simple ways to practice self-care
Self-Care

Stressed Out? Here is How a Self-Care Planner Can Help

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Inside: The importance of using a self-care planner, make your self-care plan a priority and combat feelings of stress and overwhelm.

Self-care. It’s often talked about. You see it all over Pinterest and Facebook. It’s a great concept. But are you really taking time for a self-care practice? Let’s be honest. With all of the “to-do’s,” responsibilities and obligations on our plates, it’s not easy to take time for self-care. You want to. But somehow, self-care gets shoved to the back burner. Every time. Sound familiar? If so, you might benefit from a simple self-care planner to keep you on track.

Until recently, self-care wasn’t on my radar. I lived to “go-go-go,” always on the run. And that’s fine. Because when you’re busy, you get things done. It’s who I am and it’s taken me the places I wanted to go, whether in sports, school, or career.

If you’re like me, it can be hard to slow down. Maybe you have a difficult time doing nice things for yourself. Or just allowing yourself the time and space you need to breathe and reboot.

Using a Self-Care Planner

That’s why using a self-care planner can help. If you’re initially resistant to self-care planning, getting your activities on paper and tracking them can help you commit to your self-care plan.

And here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be complicated. This is just a simple, straightforward way to implement just one way to recharge, reconnect, or reboot yourself each day.

So let’s talk about that for a minute, shall we?

What is Self-Care?

It boils down to this. Self-care is simply taking care of yourself.

Self-care is simply incorporating healthy, calming and stimulating activities into your life and connecting to who you truly are at your core. (Not the person you think people want you to be.) It’s the practice of taking action to preserve or improve your mental, spiritual and physical health.

When You Stop Making Self-Care a Priority

When I married at age 32, my focus went from “me” to “we.” I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Marriage should be about the two of you together. I loved becoming a couple with my husband.

He’s my best friend, my Ride or Die, and not only does he know me better than anyone, but he puts up with my horrible-awful-no-good-bitchy side when it shows up. Which can be often. Especially during this midlife era that I’m going through.

Then at 35, I became a mom. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the thing that completely changed my life. Being a mom consumed my life – in a good way. My number one priority in life immediately became my beautiful daughter; structuring my life around what was best for her.

Therefore, balancing life with marriage, parenting and work became much more challenging. Suddenly there were fewer hours in the day and less money. Little things I used to do for myself were put on the back burner.

I get it. Life can be overwhelming with all of our commitments and responsibilities. But regardless of family or work obligations, there is still a part of you that needs to be cared for and not neglected. And if you struggle to stick to a self-care routine, then a self-care planner can keep you on track.

Stop Feeling Guilty About Your Self-Care Activities

When you think about self-care, do these thoughts run through your mind?

  • I shouldn’t take the time away from my family.
  • Spending money on myself isn’t okay.
  • I shouldn’t be so selfish.
  • But I don’t have time for that!

It’s hard to find time for yourself. People need you. Things have to get done. Buying things for yourself like new clothes and make-up, outside of the bare necessities, can feel indulgent. Sometimes you may not even worthy. (Which is completely wrong, by the way.)

Those are all normal thoughts and feelings. Who often feels like they really are doing enough? I think a lot of women feel like they are dropping balls right and left, either in one area of their life or in all areas.

Or maybe you’re doing more than enough but none of it feels like it’s good enough, because you’re doing so much that you can’t do any of it well. And when you feel like your failing, the last thing you do is something nice for yourself.

I heard something that deeply resonated with me recently:

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t very well take care of others. That, my friends, is why we must make self-care a priority.

The Benefits of Self-Care

The benefits of self-care are innumerable. Here are just a few:

  • Necessary for stress management
  • Increases productivity because we learn to say no and set boundaries
  • Allows for us to slow down and focus on the things that really matter
  • Improves self-esteem and reinforces the message that you and your needs matter
  • Increases self-awareness, which might lead to discovering new passions and change life direction

When you take time to fill your cup, you have more to give to others, too.

How to Implement Your Self-Care Planner

Start By Giving Yourself Permission

Let go of guilt and allow yourself to do things you enjoy. Pick just one thing a day that you will do for yourself, and put it down in your self-care planner.

Pursue your interests. Get rest. Read. Exercise. Detox. Eat healthy food. Drink a lot of water. Meditate. Get outside. Spend a little money on yourself for necessary health and beauty products. You’re worth it!

Make Time for Yourself

Schedule your time just like you schedule anything else in life, like work meetings and doctor’s appointments social commitments. Put your self-care time on the calendar so you don’t blow it off.

Set Expectations and Boundaries

Talk to your partner and family about your new self-care initiative and your wishes for time for yourself.

A few years ago, my frustration reached heightened levels and I felt like I didn’t have the time and freedom to do some of the things I wanted to do.

When I sat down and told my husband how I was feeling, he was totally supportive. He wholeheartedly encouraged me to take the time I needed and do more things for myself. Turns out, these “limitations” I felt were actually self-imposed completely in my head. I was telling myself that I couldn’t and shouldn’t; no one else saying it.

Stop Doing It All

Stop acting like you are the only one that can handle kids’ schedules, obligations, shopping, errands, and chores. Give up control. My husband offered numerous times to do more, but I wouldn’t let him. I was being a martyr and I realized this was part of my problem. Turns out, hubs could handle all of the household stuff just fine. In many cases, better than me!

And as for the mommy guilt I felt for being gone? It was pointless. My husband and daughter loved having their time together, going to the park or movies. It’s not just healthy for me; it’s healthy for them, too.

Set Aside Money for Yourself

This was huge for me. I had a hard time justifying the spend; any spend, on myself. I would hesitate and tell myself there were many other ways the money could be spent on my daughter or my family.

It might take some work to change your mindset about self-worth. It did for me. Then, I realized 1) I wasn’t actually taking away from family’s well being and 2) if money is tight, there are plenty of self-care things you can do without spending much, if any, funds.

What Are Some Self-Care Activities?

Here is a list of easy self-care activities you can start today!

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a nap
  • Go to bed early
  • Meditate
  • Write in a journal
  • Go to a movie
  • Use your sick leave at work if you aren’t feeling well!
  • Take your lunch breaks!
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat healthy food
  • Take vitamins and supplements
  • Get a massage
  • Go to the gym
  • Spend time with friends
  • Read a book
  • Watch a Ted Talk
  • Listen to a Podcast
  • Sign up for a class to learn something new
  • Spend some time on personal development
  • Pursue your interests!

If there is one thing I am learning, it’s that I can no longer neglect myself, my needs or my interests.

And you know what? Neither can you. Join the Breathe and Reboot email list and get the download for a Simple Self-Care Planner.

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