Self care seems to be a big theme this year. I see it talked about all over social media. And I think it’s awesome because it’s important!
Not to be all “I did this before it was cool” (lol), but I had decided my word for this year would me ‘Me’ back in November of last year. By that, I meant I would focus on myself – my health, my happiness, my overall well-being.
I could feel things were off. The best way I could think to describe it was that I felt as if I were stumbling through life. At any given moment, I was just taking care of the next most urgent thing that needed to be taken care of. And rarely was that myself.
And I could totally tell that it was unsustainable; I couldn’t keep it up for long. Eventually, this stumbling would have to end. And how does a stumble end? One of two ways. Either you fall or you catch your balance.
I’m just glad I realized I needed to make some changes in time to catch my balance.
So I made a plan, and some lists, and a bullet journal. The plan and the lists stuck. The bullet journal – not so much. (Anyone else ever have grand bullet-journaling plans that fall by the wayside??) Anyway, here are the first five things I did for my year of self care.
How I Started My Year of Self Care
1. I made my health a priority.
Going to the doctor is not glamorous. But let’s be real. Taking care of your health is the ultimate self-care. No, it’s not as luxurious and relaxing as salt baths. And it isn’t as yummy as indulging in a piece of chocolate cake. It’s so much more.
I actually didn’t think I was *bad* at taking care of my health. I mean, I get my annual exam with my OB/GYN. I go to the dentist every 6 months like clockwork. I drink a minimum of 8 tall glasses of water a day. I drink smoothies for breakfast and eat salads. I’m health-conscious, dang it!
But for real. I was tired all the time. I had been ignoring discomfort in my low back that started with my first pregnancy (6 years ago!). I was having skin issues where I would experience random itchiness that was getting more frequent and more intense. I was getting daily headaches. So, no, I was NOT doing a good job of focusing on my health.
The very first thing I did this year was make myself appointments with my general practitioner, a chiropractor, and my optometrist. (Can you believe I had not had my eyes checked in almost 7 years?!) I knew that it this was really going to be a year of focusing on myself, I had to get these nagging health issues figured out first.
2. I booked a hair appointment.
Now this is a bit more salt-bath-like. A hair appointment feels like a luxury to me. I just don’t make the time for it.
I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair (no color, no fancy cut that requires regular trimming), so it’s easy to go many months between appointments. Like, 17 to be exact.
That’s the benefit of long hair, I guess. But like I always say: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can get away with going a year and an half without a trim, doesn’t mean you should do it.
My hair always feels so much better and is so much easier to care for when I get those dried ends cut off! And that makes me feel better about myself, and that’s a form of self-care too.
3. I started using my planner.
I had been using my planner, but not REALLY using my planner. Know what I mean?
I mean, I would write things down in it, like appointments and such. But I didn’t use it to plan my days. And I just do better when I plan my days.
When I say I “plan my days”, basically what I mean is I have dinner planned ahead and everything I need to make it, I have a to-do list made before the day begins, I have a general focus for the day (or at least one main task or project that has to be completed above all else), and sometimes I have what I’m going to wear planned ahead of time too. Although the outfit isn’t that big a deal because I generally work with a small wardrobe so putting outfits together is pretty quick and easy anyway.
4. I scheduled myself a catch-up day.
I don’t know why I do this to myself, but I make up this thing in my head where I believe I have to be able to do all my life-managing things in the cracks between work, taking care of/spending time with my family, making meals, and basic personal care.
I’m talking about things like filing paperwork, cleaning out a closet or junk drawer, dropping off donations and recycling, deep/seasonal cleaning, hair appointments, doctor appointments. Basically, all the things that don’t recur weekly, and so they don’t have a dedicated space in my weekly routine.
I tell myself I’ll get those things done here and there, but the reality is those tasks usually get put off and put off and put off again because I just don’t have the extra room in my week. So I MADE the extra room by scheduling myself a catch-up day. I’m thinking this should be a regular thing. Like, maybe monthly.
5. I found a life coach.
There’s often a little confusion around what a life coach is and does. In broad terms, a life coach is someone who helps you create a path for moving forward in life (career or personal). For myself, I was looking for someone to help me through the process of figuring out what I *really* want to do work-wise.
I have worn so many different work hats in the past 10 years, all very different from each other. And most of that time, I wore multiple hats at once. It was too much and overwhelming and stressful. So I needed (wanted) to narrow it down to just one hat, something I could pour my heart into and kill it at.
I really needed some help with it because I could tell you a million reasons that each option was the best option. And I could tell you a million reasons why each was the worst. It’s the way my brain works. I analyze and rationalize and let logic keep me going in circles.
In case you don’t know, my work-life has taken me through the positions of an construction estimator, a green building consultant, an adjunct college instructor, a blogger, and a clothing boutique owner. Blogging started out as a fun hobby, and the clothing boutique was meant to be an income stream for my blog. But the boutique was consuming all my time, and I didn’t enjoy it enough for how much time it was taking up. And my heart just wasn’t in estimating, consulting, or teaching like it used to be, no matter how much sense it made career-wise to stick with those paths.
That brings me to blogging. My heart has always been in blogging. There’s no downside to it for me when it comes to feeling fulfilled by my work. The only argument my logical side has against blogging as my work instead of just a hobby was the income aspect. Because I’ll just be honest here — making money with a blog is hard work and doesn’t happen over night.
But my life coach helped me to work through all of my rationale and logic and helped me to determine that blogging is where it’s at for me. It is something I can pour myself into and feel good about doing it – even if it’s not making me rich!
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Self care is such a broad topic, but we often think of massages, a glass of wine after a long day, treating ourselves to a pedicure when we think of self care. It’s so much more than that. What’s the biggest thing you’ve done lately to care for yourself?