Are you too busy for self-care? Too busy for the good stuff? You are not alone. I am currently in process of putting together a presentation for a group of therapists on self-care and have found myself ironically just too busy to do good self-care for myself due to this extra project. I finally got a hold of myself and said, “ENOUGH. You must take time to care for yourself or you will not be of help to anyone else.” My body actually did some of this for me this last week and had me not feeling well, needing to cancel some commitments. I always joke with my family that my body will just shut me down if I do not listen to it. And it truly does so.
First of all what is good self-care?
- Starting with the “basics”. Enough sleep to feel refreshed when you get up in the morning. Healthy food that makes you feel good and keeps your body in good working order and full of energy. Let us not forget, lots of water which has been shown to help alleviate stress and of course helps to flush toxins from the body. Then there is physical exercise, which can come in many forms. It can be a simple daily evening walk or going to the YMCA two nights a week, riding your bike or whatever is a fit for you to help keep you physically healthy.
- Then we have emotional health that is very intertwined with the body. The mind-body connection is strong and research continues to grow in this area. Stress affects your emotional and physical health. How you are doing emotionally makes a difference as to how you will fare physically. This is common sense that we all witness. But our busy lives keep us in a place where we do not always think about what we really know instinctively about our bodies. One thing to consider about your stress is how you view it. You have a choice in how you choose to look at something, even if you can not change the circumstances. By choosing to think in a way that helps you to feel better, you can be in a more peaceful place.
- Putting your joy and happiness up at the top of your list is important. This allows you to then share that happiness with your families and loved ones. Balancing family needs and personal needs can be challenging. But the more balance the better you will feel.
So what can you do when you are just too busy to do good self-care???
- You can PRIORITIZE. Meaning you can decide what is most important and rank in order what you feel you most need to do. At the top of the list should be good self-care. And yes that is not always easy. It many times means having to let go of something else. There really are only 24 hours in a day. Even though I so want more at times. But 24 is REALLY enough. When you live each moment in the present and know you will never have it all done and it is ok, you can feel so much more peaceful.
- You can say NO to some things. You can let go of having to have your list completely done each day. You can do the best you can and feel good about what you did accomplish. You can remind yourselves you do not need to be perfect. You are wonderful just the way you are!
- You can do mini self-care breaks. Maybe you really do have to finish a work project or take our child to practice each night. But you can incorporate ways to take breaks with your work. Maybe it is a simple 5 or 10 minute walk outside to regroup. Or maybe you decide you can carpool with another parent for your child’s practice. You may feel you need to have a large block of time to do self care. I would invite you to consider ways to incorporate smaller bite sized self care breaks. I know for me more self care happens when I use this approach.
I will be exploring the issue of self-care in more detail in my fall quarterly newsletter. If you wish to subscribe to my newsletter, you are welcome to go my website and go into the Well Being Newsletter tab and sign up there. My website address is as follows: www.stromtherapy.com I might add I have an archive of all my past newsletters in this section of my website.
Take good care of yourself. YOU are so worth it!