?
- A hard worker who manages to do a million things in a day, but end up being either grumpy and/or unpleased with him/herself (and reflects that on others), who also most probably ends up with a burnout or health problems, OR
- A good enough worker who manages to do most of the things in a day, and feels good about him/herself, who radiates that positive energy to his/
You already know – the answer to all of the questions above is the same.
(and yes, it’s not the first one…)
Self-care is not selfish.
And please, don’t start.
I don’t want to hear any “but…” or other excuses – because there really aren’t any.
You ARE important, and therefore taking care of yourself is also important.
And if you believe you don’t have the time to practice it, the solution is easy.
You MAKE the time.
Simple as that.
I know, the question still remains – where to squeeze it in your already busy day?
For the record – self-care doesn’t have to take much time.
And here are some nifty time slots in a day when you can practice self-care (guilt-free).
Practice self-care in the morning
By far the best time for some self-care is to do it first thing in the morning.
(all right, maybe not the first, but you get what I mean)
It’s is the perfect time to do at least one nice thing for yourself, and let the rest of the day go on its
This way you’ll make sure you’ve spent some moments being kind to yourself even if you don’t manage to find any other time throughout the day for this much-needed activity.
I know you may think mornings can be quite stressful and hectic, but I strongly suggest you try to add some self-care to your morning routine.
It doesn’t have to take too much of your time, and it will make you feel way better about yourself.
Take it from me.
I was SO NOT the morning type of person.
I used to stay in bed and sleep for as long as I possibly could.
To my mind, I didn’t want to sacrifice even a minute of my precious sleep.
But then, you might expect what followed.
I barely managed to get myself ready for work before the kids wake up and all hell broke loose…
(oh, how those little humans change the way we live our lives…)
So actually, my “routine” led me to truly wake up while driving to work, without having any self-care in the morning.
Unless brushing teeth counts. 😀
(although technically, it does. but, I mean, come on! that’s it?!)
After a while, I wanted to try out a different way of starting the day.
(so I could have some time for myself and even do some work in peace)
To my surprise, it looked like a little miracle.
Of course, I still have occasional slip-ups, and times when I just turn to the other side of the bed and continue to sleep longer.
But in most cases, I wake up, have my morning coffee mixed with inspirational reads, go through my planner, and even start some work – all until the rest of the house is just beginning to get up.
Needless to say, it feels great?
I’m so much more satisfied with the entire day, even if the rest of it is not perfect.
So, believe it or not, the way you start your morning can really set the tone for the entire day.
My experience tells me it’s true.
And by all means, you don’t have to wake up hours earlier (unless you don’t want to).
Just a little bit earlier than your regular waking hours – even 10 to 15 minutes – are all that it takes.
This time which you’ll use on some self-care will generously pay you back through your overall well being.
Plus, you’ll make sure a day hasn’t passed without getting some self-care you deserve.
But maybe you’re still not convinced morning is the right time for you, or are simply not yet prepared to wake up any earlier (or this is absolutely no option to you)?
There are a lot more opportunities when you can have some self-care throughout the rest of the day.
Practice self-care in the evening
Following the logic of implementing self-care in your morning routine, the next obvious place to add this to your day is in the evening.
An evening routine can truly be a perfect spot where you can indulge in some self-care.
First of all, no matter how the day went – it passed by.
The things and tasks you were stressed about and rushed to complete came to their end.
(well, at least for that day! 🙂 )
Now it’s time when you can truly unwind and relax.
Plus, if you’re not a morning person, then you must be a night-owl, and therefore making room in your evening routine for some self-care should be of no challenge to you.
With so many soothing self-care activities you can enjoy in the evening, the only thing left is to choose which one is the best for you.
But when I think better, why limit yourself to only one when you can add a few – without wasting too much time on them.
Add some self-care throughout the day
Let’s be real.
Nobody works all the time, throughout the whole day.
There will always be at least 5 to 10 minutes long “empty slots” here and there.
(and if you’re using the Pomodoro technique, you know very well there’s a break every 25 minutes!)
Therefore, use those small pockets of time to your advantage.
A quick self-care activity will recharge and revitalize you without disturbing the natural flow of your day.
Make self-care a habit
Self-care is something you benefit from and should, therefore, be used on a daily basis.
In other words, make your self-care routine become a habit.
Personally, I wasn’t been good at mindfully creating a habit.
You know, a kind of habit which you purposefully want to create, like the ones I’m talking about right here.
What actually really helped me is using a tangible monthly habit tracker.
I know it might sound silly that just this one little thing made all the difference, but it really did.
Here’s my story.
I really struggled to make this a habit for a very long time.
Want to know what it was?
A sooo simple self-care activity called – water intake.
(I know this sounds so ridiculous, to the level that’s almost embarrassing to admit it and say it in public – I can bet you’re laughing your pants off right now)
It might seem no big deal to you, but for as long as I know myself, I never drank water throughout the day – only when it’s extreeemly hot outside, but even then those were insignificant quantities.
I just didn’t feel the need to drink water.
In the meantime, on a regular medical exam, I was told to have small amounts of sand in my kidneys.
And even after that knowledge, I still wasn’t able to make myself drink water (which would be a very useful and a smart thing to do in this case).
Can you believe what a genius I was?!
(yes, a sarcasm…)
And despite it all, several more years passed until I’ve decided, out of the blue, to place water intake as a habit to focus on.
(and for the record, so far I’ve never felt any of the possible symptoms, so it wasn’t any pain or problem which caused me to suddenly change my mind about it)
Lord knows what happened in my mind which made me change my behavior.
I guess by (finally!) writing it down in a habit tracker, it became a challenge, an obligation, and a good deed I owe to myself.
I wanted to see in black and white (ok, blue and white, to be precise), whether I’ll be able to start drinking water, consistently.
Noticed the word “start”?
I know I STILL don’t drink as much water in a day as I should, but now my body’s starting to ask for water by itself, so I’m slowly increasing its daily intake.
And despite I’m still in a phase where I can’t comprehend HOW people manage to drink 6 glasses of water in a day, I’m satisfied by the fact I’m on a good path of getting there.
So what’s the bottom line of this story?
A determination, taking small steps at a time, and a habit tracker to help you see the progress you make might be all you need to successfully create and stick to your wonderful new habit – some form of self-care.
I think that’s about it for now.
If you’ve made this far (and actually read what’s written), kudos to you! 🙂
You’re my man (better likely, gal)!
If you feel inspired to share your thoughts on this topic, feel free to write a few lines in a comment section below.
Are you managing to find the time for self-care in your days, or have some tips in your sleeve, maybe?