Self-care is a word that comes up often in the health and wellness world. When we think of self-care we may imagine drawing a bubble bath for ourselves, lighting some candles, putting on some relaxing music, and maybe even pouring a flute of champagne. Yes, this sounds absolutely divine and I’d be down for that at any time, but unfortunately I don’t have a bathtub so this is not how my self-care routine currently looks….dang it.
While doing my first “coffee and conversation” with my good friend, Victoria (come join us if you’d like on Thursday mornings on insta!) we discussed self-care given it’s something that all of us need, but we don’t really know where to begin or what it may look like realistically in our lives. Right now especially (Covid-19 times), many of us are feeling drained, exhausted, burnt out and depleted.
For many of us, self-care sounds indulgent and maybe even selfish. You may feel like it’s something “other” people do, but definitely not something you could possibly fit into your schedule. Especially if you’re a mother and working full-time right now. Self-care may feel like a far-fetched idea and not something that you could actually add into your life.
You’re not alone with these thoughts, believe me. I coach numerous women weekly on their health and well-being, and often when I ask them what their current self-care routine looks like they look at me like I’ve lost my freakin’ mind. Feelings of guilt and shame can come up when we start exploring this topic. They feel selfish if they put themselves first. Or are convinced they don’t have the time for it. Deep down many of us have the belief that we don’t deserve it or are unworthy of receiving support (from ourselves and others). I know, where’d that crappy belief come from?
I get it. Our lives are already jammed pack and adding one more thing to our “to do” list feels overwhelming and like a daunting task. It may feel completely unnatural to place your needs above others. If it feels completely foreign to you try reframing it and rather than putting yourself first, think about placing yourself at the top with your other loved ones. When we take care of ourselves we are able to show up to our lives more joyfully, intentionally and healthily.
I hope to offer you a few tips on how to add in a realistic and sustainable self-care routine no matter what season of life you’re in. And excitedly, I’ve realized that each of my tips starts with an “S”; simple, sustainable, supportive and seasonal. I’m such a nerd…I just love it when that stuff happens 🙂
- Simple: I’m all about simplicity and keeping things as simple as possible in most areas of life, and that certainly includes a self-care routine. As I write this we are still in the Covid-19 times, and I’ve tried simplifying my life, business, and health routine as much as possible during this time. Often when people first dream of a self-care routine they imagine spending 3 hours in the morning trying to fit in everything from journaling, exercising, green juicing, praying, meditating, cold water therapy, and then preparing a perfectly balanced nutritious breakfast. Yeah, this just isn’t real life, unless you’re Oprah or someone. Pick 2 things if you can and stick with that. Maybe it’s a weekly coffee date with a good friend. Moving your body in the morning for 20 minutes. Or perhaps it’s reading a novel 15 minutes before you go to bed with a hot cuppa tea. Keep it simple and remember that there is no right or wrong way to do this.
- Supportive: When you choose habits or activities for your self-care routine, be sure they are things you actually really enjoy. If taking bubble baths or getting a pedi isn’t your thing, then don’t do it. Decide on activities and habits that nourish your mind, body and spirit. What fills you up like nothing else? What adds value to your life and helps you feel renewed after? Maybe it’s moving your body daily, writing in your journal, going hiking, painting or getting crafty, baking some healthy goodies for your family, getting your hands dirty in the garden, or getting cozy with a good novel. Pick activities that really support, nourish, and restore you.
- Seasonal: Okay, I sorta touched on this before, but it’s super important to keep things realistic and sustainable for whatever season of life you’re in. Your self-care routine and these habits will change. That’s okay. There are times in my life when I have more time for this, and times when I don’t have as much. A perfect example of this is what is currently going on right now in the world. Most of our schedules and lives have changed (some more than others) and the first thing I did was tweak my well-being habits and routines. I made them realistic, manageable, and sustainable for this season. As soon as the restrictions lift here, you betcha I’ll be spending more time outside hiking, running, and walking on the beach to fill me up. We can go into each season with resilience, curiosity, and grace, doing the best we can and knowing that perfection doesn’t exist.
- Sustainable: Another thing to keep in mind is to make it sustainable and realistic. We often burn ourselves out by trying to do too much or change everything overnight. Choose self-care habits that actually fit into your life and make sure it feels like it’s adding value to your life, not making you feel more stressed out. What kind of nourishing and supportive habits feel sustainable to you? Once you decide, carve out space and actually write it into your calendar. This will assure you’ll block out that time so that you stay committed to yourself and create a nice, healthy boundary with your time and schedule.
Alrighty, friends. I hope those tips were helpful for you when you’re creating a self-care routine!