Taking care of my full self requires a multi-layered approach. This is not just exercise and rest, rinse and repeat. To take care of ourselves is not an afterthought or side hustle. It’s investing the same energy and attention we might give to a beloved pet or family member. We invest attention, energy, and resources into care and feeding of others. We deserve to do the same things for ourselves.
Oftentimes we run ourselves ragged – traveling for work, meeting the needs of family and friends, investing our time in activities that deplete us. It’s easy to do – our culture offers innumerable opportunities to entertain, distract, or sell us something. Making time to focus on deeply caring for our bodies and ourselves has become an intentional act.
Caring for myself I like to start with basics. What does my daily routine look like and how could it better serve me? Am I losing time to scrolling and finding myself short on time later in the day? Yes. Completely, yes. Then I need to make a point to get to bed at a reasonable hour. That means a good night’s rest.
The next piece I notice is that I’m eating later in the morning, which gives my metabolism a late start. The best way to shift that is to eat earlier. That means meal planning. Outlining what I’m going to eat the day before, or even the week ahead (particularly when it comes to dinner time), is an investment in my wellbeing.
We’re only two steps in and you’ll notice we’re talking about planning ahead, not aftercare. This is not recovery after you’ve already run yourself ragged. It’s noticing your patterns and taking the necessary steps to rearrange your day so that it works best for you. It can be incredibly frustrating to find yourself out of groceries or running late. But what if instead of finding fault in a single day you found a new routine that better suits your rhythms? Scheduling breaks when you need to rest keeps you from doom scrolling for half an hour. We all know our devices leave us mentally drained. As opposed to resting which allows us to come back refreshed and rejuvenated.
The strategies above might not work for every person. But I have found that when I take the urgency out of making a quick decision now, I make better choices. It’s hard to decide what our next right thing is when we’re hungry, tired, or worn out. When I feel better I get make a healthful decision with future me in mind. Being intentional in my choices my days go a lot more smoothly.
When I make the time for myself, I decide when and how I need to be taken care of best. Investing my energy to make that happen I just feel better. I am better equipped to meet my own needs and that leaves me feeling more relaxed, happier, healthier, and pleased with the quality of my life. Small changes really do make a big difference! Let me know what you’ve tried recently that simply made your life better in the comments.