Wake up, take the dogs out, feed them, start coffee, get lunches ready, get dressed, leave for work. Get to work and open, serve customers, have meetings, chat with co-workers and members, get prep list completed, place orders. Get home, take care of the dogs, get dinner ready, clean up around the house, get dishes done, maybe cut the lawn, chat with hubby, prep anything for next day, and finally go to bed. Whew! The day is over!
Does that craziness sound familiar to you? Our days get packed full of work, family, chores, cooking, kids, friends, etc., and often before we even get home we are burnt out for the day. How often do we take a pause during our day to give ourselves some time to just stop and take a breath, taking the time to reflect on the positive and the challenging events of the day?
For many of us, personal time or self-care has been conditioned in our minds as selfish. What is it about slowing down and caring for ourselves that makes us feel guilty? Why is it so easy for us to say yes to anyone and everyone, except ourselves?
In the book, Dare to Lead by researcher and author Brene Brown, she discusses what she calls “the dirty yes”. This is when we say yes to a request but are internally saying no because we would rather let ourselves drown instead of possibly disappointing someone. So many of us could benefit from learning to advocating for ourselves and getting comfortable with saying, “You know, I would love to but at this time I just cannot help out.” There is nothing wrong with not overfilling your plate and not being able to give that sliver of time you do have to yourself instead of trying to cram in a task for someone else.
Self-care activities can be as easy and mindless as hiding in the bathroom for 5 minutes or sitting in your car with some quiet time (my personal favorite), to getting in an intense killer workout or going to a calming yoga or meditation class. Whatever it is you decide to do for you will be right for you, because you are giving your mind time to check out for a bit.
If you are unsure of how you will find this time, try killing two birds with one stone. Mindful.org gives some ideas like walking to work (you are outside with fresh air, being more environmentally friends, and saving and wear and tear on your vehicle plus getting in physical activity), arriving at work/appointment early, and using that time for whatever you need, after dropping the kiddos off at practice walk at the facility or outside of it, and lastly, if possible, take your lunch break offsite/outside alone.
Self-care is not a one-size-fits all concept. It will be different for you and everyone you meet. For some, they may just need a 1-minute breathing activity to get grounded and continue with the day. For another, it could consist of 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes at lunch, and 5 minutes before bed. Some may need a whole day to recharge their batteries and feel ready to take on life’s challenges again. Practicing self-care activities are easy because you can do whatever you need to but continuing to practice self-care may be challenging and will take time to master and add that into your list of daily activities.
Let’s all try to start taking a couple of minutes of the day to give yourself grace, time, and rejuvenation. Be willing to ask for help or to say no if you are already overloaded or feeling like you are slowly sinking. Encourage yourself to find the time to practice self-care for yourself, your family, and your career so you can fully bring out the best of yourself. If you are interested in more about self-care take a look at the links provided that explain what is self-care, self-care activities, and why we should all practice them.
Here is to us all finding a little time in each day and starting to see that we are worth self-care and self-love.