IMPORTANT! Before reading any further please review the disclaimer:
Know that its not going to be possible to add things to your already full plate. So be aware that there will have to be a concession somewhere and learn to be ok with that.
If you’re not ok with giving something up you might continue struggling to find time to properly administer self care routines. Here’s what I mean... You might have to say no to someone or something. You might have to have dinner late. You might have to get less sleep, you'll be able clean the bathrooms but the floors will have to wait. See what I mean?
Order of Operations
It’s vital to recognize that you are a valuable entity. One in need of care.
Start here. Start with loving who you are.
If it’s hard to even remember who you are anymore, think to a time when you did feel the most like YOU (even if it was when you were 7 years old) and find that person, because deep down it’s really the true, authentic you that may have been tamped down over the years of neglect.
Next, do NOT feel any guilt or condemnation for taking priority over yourself. It’s not selfish act. It’s a beautiful act of sacrifice, to be honest. Because something is gonna have to give, remember
Finally, knowing and identifying what it is you need.
For me, it was quiet, unhurried time. A clean and orderly house. Physical movement.
Perhaps yours are equally introverted interests like making time for art, writing, or watching movies. Others might need more outside fellowship. Taking classes, hosting, or meeting up with friends.
It might be that my how to’s are going to look different than how you can implement them in your own life, but perhaps they can spark some ideas and provide inspiration.
For the cleanliness, I set aside a specific day for housecleaning. Some people don’t mind mess, but I get anxious and cranky when things aren’t clean and tidy. I knew it was coming so I was prepared. My schedule allowed for it. It was a pajama day, simple dinner was planned, and I went NO WHERE that day. My focus was cleaning/laundry/organizing etc. It was on Monday. Then my concession was that that was it for the week! It allowed me to focus on other things without distraction. Of course if there was an unexpected mess I would address it.
For the movement part: In general, I have always liked exercising. Even as a child I was active, but I liked formal exercise. It makes me feel happy and I like seeing and feeling myself get stronger. I found that instead of sitting at the playground while my children played, I could do an exercise routine from my phone or written out of a sheet of paper. I found a small neighborhood class that allowed little kids to wander while we exercised. And as the kids got older, I allowed them to stay home while I took a 20 min run. I MADE myself do these things at first and now they are a genuine part of my life. Doing hard things physically helped me do hard things mentally/emotionally.
Quiet time for me comes in two parts. Morning and evening. The evening routine is my bath time. It almost always looks the same. There is either something to read, (or I just shut my eyes and listen to music) candles, and a beverage. For me it’s usually bourbon but maybe it’s a glass of wine or a special tea or bubble water. EVEN WHEN THE KIDS WERE LITTLE I did this. I shut the door but didn’t lock it. And yes, they would always come in but I pulled the shower curtain ahead of time and let them talk to me through there and then leave. I was having peaceful time :)
Morning is NOT my jam. I have always slept in, even as a child. But it seemed like that was the ONLY time I was going to find for myself so I began with FIVE minutes. I set my alarm for 5 minutes before I needed to be up and immediately got out of bed to sit in my favorite chair in the living room. Eventually, I was able to get to where I am now with not only the ability, but the desire to be up 1.5-2 hours before I’m needed. Coffee is what pulls me out of bed and into my special spot in the house that is cozy and all set up for my quiet time.
So, to recap. Know that it’s going to take time, so START SMALL. Know that there will be concessions ––– it might be a rough start but eventually it will turn into a life pattern. I PROMISE.
MOST of all, this is not selfish behavior. You are valuable and need to be cared for. In fact YOU know yourself best so who better to provide that care?! It’s not selfish. It’s love.
“Love others as you love yourself”
Are you doing that or are you loving others like you wished YOU were loved?
We all know the old saying, “Put on your oxygen mask first.” and it’s really so true.
This was written for all of you by my sweet daughter in-law, Heather. I have watched her care for herself beautifully since we met her close to two decades ago. A certain felt peace enters any room she walk in. Her eyes sparkle with life, love, and joy on a regular basis. In the midst of home-schooling her three children for many years, she always kept a peaceful, neat home. I remember telling her I wished she was my teacher when I was a child–she was (and still is) such an amazing teacher. Now, working outside her home, Heather still maintains order in her home and makes it look so easy.
I think it’s because she has learned to set gentle boundaries, and only takes on what she knows she can reasonably manage each day. The flip side is…she’s always blessing others with her creativity and kindness. She’s a gem, and one of my favorite girls in the whole world! I hope you enjoy her pictures. They’re inspiring and offer a sense of comfort. On this journey together, Deb P.S. Don’t forget the free list of self-care ideas that will be yours on Thursday of this week. Subscribe to my email now or after Thursday’s post and I’ll send it your way.