Have you ever had one of those weeks where you just can’t give any more? Your tank is running on empty, and it’s only Thursday. You tell yourself that you only have to make it two more days until the weekend. Then your boss informs you that you’re going to have to come in on Saturday to finish up a project. Then daycare calls and tells you your child is throwing up and has a fever. Then your spouse informs you that they forgot to mention that their parents are coming over for dinner on Sunday. Suddenly, the weekend you’ve been struggling towards doesn’t seem like the break you needed. It’s at this point you have two options: snap at your spouse or boss, or you can take some time out of your very busy schedule to implement some self-care.
What is self-care and why is it important? When most people think of self-care, they think it means taking bubble baths and eating all of the chocolate you want.
It certainly can be those things, but it can also look like setting a boundary with a toxic family member or saying no to something that takes away from time for you and your family. It can mean taking a lunch break instead of powering through to get one more thing accomplished at work. It can look like taking up that hobby you have always wanted to do. What self-care means for you will probably be very different than what it looks like for your friends.
When talking about self-care, the topic of time comes up. When you already feel overwhelmed, it’s hard to imagine finding any extra time for yourself. Time is something people value and it often doesn’t feel like there is ever enough of it. Participating in self-care can take as little as 5 minutes, or it can be as long as you like. Cost is another barrier that comes up when considering the best self-care option. If price is a concern, try to choose something to do that you enjoy and that is free, or you can find an activity that stays within your budget. Take caution though. Going into debt to take on self-care will only cause more stress in the long run.
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. [It] is an act of survival.”
— Andre Lorde
Self-care is designed to help you recharge and fill your tank back up. It’s making yourself and what’s important to you a priority. Most of us take care of other people in some way whether it be children, being a good friend to someone, being a caring spouse, etc. and to do that well be must first take care of ourselves so we have something to give.
Some other ideas of self-care are:
Going for a walk
Reading a book for enjoyment -- check out https://www.goodreads.com/ for some ideas
Going to get coffee with a friend
Joining a gym -- if you have kids, try to find one that offers child care
Reading a magazine
Writing a note to a friend or journaling
Getting a massage -- for more affordable options, see if there are any massage schools in your city.
Wearing clothes you feel comfortable in
Spending time with someone you care about
Spending time alone
Listening to music
Eating your favorite food
Practicing meditation and deep breathing
Self-care can also look like seeing a therapist when things in your life get out of balance. Having someone to talk to who won’t judge you can be just the self-care you need. So decide that you are important enough to invest in and go do some self-care today!