At times like this it’s harder than ever to take care of ourselves. There’s countless barriers to settling down and focusing on how to fulfill our own wants and needs. Oftentimes when going to do something we want our minds instantly fill with all the things we need and feel we don't have the time, energy, or support to do or complete! Taking the time to ourselves can feel impossible or even selfish or silly. Finding ourselves worthy of the time and attention we so often give other people is not easy. I think you know what I'm about to get to though- filling up your OWN cup is so important. Taking care of ourselves is the only way to truly bring out the best in ourselves and can help us spread that good to others. Here are some of my tips and tricks to carving out the time to nourish yourself!
This one can feel really silly but also be really effective. Struggle with prioritizing yourself? Feel that you can push your needs or wants off for one more day? Need to take care of a couple things around the house or for a loved one or for work? Yeah, us too! While it’s admirable to be a caregiver, it’s also important to work at being a care receiver. To begin the process of letting your brain accept the care and compassion we all need try to externalize yourself. Sometimes I refer to myself as “future me” when trying to psych myself up to do a task. Get fun and creative and name your future self if you want to! Future me loves when the dishes are done, there's some food prepped in the fridge, or other small details of day to day living are taken care of to make life run smoother. It can be hard to deem our present selves ‘worthy’ of the time to take care of more mundane things- big and small. Focusing on a future version of yourself can help play into many of our natural ability to focus on the care of others while improving self worth and pride!
From many of the folks I work with I hear the all too common ‘all or nothing’ mentality. We want to revolutionize our lives! Totally change the way we do things! Be Perfect! Setting our expectations too high can lead to a spiral of exhaustion and shame. Many of us tell ourselves that starting small is pointless or won’t make a difference but really focusing on the small things is the key to sustainable change and success. Change is scary- but less so if you do it in small doses. If you’re more likely to do it- its more likely to grow into a habit you can keep up with! Be kind to yourself- set the bar and watch yourself meet or exceed your goals to gain momentum.
Ever rush through a task only to end up breaking a nail or stubbing your toe and making things harder for yourself? Again- relatable! Slowing ourselves down and being intentional can be a struggle. The hard truth is we all have the same amount of hours in a day. Some days may have more tasks than others but focusing on slowing down and intentionally moving through the tasks we have helps us create less frustration. Even something as simple as washing our hands (think slowly, warm water, bubbles, good scent) can be turned into an activity that makes us feel cared for (and clean!).
Plan! Write it down! Set an alarm!
Part of being intentional is also planning and MAKING it important. Nothing says important like an alarm or hand written note in your planner. When we don’t have our needs met, feelings of resentment can begin to bubble up. Prioritizing making an appointment with yourself is a way to show love and also reduce any residual negative we may be feeling, strengthening both our trust in ourselves (think “I do what I say I’ll do”) and help us be more patient and loving towards others.
Mix it up
As nice as a self care routine is, it doesn't have to be a specific routine but trial and error can count too. You can try something old AND something new to keep your mind and soul engaged. Listening to an old favorite song can bring back feelings of nostalgia and pump you up for your day. Maybe you like the new thing you tried (stretching, painting your nails, a new recipe) felt amazing! Maybe that new thing you tried (stretching, painting your nails, a new recipe) was awful! Either way you kept a promise to yourself to show yourself some love. Once you carve out the space you can begin to fill it with either tried and true activities or new adventures and learn something new. While it's not easy and for everyone consistency will ebb and flow- the way you treat yourself matters so fill up that cup!