In my 20s and 30s I used to brag about my invincibility. I would go non-stop and blithely pronounce to anyone who would listen that I intended to “sleep when I’m dead.” I know, I know. I was young and naive.
The fact of the matter was that I rarely, if ever, took care of myself. I was always focused on goals, achievements, and meeting the excessive expectations I had of myself.
I had a family to take care of! Dreams to achieve! Things to conquer!
My high tolerance for discomfort meant I juggled all the balls I had in the air—but at the expense of being a well-rounded human being. And, as you might expect, I crashed.
My crash took the form of lethargy, health issues, weight gain and an inability to focus. It was pretty clear to me (and anyone else who knew me) what the problem was. I never took time to myself. I was involved in too much and trying to be wonder woman. Self-care was a concept I didn’t embrace.
These days it is a huge part of my life, though. I take better care of myself, scheduling time alone, for writing, reading, exercise and yes, for fun. I got to know myself better and know what I needed—not just to function, but to flourish.
If you are experiencing your own personal crash, I have a few easy suggestions for you to get you on the road to wellness and spending more time on yourself.
Self Care For Beginners – 4 Easy Suggestions
1. Convert your bathroom into a makeshift spa.
This one tiny shift really helped me up my relaxation game. The idea came from a girlfriend of mine who went so far as to schedule her bath time eon her family calendar. Genius! I take baths pretty religiously now and it is such a great recharge. Before getting into that zone, it’s really important to clear the area of all mayhem first (kids toys, dirty laundry, etc.) and to stock up on items that will take your routine to the next level. Pick out a selection of essential oils and body scrubs in scents you enjoy (like lavender, rose oil, or chamomile or lemon verbena). Then draw a warm bath, sink into it, and let Mother Nature do her botanical best for you. (If you have small children, I recommend a big fat lock on the door, as well.) I like to also indulge in a heavier body lotion and overnight conditioning treatment for my hair. I wake up the next day feeling deliciously pampered.
2. Relax outside.
When was the last time you had a real moment by yourself? Probably before you had kids or that demanding career opportunity. If there’s nothing on your evening agenda (a small miracle in and of itself) try clearing your mind, pouring a great glass of vino and setting out dozens of tea lights. Your favorite tunes, or the natural harmonies of a summer evening will sound especially sweet when they have your full attention. Or just take a moment to open your mind and meditate. Let the ideas flow and try to squelch the inevitable to-do list that pops into your head. Just. BE.
3. Go on a reading binge.
As any self-respecting escapist can tell you, stealing away time to lose one’s self in a magical tale is second to none. If you are able, design your own reading nook and fill it with the necessary accouterments like pillows, your favorite beverage, a comfy throw and most importantly, a large stack of books begging to be read. Even if you can only steal away 15 minutes to lose yourself, the overall benefits will be worth it.
4. Get physical.
Okay folks, let’s get real about this. Purposefully carving out time to keep your body healthy will benefit you for years to come. This is not a news flash, yet we all struggle with this. Exercise releases all sorts of happiness-producing chemicals in our brains and can even enhance your life: food tastes better, drinks go down a little smoother, and you sleep more deeply. It is a vital part of self-care and one we women tend to forgo first in lieu of all of our other responsibilities. We need to think like a Kardashian and work out like IT’S OUR JOB. Not only will we have more self-confidence, we’ll also be a lot nicer. (Because nothing makes you grouchier than when you discover you need to go up a clothing size…again.)
Just making slight changes in your lifestyle and weaving in a bit of time to yourself will work wonders for your spirit. Self-care isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity. Take care of YOU!
What small ways do you care for yourself? Leave a message in the comments!