In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I’m not the best at taking care of myself. That might sound shocking coming from someone who writes about self-care and its importance. But the truth is, I’m a caregiver first and much better at ensuring that other people are well taken care of.
A perfect example of this is my current nightly routine. I leave the office, get in my car, make sure my grandmother eats dinner and is comfortable before bed, and then head home, where I will likely sit on the couch and forget to eat dinner myself. Or, an equally likely scenario, grab something quick on my way home that is less than healthy.
So, why is finding time to take care of myself such a challenge these days? A quick Google search returns tons of articles about how the millennial generation is the best at taking care of themselves when it comes to beauty buys, fitness apps, and wellness practices. And, sure, I’m pretty good at these kinds of things, too, as evidenced from my frequent trips to the infrared sauna. But I struggle with work-life balance, stress, getting enough sleep, and proper nutrition. Eating on the go has always been one of my biggest vices, along with skipping meals.
In pondering why taking care of myself seems so much more of a challenge these days (aside from the obvious, like having no time and burning the candle at both ends), I came across this article from Medium about what the term self-care actually means. Hint: it doesn’t exactly translate into binge-watch Netflix and relax all day. This article makes a good point about self-care actually being more like self-discipline. So, even doing things you don’t necessarily want to do, like going to the gym, for instance, are forms of self-care because they benefit your future self.
If you’re like me and balancing a million and one things plus caring for a family, partner, or just even struggling to care for yourself, here are a few tips to help you manage your own well-being:
- Break up your day: I’ve started to utilize my Google calendar way more and have my whole day broken out in terms of what I need to do. After I complete a task on my to do list, I give myself a break to take a walk, run an errand, or even eat lunch.
- Find ways to make mundane tasks enjoyable: We all know we’re more prone to procrastinate if it’s a task we really don’t want to do. I try to schedule my day in a way where there are hard tasks, medium tasks, and easy tasks on my to-do list. Having a mix of tasks makes it easier for me to get motivated and feel more accomplished by crossing those easy things off my list first. If you’re still struggling, find an accountability buddy to check in with at regular intervals.
- Make yourself a priority: Last on the list, but arguably the most important, remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. While I say this to myself often, it’s not the easiest to implement. Try doing things you know you need to do for yourself first, like making meals a priority in my case.
What does taking care of yourself look like to you?