Any person or company in the business of self care can tick off the reasons why you should be practicing saying “no” to things, trying to sleep enough, booking that massage, eating a little better, etc. There are a lot of reasons why we should be doing this. How to do this is a little trickier. Here are four common self care hangups and some ways around them.
1. You Don’t Have the Means
Self care can be... expensive. At least the kind that gets advertised on instagram. But there’s more to taking care of yourself than a 90 minute massage or booking a fancy vacation. When you get to the heart of it, self care is really about making tomorrow feel a little easier. This is why binge watching Netflix and eating garbage, while super fun, is not something I would label as self care (come at me, haters).
Simple pleasures that cost nothing can make a huge difference. I happen to LOVE waking up to a clean kitchen, and for that matter, a clean house. If I choose to clean instead of watch TV or check Facebook, my tomorrow is better. Other free or next to free things: baths (epsom salts are super relaxing and cheap), walks in nature, going to bed early, lying on the floor with your legs up a wall, clean sheets, and a good book.
2. You Don’t Have the Time
I recently tried an exercise where I wrote out every single thing I do in a day for a few days. From there, I circled all the things that could be outsourced. It was pretty enlightening.
There’s a lot that only you can do, but there’s quite a bit that someone else can do. Maybe you ask your partner or your coworkers to help you with work you’re doing on the job or at home. Maybe you hire a chef to cook two weeks worth of dinners for you to freeze, or you have your groceries delivered, or you hire a maid. None of these have to be all the time, they can just be one time deals so that you have a little more time to be present.
3. You Don’t Have the Means OR the Time
If you are reading this, you have the time. Stop reading. Put your phone down, get off your computer, look away from a screen.
Close your eyes. Take five deep breaths. You will feel better. And that was free.
P.S. You just did yoga.
4. You Have a Huge Family
And you probably have a million places to be where everyone you’re seeing is important and nothing is really negotiable. I have been there and it is tricky business. Before we had children, my husband and I ran from family party to family party. It drained us completely, and we were very grateful to hibernate come January. Once we had our daughter, we saw how much it drained her, and we made changes.
A somewhat easy solution is to host a big get together and call it a day. This is contingent on everyone getting along. Not you? How about a January gathering when everyone is less burned out? Or you could alternate locations every other year. You might have to get creative, but you can do it.
Also, if a portion (or all) of your family drains the heck out of you, here are some tips to help you feel a little less exhausted afterwards. Remember to breathe deeply, sit or stand up tall, stand with both feet firmly planted, and in the words of Lin Manuel Miranda by way of Aaron Burr “talk less, smile more.” You can do this.
I hope 2017 ends well for you, and you feel a bit more firmly rooted in yourself. Remember to breathe. Put your dang phone down every now and then. Make eye contact with people. And hey, maybe do some yoga.