Self Care – Making Yourself a Priority

 Is self care on your plate?

Do you ever feel like you have so much to do and so little time? Do you feel like if you add one more thing to your plate you’ll scream?  Is self care last on your list, if it is on there at all? I know because I have been guilty of that and sometimes still am.  I had a friend ask me recently, “What can you take off your plate?”.  My answer was quick and easy…nothing. Everything I have to do is important.  Just like your mile long to do list is important.  Maybe the priority should be prioritizing.  Sounds easy enough, just put your list in order and get it done.  Hold on…what? Isn’t it selfish to schedule time just for me?  NO it isn’t, in fact it is one of the least selfish things you can do.  Self care is important to overall well being. How do you expect to take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself?

My list keeps growing.

I bet it does, you check off one thing and add three more.  And if you are like me, some of those things are permanent on the list.  Those things that have become part of your already hectic routine.  So what do you do?  It’s great to have a full busy life.  You live with purpose or you try to.  You are juggling a family,children, work, time with your partner and your friends.  Something is still missing.  Where are YOU on that list?  You mark off and add things to the list and still you are not a priority on that list.

When you get right down to it, you are neglecting yourself.  You put everyone and everything first. You’re running in every direction at once and you forget that you too need to be on the list.  There is a solution.  Schedule self care! It sounds silly, it did to me when I first heard it.  Schedule self care? On my calendar?  It almost sounded absurd when I first heard the notion so I ignored the idea and kept letting my life run me.  I was working full time, going to school and starting a business.  I thought I just had a normal, busy life.

Somehow I knew there had to be more.  Others I knew with similar lives seemed to live their life effortlessly.  They seemed rested and had time for everything they wanted to do.  I was curious how they were able to manage a busy life and still have time for simple pleasures in their lives.  The answer was always the same, they scheduled time for themselves. They made self care a priority.

You have an appointment with YOU

As odd as it sounded to me, the only logical thing to do was to add myself to my calendar. So that is what I did, I penciled myself in.  It doesn’t really matter when you do it the point is to do it, and do it weekly.  Just like the rest of your agenda that you follow and check off, self care becomes a part of your to do list.  The good thing about scheduling time for you is the habit you are creating. After doing this practice for a few months it becomes a habit and then you wonder how you ever neglected yourself in the first place.

Where do you begin? As they say, just do it.  Make it creative and fun. Write your self care on your calendar in a different color and use that color for you only.  This way whenever you open your datebook you will see what you have coming up. The excitement will build and you will become excited when you open up and see your color.  Keep it simple but make it fun.  You are important and your no good to anyone if you are depleted. So when you get your calendar and begin entering birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions remember to include yourself.  A yoga session here, an afternoon of gardening there, and even time to just sit and be.  Just remember to pencil yourself in….and enjoy.

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Practicing Self Care

When I meet with a client for the first time I notice a common denominator  shared by all of them, they lack taking care of themselves.  It doesn’t matter if they are single or married, have children or not.  It seems that so many of us just aren’t taking care of ourselves these days. I wonder why that is?  Are we so rushed in our lives that we can’t take an hour just to do something that nourishes us?

Self care is an important tool to have in your wellness regimen. When I ask clients to define self care they seem to have a hard time pinpointing what it means. If there is one thing I have discovered, just like food, self care is a very individual, personal decision.

I believe self care is important, equally important to what we put in our bodies. Nourishment is more than just food. How we take care of the whole self matters. I can think of many times in my life when I wasn’t taking time to myself and I felt run down, sluggish, and just had the overall blahs.  I was taking care of my needs with food, having my green juices and eating a plant-based diet.  I just wasn’t feeding my soul. When the two are combined it really is a recipe for total well-being.

Here are a few tips to start you off:

  • Consider morning meditation – a 10 minute meditation to start your day can leave you feeling very centered
  • Create a journal writing schedule – take the time to write just before bedtime. It will help you sleep better
  • Spend some time curled up with a good book – as the winter months approach, add a nice cup of your favorite tea
  • Find an activity that brings joy to your life – take up yoga, a zumba class, taking a walk in Mother Nature

Self care should be nurturing, fill you up.  Taking time for yourself is important and it is something nobody else can do for you. Making self care a part of your routine is essential. Try it and let it bring out the best in you, all of you!

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