We hear this term a lot. As women entrepreneurs and professionals, we have a pretty good idea of what this is supposed to be, right?
Taking care of ourselves, so that we can be our best, to do all that we do for those around us. Whether that be friends, family, business associates, customers, or the world.
I love the analogy of the oxygen mask on the airplane. Put your own mask on first, before helping others. You can't be of use to those you care most about, if you are compromised.
But this term can mean any of at least a hundred things, if not more. I generally consider myself pretty good at this practice. I manage my stress levels pretty well, I take time to relax and do things that make me feel refreshed and ready to take on the world again.
But there are always things we can do better, right? I recently went on my
annual vacation with my husband and a large group of friends. One of my very sweet friends took an "extreme close-up" photo of me and I realized those wrinkles really are starting to show up - even if I don't notice them daily. One of those self care things I need to do better is my daily skin care routine. I have all the products, but can't manage to take the 5 minutes each day to complete the process. I take my eye makeup off each night, this is only guaranteed because of my contacts. I would say once a week, I manage to wash my makeup off the rest of my face. Even less often, I then finish the process to take care of my skin before I go to sleep.
Why? Why can I not manage to fit this 5 minute routine into my day? I do a lot of other things. Simply, I felt it was something that could slide. Until I saw that pic. And still, it's a new habit I need to build into my routine.
When we think of "adding self-care to our routine" we often feel very overwhelmed. We feel like this is going to be one more item on our to-do list that isn't "necessary" or "high priority" and we portion that time for other things.
I believe, that self-care is very necessary and very high priority. Remember the oxygen mask analogy? We simply cannot do all of the things we want to do, need to do, are meant to do if we are not at our best.
And, I think that "adding self-care to our routine" is much like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
So, start with making a list. What are things that constitute self-care to you? My definition: things that make you feel refreshed, refilled, renewed and ready to take on the world again.
- enjoying your favorite beverage on your deck or patio
- clean eating
- chat with your best girlfriend
- a guilty pleasure movie or TV show possibly with popcorn
- a glass of wine, possibly with your best girlfriend or a special someone
- a great dessert
- walk outdoors
- retail therapy - a new great outfit or pair of shoes
- time off - vacation or stay-cation
- read a book
- listen to music
- sing out loud
- dance to your favorite song
The list could go on and on and on. My best strategy for eating that elephant is pick no more than 5 things that make you feel refreshed, refilled, renewed and ready to take on the world again.
At least 1 that is a "big" thing, something you aren't going to do every day or every week, but would be a special treat and schedule that into your calendar no less than once per quarter (3 months) or as much as say once per month. (like a massage, pedicure, facial or vacation)
1 or 2 "medium or small" things, something you can do at least once a month, or as much as once a week. For me one of my top ones is lighting several candles in my family room and watching one of my favorite TV shows with the lights off and candles lit.
1 to 3 "tiny" things, something you can do at least 3 times as week or as much as every day. Get a really great body lotion you can put on after every shower, pull out that skin care routine, and figure out how to do all of the steps, and DO THEM at least 3 times a week.
If you try to schedule them all at once, you may feel overwhelmed again. So, once you have your list of 5, add 1 item per week to your schedule for the upcoming 3 month period. If you start with the "big" thing, and work your way to the "tiny" things, they will be much easier to "digest".
I would love to hear your lists. Share in the comments what your 5 items are and if you already have any of them scheduled on your calendar.