Do you make self-care a regular part of your routine?
Or is self-care something you strive to include in your life, but you can’t seem to find the time?
Perhaps making time for self-care feels too “selfish” or “self-indulgent” when you have a family, job, friends, and other responsibilities on your plate.
Am I close?
While we might practice self-care every once in a while, I think many of us either don’t have the time, feel guilty about “indulging ourselves,” or both. We pack our schedules with work, meetings, volunteering, and after-school activities. And if we miraculously find a moment of “downtime,” we feel guilty for spending it on ourselves.
And while this is an all-too-familiar situation for many of us, that does not make it okay. In fact, it’s a problem. So today I’m here to help us take a step in the right direction, and start incorporating self-care in our lives every day.
Yes, you read that right. Daily self-care.
As I shared in an earlier post, the past seven months have been an uphill battle for me. I’ve struggled to find that elusive work-life balance with my new career, while also trying to rediscover the sources of joy in my life.
Quite frankly, finding time for self-care was one of the last things on my radar; I was simply pushing through each day trying to make it to the next. Averaging four to five hours of sleep each night, my idea of self-care was sleeping six hours straight over the weekend. Not good.
My New Year’s Resolution, however, is to find a healthy and sustainable balance this year. And I’m approaching this major lifestyle shift in stages. This helps prevent me from getting overwhelmed, throwing in the towel, and returning to the all-work balance to which I’m accustomed.
Last month my goal was to implement and stick to a strict 40-hour work week. And I strove to kick my inner perfectionist to the curb by embracing the phrase, “done is better than perfect.”
Was it easy? Nope.
Was I perfect at letting go of my perfectionism? Ha. Nope.
But you know what? It was better. And that’s better than nothing. I’m not giving up yet.
As I move into month two of this work-life balance challenge, I’m shifting my focus to self-care. And as I’ve gotten to know you, my wonderful readers, and learned about your busy schedules, your incredible drive, and your dedication to those in your life, I have a feeling that you might need a little self-care challenge yourself.
Am I right?
Let’s face it. We play the role of spouse, sibling, child, parent, friend, and employee to so many people. We give of ourselves constantly. And we rarely put our needs first.
But as I’ve said before (and will probably say again): You can’t pour from an empty glass.You can't pour from an empty glass. #selfcare #selflove #recharge Click To Tweet
When we give of ourselves entirely without taking time to recharge, we’re setting ourselves up for burnout.
Because the fact is, when we reach this level of exhaustion, and we’re running on fumes, we can’t be there for anyone.
As they say, you’re meant to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. Spoiler alert: it’s true.
I was inspired to dig further into the realm of self-care after listing to Gretchen Rubin’s latest episode from her Happier podcast. She interviewed Tanya Coke, who recently wrote a piece for the Washington Post called, “Watching my daughter’s resilience lead her to the right path.” (It’s a truly powerful story; I highly recommend reading it!)
In the podcast, Tanya spoke about the importance of practicing self-care on a regular basis. And what’s more, she explained that this practice was not only critical for her own well-being, but also for her family’s health.
As we all know, emotion is contagious. And when our life is filled with stress, anxiety, and/or depression, these emotions can unintentionally spread to those around us. But with that being said, the reverse is also true; when our life is filled with joy, love, and balance, that too transfers to those we love.
Tanya explained that it took her over a year to realize that self-care was key to finding her balance, but once she finally did discover that secret, it made all the difference in her well being.
And the thing that I love the most about her self-care strategy is how easy, accessible, and doable it is.
So what is this magical strategy, you ask?
5 Happiness Boosters
Tanya recommends finding five things in your life that truly make you happy. (And as a gentle reminder, while you ponder these five things, remember they need to make YOU happy…stop worrying about everyone else for now.)
These five things don’t need to be major events; they simply need to lift your spirits and make you feel like you.
Once you highlight those five things, the next step is incorporating at least three of them in your life every day. By practicing this strategy on a daily basis, you’re ensuring that you fill your life with things that you value and the things that bring you joy.
What are your five things?
I spent some time reflecting on my top five bringers of happiness, and my list includes:
I love reading. Getting lost in another world, another life, or an alternate reality is such a great way to escape the everyday stresses of life for a while. I love learning new things and exploring fresh ideas. Simply put, reading brings me joy.
Unfortunately – like many of us – I also feel like I don’t have enough time to read. And when I finally do sit down with a book in hand, I worry about everything else I should be doing instead.
To combat these obstacles, I’ve turned to two tactics. And they have been incredibly helpful in getting me to read more while shutting down any sense of guilt in the process.
First of all, I established a bedtime routine, which builds in time for me to read before going to sleep.
I’m a big fan of nighttime routines, (you can read more about that here) and I’ve found that setting aside 10-15 minutes to read before turning out the light is incredibly beneficial. Not only am I getting this valuable time to do what I love, but I’m also quieting those racing thoughts that otherwise keep me up at night.
My other strategy for finding time to “read” is through audiobooks. I am a huge fan of audiobooks, because you can “read” just about anywhere. Driving to work? Cooking dinner? At the gym? Just turn on your phone and start listening. As an added bonus, this makes tedious tasks like sitting in traffic or cleaning the house much less tiresome.
My favorite way to find books for either tactic is through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. You pay $9.99/month for unlimited books, which you can either download on your e-reader OR (my favorite part) listen to them FOR FREE with the audible app.
Between these two options, I’m getting through at least 6 books a month, which is well worth $9.99 to me:)
If you’re looking for some good book recommendations, I’ve been hooked on Gretchen Rubin’s work recently. Some of my favorites include, The Happiness Project, Better Than Before, Happier at Home, and The Four Tendencies.
I also just finished Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, which completely turned my world upside down in regard to the way we show one another love. (Keep an eye open for a post about this, his ideas really resonated with me)
If you’re interested in checking out the Kindle Unlimited option, you can find the information here.
And if you want to give Audible a try, you can download your first TWO books for free, and cancel your subscription at any time. What have you got to lose?
Creativity & Crafting
I recently wrote a post about the importance of creativity in a person’s life. It turns out that taking time to create is not only an important means of self-expression, but it also improves your health. (One more reason to get out the art supplies!)
I love to make things. I always have. But for the past several years I pushed that passion aside as I hunkered down into the daily work grind. Upon rediscovering my passion to create, however, and opening up an Etsy shop, I’ve experienced an incredible feeling of happiness. Whether it’s creating planner templates, designing T-shirts, or bullet journaling, this creative outlet brings me a continuous sense of fulfillment.
Is creativity an important component of your life? Have you taken time to create recently? If you want to reawaken your creative side, but you don’t know where to begin, check out my post on Bullet Journaling. It’s a technique that allows you to express your creativity and stay organized, which is a double win in my book 🙂
Daily exercise has been a key source of my happiness for years now. In addition to the standard health benefits, being active also helps me stay centered, focused, and calm. Because having that stability is so important to me, I make time each day for exercise – even if that means getting up ridiculously early to fit it in.
If exercise brings you happiness, but you have a difficult time maintaining a routine or finding time to get active, check out my post on sticking with your fitness goals and/or consider using a fitness tracker to help boost your motivation.
While blogging certainly coincides with my bigger need for creativity, I’ve decided to keep the two categories separate. This is because in addition to providing a creative outlet, blogging also provides me with a feeling of accomplishment as I write each post, and sense of purpose as I communicate with you, my readers.
Blogging pushes me to learn new things and explore different possibilities. I have the opportunity to make connections with people from all over the world. And most of all, I get to share my strategies for productivity, time management, and balance, in hopes of making your day-to-day a bit better.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, do it! I got started working with WordPress and Bluehost, which is a great set up for me. And if you’re looking for any tips as you get started, check out these posts all about blogging:
- How to Overcome Writers Block
- How to Boost Your SEO
- Collaboration Ideas for Bloggers
- How to Use Google’s Keyword Planner
- 3 Easy Ways to Make Money Blogging
- How to Avoid Internet Distraction
Spending time with Ryan and Bruno
My last – but certainly not least – happiness booster, is spending quality time with my husband and Bruno. Ryan and I are both quite busy, so when we spend time together, whether we’re heading out for “date night” or simply lounging on the couch watching Amazon Prime, I can feel myself recharging. And with Bruno curled up beside me on the couch, life doesn’t get much better.
Research shows that one of the most important contributors to a person’s happiness – both introvert and extrovert alike – is their relationships with others. And by regularly making time for these important interactions, we’re nurturing our souls while strengthening our connections. It’s another win-win.
Now, according to Tanya, by incorporating at least three of the five happiness boosters in your life each day, you allow yourself to recharge, rejuvenate, and experience your life at 100%.
So that’s my goal for February: practice three of my five happiness boosters every day.
Will you join me on this journey?
Click here to get your free self-care worksheet. It’s filled with 40 self-care ideas to help you highlight your 5 happiness boosters today!
What are your five happiness boosters? Are you good about self-care? Do you battle with guilt or lack of time when you try to practice self-care? If so, how do you combat these challenges? Let me know below!