Self-care? That’s for people with plenty of time on their hands, right? Who has time to indulge themselves when they’re running a family or a business? Don’t they know it’s impossible with a workload like yours?
The truth is, self-care is one of the most underrated and dismissed ideas, but it can make the difference between operating at 80% (and resenting it) and operating at 100% (while feeling good and relaxed about it). You can run a car for 100 000km without a service, but what condition would the engine be in? If you service it regularly you’ll get better performance, for longer. People are more complicated, sure, but the principle is the same.
What can self-care look like? It looks like taking a few moments each day to do something nice for yourself. When you’re flat out caring for others, it can feel like you’re last on your own list. So, care for yourself. The first thing to know is that self-care doesn’t have to take long. It can be a 5-minute activity that you slot into your day, or a 30 second pause in between appointments. If you can incorporate one or two of these ideas into your day, you’ll start to feel better and have more to give to yourself and others.
5 minutes or less
- Have a cuppa outside in the sun (leave your phone in your pocket!)
- Do some gentle stretching
- Take your boots off and feel the grass between your toes
- Do the crossword in the paper
- Give yourself a quick hand or foot rub (use the fancy lotion you’re saving for special occasions)
- Think of three things that you’re grateful for
30 minutes or less
- Read a book that isn’t work related (fiction is great for unwinding)
- Take a nap
- Make a simple, fresh meal and eat it at the table
- Kick a footy around with mates or your kids
- Pick up that craft activity you never have time for
- Take a hot shower, get comfy and listen to your favourite music from your teenage years
Other self-care ideas
- Take a look at your diary – can you schedule your appointments, so you have more free time?
- Go to bed early so you have more energy to face each day
- Go for a walk to a coffee shop and watch the world go by
- Finish that chore you’ve been procrastinating on, so you can cross it off that list titled, ‘I should’
- Book a massage session
- Replace your old holey socks with new ones
- Take up a sport or an outdoors hobby
- Do something, anything, that makes you feel good
When you take the time to do something kind for yourself, you honour the hard work you put in every day. It doesn’t have to be much, it doesn’t have to take long. Find a few moments to say, ‘you’re doing well, I’m proud of you’. You’ll feel so much better and you’ll be in the right space to offer your best to others.