Does the idea of self care sometimes (often) feel overwhelming? Creating healthy habits and getting into good routines help enormously but even then, if we’re attempting anyone else’s version of self care, we’re not giving ourselves the best possible chance to connect with our OWN inner wisdom and wild self, listening to our mind, body, heart and soul around what we need.
Sometimes, it’s teeny tiny tweaks. Other times, a bigger overhaul.
1) Decide what YOUR ideal self care routine will be
Much as I believe in the importance of self care and Self care, I often cringe at some of the commodification of something that is often FREE and unique to each individual. It doesn’t need to mean fancy spas (when they reopen) and exotic retreats. It doesn’t need to mean expensive equipment. It could be as simple as making the time to floss your teeth every day. Or a little extra time each day to read for pleasure. What does self care mean for YOU?
2) Grab some paper and list everything that springs to mind
From brushing your teeth to staying on top of the laundry or gardening, a favourite mind body practice, setting healthy boundaries to finding work that you love, fitting in more sleep or exercise to a massage, giving yourself a holiday, GP or dentist appointment to sea swim or idyllic hike, list everything.
3) Grab more paper and create your self care checklists
Head them with the following and any others that make sense to you. I suggest:
- Daily Self Care
- Every Other Day Self Care
- Weekly Self Care
- Fortnightly Self Care
- Monthly Self Care
- Seasonal Self Care
- Annual Self Care and
- Ad Hoc Self Care.
4) Look at your initial list from Step 1 and decide on frequency
Some people might want to swim in the sea once a year, others daily. For me, it’s at least once a week and that keeps me going the whole week. Similarly, apart from things like daily sleep, meditation and brushing teeth etc, there’ll be variety. Next to each item on this first list, make a note indicating your ideal frequency.
5) Bring them all together and be honest with yourself
Write each down each item on the relevant page (Daily Self Care etc etc). Are you expecting too much from yourself? We all have the same amount of time each day. Are you trying to fit too much in? Prioritise your list if looking at it as it is brings up any sensations of overwhelm.
6) Decide on how you’ll integrate this new knowledge about what YOU need
You might literally schedule items into your paper diary or online calendar. You might create checklists. You might keep the lists accessible (maybe on the inside of a cupboard door) and set daily / weekly etc reminders to check it. You might create a spreadsheet – whatever you do, make it work for YOU.
7) Experiment and adapt as needed
If this is a completely new approach for you, it might be that what you do today is perfect and revolutionises your entire life. More likely, it’ll need some adapting and as you experiment with you, you’ll get a sense of what your daily self care non negotiables are and what you can get away with every other day or weekly or fortnightly.
If you’d like more support the Feel Better Every Day online membership programme includes live weekly self care coaching calls with the group for new ideas, some coaching, experiential mind body practices and ongoing accountability as well as a welcome to come as you are.
The more we accept ourselves whatever we’re doing, the easier it is to calm the amygdala (the alarm bell of the brain that can get a bit overworked in these interesting times), get the prefrontal cortex (more evolved part of the brain associated with executive function so, better decision making, relating well to others, concentration etc) on board and, step by step, transform our lives (for the better).
None of this is do or die. Simply ways to make life easier and more enjoyable, setting yourself up to do EVERYTHING with more energy and support.