Self Care: The Key to Healthy Living

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.

Self Care The Secret to Healthy Living, self love, health, valentine's day, balance, busy mom, sahm, entrepreneur, working woman, stressed, overwhelmed, mental health, destress,

The Backstory:

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.

Self Care The Secret to Healthy Living, self love, health, valentine's day, balance, busy mom, sahm, entrepreneur, working woman, stressed, overwhelmed, mental health, destress,

The Inspiration

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?

Self Care The Secret to Healthy Living, self love, health, valentine's day, balance, busy mom, sahm, entrepreneur, working woman, stressed, overwhelmed, mental health, destress,

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:

Reading

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.

Tactic One

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.

Tactic Two

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:)

So if reading brings you joy, but you have a hard time squeezing it in your schedule, give audio books or a nighttime routine a try. Let me know what you think!

Great Books

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’m also a huge fan of everything Brené Brown writes. Her books The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly are phenomenal.

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?

Self Care The Secret to Healthy Living, self love, health, valentine's day, balance, busy mom, sahm, entrepreneur, working woman, stressed, overwhelmed, mental health, destress,

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 🙂

Exercise

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.

Blogging

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:

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!

Self Care The Secret to Healthy Living, self love, health, valentine's day, balance, busy mom, sahm, entrepreneur, working woman, stressed, overwhelmed, mental health, destress,

Question:

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!

52 thoughts on “Self Care: The Key to Healthy Living”

  1. Paula, Terrific newsletter packed with info and tips. THANKS! My self-care disappeared sometime in my 30’s with kids, career, etc. At some point, one does not even miss it–a trap. In my 50s now, and rather than focus on regret, I’m seeking great resources to get me back on track. Your info and energy will definitely be included 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading, Jennifer! And I am so glad to hear that you’re rediscovering time for self-care. It’s never too late! 🙂

  2. Colleen Mitchell

    I think I used to suck at self-care, especially in college. Nowadays I have a solid morning routine, though, so I’d say that my five are my morning routine, walking, reading, cuddling/time with my husband, and writing.

    1. I’m so glad you’ve found a way to start incorporating self care into your routine; it’ so important. And that’s a GREAT top 5 list 🙂

    1. That’s a fantastic list, Kat! You’re absolutely right; caring for ourselves is KEY. 🙂

  3. I blog about self care too. I’m pretty sure my chronic illness happened after years of not practicing self care. Breaks my heart to see how many frazzled moms there are out there!

    1. Wow – I’m glad that you’re practicing self care now at least! And I’m so glad that you’re spreading the message of its importance with your blog, too! I need to go check it out now 🙂

  4. Thank you for this reminder to take care of myself daily, and to make some time to read!! This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but like you said, finding every excuse in the book over why I don’t have time.

    1. Absolutely! I think a lot of us struggle with this. We just need to literally set aside time in our day – schedule it in if we have to – to read, paint, drink a cup of coffee and read the paper, etc.

  5. Congratulations on following through on your new year’s resolution and taking time for yourself! I fall in the “I strive to make time for myself but can’t seem to find the time category”. I like the idea of brainstorming ideas of self care and implementing them daily – even if they are little things like removing all my make up at night – LOL. Thanks for the tips and free worksheet!!

    1. Oh my goodness; that’s so frightening! I’m glad that you’re taking care of yourself now. And SO happy you’re okay!

  6. poshponytails97

    This was an awesome post! It is so easy to forget that taking care of ourself if the most important. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! And I agree – it’s too easy to forget. Sometimes we need these little reminders 🙂

  7. Great post with a lot of truths! I just started reading for fun again and am on my 4th book of the year (big deal for me haha) so far. I also launched my new blog about a month ago! Maybe I’m somewhat on the right track. 😉

    1. Wow – this is fantastic Kaycee! It sounds like you’re really discovering what brings you joy 🙂 I love that!

  8. I didn’t do this very much when I was younger and the kids were little, Wish I had. So every woman should practice this. Makes for a better wife, mother and just all around person.

  9. You always write the best blog posts! Blogging is my version of self care, it brings me joy, it’s fun and somewhat relaxing, and I really enjoy doing it. Reading other blogs is fun for me also.

  10. I literally told someone that they couldn’t pour from an empty pitcher earlier today when talking about self care….great minds lol. I love how doable these are, thanks for sharing!

  11. I can’t wait to really delve into your blog. I am convinced that self-care is an important aspect of everyone’s life. My problem is usually over-indulgence or never following through. I would love to hear your thoughts on that!

    1. Thanks, Mikki! Welcome 🙂

      I would recommend finding an “accountability partner” of sorts. Try reaching out to a friend, sister, your mom etc. and ask them if they want to take a self-care challenge with you. Essentially, you would find different ways to check in on one another to ensure you’re making time for self care every day.

      This might include you and a girlfriend getting coffee and your nails done twice a month, you might meet with your neighbor everyday after work to go for a walk, or you might simply send a text to your sister that says, “I’m starting my meditation in 5 minutes; don’t forget to do yours!” By holding each other accountable, you’re ensuring that you get in that self care, PLUS you’re finding time for building relationships, which is the #1 bringer of happiness 🙂 I hope this helps!

    1. Those are great goals! Maybe there is a way that you could fit reading in before bed and a lunch-hour walk.

  12. I love this post, you definitely can’t pour from an empty glass. I was told many years ago to imagine a pyramid. I needed to put myself at the top and pat attention to myself and look after myself first, only then was I really in a position to care for anyone lower down the pyramid.

    1. What a great visualization to help put things into perspective. Thanks so much for sharing that, Wendy!

  13. “You can’t pour from an empty glass.” Gosh I love that!! I have to remind myself of that all the time. I’m such a workaholic and I have to stop myself from working so I can just breathe!

    1. Yes, I can completely relate, Nicole. I reached major burnout about six weeks ago, however, which woke me up to the importance of stepping back 🙂

    1. Yes! I love walking, too. It’s such a great way to relax, take in some fresh air, and enjoy the sunshine:)

  14. I can sooo relate to this! I’ve noticed even my self-care has slowly become checking things off a to do list. My focus this month is to pull back and make time for downtime.

    1. Hi Kelsey! Yes, it is so easy to fall into that pattern. I’m glad you’re going to pull back a bit and take care of YOU this month; prevent burnout before it happens 🙂

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top