There are 24 hours in every calendar day.
That means you have approximately 1,140 minutes to get things done. If you’re like most women, your daily to-do list is endless. We care for our families- our spouses, our children, and, for some of us, our aging parents. We’re responsible for feeding the pets. Making the appointments. Figuring out and cooking the meals. Errands. Shopping. Work obligations. Managing friendships. Most of us fall into bed exhausted at the end of every day, only to wake up the next morning to hit the ground running and start all over again.
Let’s be honest here: making time to take care of yourself can be hard, and the concept of self-care can be overwhelming when so many other things demand your time and attention.
We live in a world that glorifies the 24/7 hustle and frames self-care as an indulgence. The concept of self-care, especially as we see it so much on social media today, is that it is an occasional luxury, some expensive product or service, or a dream vacation to a faraway place. Self-care is sold as an indulgence, a break from everyday life, or something that is reserved for people with the luxury of money, time, or both. The first and most important thing to know about self-care is that it is not an indulgence. It is a necessity and should be prioritized. Self-care is anything you do for yourself to ensure that you are physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially healthy in your current life. It is whatever you’re doing today to improve your overall health and well-being, both currently and in the future.
Look at it like this: When you are driving and your gas light comes on, you know there is only so far you can drive before your car runs out of gas. So you make it a priority to get some gas before you’re stranded somewhere with an empty tank. Doing whatever it takes to make sure your car operates correctly is a priority to you. Aren’t you and your life more important to you than your car is? If so, why shouldn’t making sure you’re doing whatever it takes to make sure YOU operate correctly be way more of a priority than it is?
While self-care looks different for each of us, ALL of us should be doing something that contributes to an improved state of well-being. With some intention and practice, you can implement self-care into your everyday life in meaningful ways that make obvious changes. Some of these practices include:
Taking a walk around your neighborhood
Watching something funny
Hugging a pet or someone else you like a lot
Brain-dumping your thoughts into a journal
Doing a guided meditation or yoga session
Listening to music (bonus points for dancing and singing along)
Saying ‘no.’ To anything. You don’t need a reason.
Engaging in a hobby you really enjoy
Taking a relaxing vacation
A bubble bath or a home facial
Scheduling a professional salon or spa service
But. Just like self-care can feel good, be affirming, and immediately gratifying, other aspects of self-care and overall wellness can be a bit more complicated and uncomfortable. Remember- self-care is anything you do that will have a positive effect on your total health. Some self-care practices are hard. Some of the more difficult ones include:
Putting yourself on a budget or declining a purchase so you can meet your financial goals
Leaving toxic relationships (even the ones you enjoy being in)
Setting time restrictions for your social media scrolling
Cutting back on eating and drinking certain things
Saying ‘no’ even when you know someone will be upset with you about it
Putting down your phone/ turning off the TV and going to bed early
Missing out on that destination wedding or cruise vacation with your family or friends because it’s not financially smart for you to attend
Quitting a job that you don’t like
Making choices for yourself that disappoint people
How can you take care of anybody or anything around you when you are falling apart from neglect and exhaustion? We can’t avoid most of the stressors of everyday life, but we can make sure that we are our best, most healthy selves as we face these challenges. That’s why self-care is so important. Do your best to find creative ways to incorporate regular self-care into your everyday life- starting today. The future you will be so thankful you did.