We all know that Self-Care is good for the body, mind, and spirit, but how much of a priority are you making it in your life?
When I ask my clients to write out a list of their top five priorities (Work, kids, their marriage, their pets, volunteering, etc.), many times they look down at their paper and see that they forgot to add themselves to their own list.
When they do manage to squeeze self-care on to their list, the next hurdle they tell me is “time.”
I don’t have time to exercise.
I don’t have time to prepare healthy meals.
I don’t have time to meditate/write in my journal/quiet my mind.
We all have the same 24 hours.
We all get to choose how we want to spend it.
For many us, we choose work as our number one priority because the income we make ensures a roof over our heads and food on the table. This is totally understandable.
But what about the rest of your day?
When clients tell me they don’t have time for themselves, I invite them to keep a Time Journal. Much like how a Food Journal increases awareness in what you’re really putting in your mouth every day, a Time Journal is also an awareness tool to see where you are really spending your time.
Many Time Journals tend to include a lot of “screen time” in the form of social media and TV (your phone and tablet count, too!).
One client of mine kept a Time Journal for a week and saw that she was spending three hours a day on the computer between Facebook and browsing online shopping sites. This was a big eye-opener for her. She remedied this by removing Facebook as the home screen on her computer. By not going on Facebook first thing in the morning, she was astounded to see that she got everything done by 8:00 am, which in the past would have taken her until 11:00 am. By making this one change, she now had three hours to use on herself.
Here are six other Time-creating Tricks you can experiment with:
1. Instead of getting sucked in when scrolling through social media, save the videos you want to watch or the blog posts you want to read in a folder to view/read after you’ve taken care of yourself first.
2. Record your favorite TV shows and watch them later when you can fast-forward through the commercials.
3. When waiting for your kids while they are at sports practice, walk the track yourself or march up and down the bleachers rather than just sitting.
4. Listen to your favorite podcasts while exercising, commuting, or cooking.
5. Practice saying NO to volunteer requests unless they don’t impact your self-care routine.
6. Wake up even just fifteen minutes earlier so that you can quiet your mind with meditation, a deep breathing practice, or simply setting your intentions for the day.
When it comes to Self-Care, you don’t find the time—you make the time.
Because you are worth your own time.
Because you are worth caring for.
If you think about it, if you don’t take care of yourself and your body, who will?
If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that my coaching practice is focused on helping people free themselves from their joy-crushing diet mentality mindset. Though I am anti-diet, I’m all for supporting a client’s desire to lose weight and improve their health by addressing their habit of emotional eating. What I’m not into are shortcuts and quick fixes.
If you have a past history of dieting like me, you know all too well what happens when you go on a crash diet, over-exercise, or rely on shakes, pills, or cleanses to drop pounds quickly. Those actions are not sustainable and you either quit, or you quit and you binge in response to the immense deprivation you just put yourself through. You eventually end up where you started—or heavier than before. This is why taking shortcuts is the long way around, and the only thing that ends up lighter is your wallet.
I know, I know… you’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true: When it comes to making long-term changes in your body, there are no quick fixes—it has to be a lifestyle change. Any new habits you choose to practice have to be consistent and sustainable in order to keep the results you create. As you begin to develop your desired self-care routine, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I feel mentally and physically awesome when I do this?
- Am I willing to do this for the rest of my life to maintain the results I create?
Now, when you first begin something, like adding in exercise after you’ve been sedentary for a while, then yeah, it might not feel awesome right away. In that case, give yourself time for your body and mind to adjust before evaluating its place in your life. Otherwise, if the answer to these questions is NO, and you’re going to eventually quit, then why put yourself through it in the first place? Why not spend that same effort and energy on a strategy that works? What’s that you ask? The answer is consistent, loving self-care.
Listen, you are worth way more than shortcuts that don’t work. Time is going to pass anyway, so instead of taking two steps forward and three steps back the quick-fix way, I invite you to focus on taking consistent half-steps forward by adding in small, sustainable changes to your self-care routine. Please don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change everything all at once! Just focus on adding in ONE THING and keep practicing that until it becomes automatic. Then add in another and repeat the process.
In a world of perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking, believe me when I tell you that taking half-steps forward is absolutely good enough. Taking those half-steps forward will lead you to a very different place than if you keep taking several steps back, or if you don’t take any steps at all.
What is the half-step forward you’ll be taking today? Whatever it is, know that it is good enough. And know that you are more than good enough. You are awesome! I invite you to treat yourself as such—today and every day.