Welcome to week 37 of simplify your life and the last health and wellness challenge. This week we look at self care which is an area I am passionate about. When I plotted out the 52 weeks of the challenges back in December I had no idea that I would go on to co-create a whole e-course on self care. If you are reading along and this is something you need to address on a deeper level (self care and self compassion) we happen to have recently launched the second run of the 30 day self care blueprint which will next run for the month of October.
For SYL we will tackle this big topic by getting back to basics to motivate you to take care of your own needs. I am always saying self care is essential and not selfish! I want to clarify that what I mean by self care is taking the time to take care of your own needs, being kind to yourself, dumping the negative self talk and self-sacrifice. Self care does not need to involve tens of hours a week (but awesome for you if you can clear that time for yourself) nor does it refer to one area of life specifically. It is all about honouring who you are, what you need and what makes you feel whole (when we deny our needs and interests are we being our “whole” self?).
First – I want you to bust through whatever holds you back from regular self care – be it guilt, lack of money or time. This is why we spent all that time talking about our values and priorities. If you are currently lacking in self care (however you define that for yourself) then take the time and invest in yourself. No excuses, no guilt and no half- assed attempts. I wrote previously on the basics of self care and not giving yourself the leftovers in your life and countered many of the arguments you make against prioritising yourself.
Second – Decide what your minimum level of self care looks like – what do you need to feel fulfilled, healthy, recharged? For some it will involve alone time and others need to get out and about. Some need time to read every day (me) and others cannot function without exercise so make that time sacred (or make that time 5am if needed). If it has been so long since you thought about your own needs or are looking to add to your existing self care practices check out my list of 50 self care ideas to get you thinking broadly on this topic. Self care does not mean bubble baths and alone time (unless that is what you want).
Third- Plan for your self care just the same way you would make sure you took your kids to the doctor for their shots or picked up the groceries each week. Make the time and plan it into your life. I schedule it in my diary and have a space on my daily planner where I focus on what I am doing for myself each day. This is what intentional living is all about – pause, decide and do.
Fourth – Ask for help if you need it. Rather than getting overwhelmed by life, and cutting out your self care to keep doing more and more, be open to sharing the load. It is not crazy to prioritise self care, but rather critical to keep yourself going. I always talk about filling up your tank because it is such a good analogy for how this really works. Just as a car does not run as well when it is down to the last of the gas tank, people also start feeling the negative effects when they have not taken time to refill their tank. You may not always have the tank filled to the top, but consistently operating at 1/2 – 3/4 full means you will be better equipped for everyday challenges that get thrown your way.
Challenge this week: Start from where you are with this.
- If you currently have no time carved out for yourself start with step one and see how far you go. can you figure out what it is that holds you back and push through it, giving yourself permission to do something for you?
- If you already do things for yourself (exercise, a hobby, alone time, couple time…) but feel something is lacking take time to brainstorm and explore and come up with a few things to shake things up for yourself. For example – is your partner a homebody but you like adventure? Maybe you could find some ways to get out there together or own your own (or with someone else) and get in touch with your daredevil side.
- If your issue is lack of planning sit down with your diary and schedule in some time slots for you. Do you need to swap some babysitting with a friend (or ask for other help) or try a new time slot for your exercise routine? Do you need to communicate with your family to get the time and space you need (if you want solo things) or plan things to do together (if you are needing that connection time)?
Find your simple,
Link up any SYL posts here: (no matter what week you are up to simply carry on as time allows… SYL does not need to be COMPLETED in 52 weeks)