I'm the worst at taking care of myself. It's a really bad habit of mine, and self-care is always on my list of "to dos." You'll find it right there in the #1 position: "remember to take care of yourself." But somehow as the days and weeks go by, it slips from position one to position fifteen, until it eventually drops off the list. Then I put it right back at the top of the list at the beginning of the next month.
Unfortunately, I'm so busy with work, making time for friends and family, as well as trying to squeeze in some time to eat and sleep, that self-care rituals get pushed back. This can be anything from reading a book that's been sitting on my shelf, to getting enough exercise, to my skincare routine.
Pushing these self-care rituals to the bottom of my to-do-list is not healthy. My current motto is, "you can't pour from an empty cup," and it's absolutely true. Taking care of yourself is vital to a healthy work/life balance, and is particularly good at keeping you out of burnout's nasty clutches.
If you don't put yourself first sometimes, you may find yourself feeling stressed all the time, burned out, overly tired, or you may completely crash at the end of the week.
So What Do I Do If I Don't Have Time?
Telling yourself that you don't have time for self-care is one of the easiest excuses out there. I use it all the time. However, it's just not true! There are only 24 hours in a day, yes, but on the other hand, there's a whole 24 hours in the day. And the good news is, there is always time for self-care.
Self-care doesn't have to be some long, involved ritual that takes up hours of your time. When I'm low on time, I try to do 10 to 20 minutes of something I enjoy. Sometimes it's leaving the house and going on a walk in the park, sometimes it's putting on some music and dancing around my apartment, and sometimes it's as small as using a face mask for 10 minutes.
Why Should I Take Care of Myself?
There are a few reasons why self-care is really important:
- Get to Know Yourself: Spending time with yourself is great. If you put yourself first and start a few small self-care rituals, you can increase your self-esteem (because really, you look fabulous after that facemask), produce positive feelings, and generally get to know yourself. It's also good to remind yourself once in a while that you're just as important as those around you.
- Good Work/Life Balance: Raise your hand if you're a workaholic. Me too. Working is great and can be fun, but contrary to what you may hear or feel, working too much is not the way to go. It's important to have a healthy work/life balance, as over-work can lead to burnout, stress, and exhaustion, which will make you less focused and less productive overall.
Self-care can be as easy as taking a coffee break at the office where you don't do any work, going for a short walk, and making sure to leave work at work and not bring the office home with you (personally, the hardest one for me). Trying to separate your work life from your home life can help reduce stress and can help make you as productive as possible when you are at the office.
- Manage Stress: Stress can be useful sometimes, as it motivates us to get things done. However, too much stress can be detrimental to your health, so it's important to counterbalance that with something you enjoy that you find relaxing. Self-care can help you to manage your stress, which can boost your mood, your energy levels, and help you feel great about yourself.
Some Self-Care Ideas
In case you're out of some self-care ideas, here are some things you can do to show your body a little TLC.
- Treat yourself to an at-home spa day
- Take a walk in the park
- Hit the gym
- Give yourself a face massage (bonus points: it's great for your circulation!)
- Take a break when you need it
- Dance around to your favorite song
- Read a book on a subject you don't know much about
- Stay hydrated
- Make a cup of tea
- Treat yourself to something you enjoy
No matter what, make sure to do something that will take your mind off of your work and that relaxes you. The whole point of self-care is to de-stress and show yourself some love. You deserve it!