As females, we all have our own routine to get us through the day: put on makeup – or just make sure the skin is hydrated, create (mental) lists for the things to do, solve all the tasks assigned at work or prepare all the projects you have at Uni, screen the fridge to see if there is enough food (you know, in case the Apocalypse happens today), make time to go to the gym, meet your friends, get ready for next day, etc. And repeat.
We all have this check list of things we consider important TO DO every day.
In this constant race to achieve things in life how much time do you allocate for yourself and for your well being? And I’m not talking about the things you do to have an irreproachable image of yourself to present in front of others in all environments: family, couple, workplace, social groups. I’m talking about your emotional and mental well being, the things you do just because they make you feel good and boost your stamina. I’m talking about self-care.
In my case, after a period of burnout, I realized the most important person in my life is me. And if I’m not OK, I cannot offer much to my loved ones or at work. So, I started to put time for myself on my daily routine.
If you are familiar with the concept of Time Management, you know there are 4 quadrants to help you divide tasks based on importance and urgency. I decided that, for the long run, what is important to my emotional and mental health should be a priority followed by whatever is urgent for that day.
You may be thinking: OK, this sounds great in theory, but how exactly do you put it in practice?
In my case – and I’m not saying this is universally the right approach for everyone – I have my me-time in the mornings. It’s easier for me this way because I’m a morning person. Before I open all the tabs in my mind with the things I need to do for the day, I start with ENJOYING a cup of coffee which is part of my everyday routine. During that time, I talk to my family and close friends. As I’m living abroad, for me it’s important to keep the connection alive and not take them for granted. Sometimes, I also do some personal stuff that I willingly assigned to myself for that day. For example, I’m writing this at 6am in the morning because my mind is clearer now and not cluttered with everything else I need to do today. Other mornings, I go to a class at my local gym.
I also like to read a lot and I don’t necessarily have the time to do it as much as I want to. My solution, read while I’m commuting and book some extra time for that in the weekends.
So, see? Self-care is what you do every day to help you go through the day more smoothly and self-consciously.
What I wrote above it’s not meant to be some expert advice on how to plan your priorities. It’s intended to highlight what I discovered to be important for a balanced life that can only start with self-care. And this is something we tend to forget at times.
If there is one thing to take away from my text, it should be to add the small and simple habits that bring you joy and fulfilment to your daily routine. Once you know which these are, the how to make them happen will be just a matter of adjustment and flexibility.
Take care of yourself!