Have you put self-care on your to-do list this year? Did you practice self-care on yourself last year? You really should, as it will both benefit you and the people around you.
You see, you are more than a mother, you are more than the partner to your other half, you are more than a friend; and you are more than a colleague to the people at work. You are your own person, and your needs matter. But here’s the thing. Many of us let our needs fall by the wayside. We are too busy caring for the needs of others, whether that’s looking after our elderly parents, supporting our younger family members, and being that listening ear and active support to any other people who demand moments of our time. We care for others because we should, and that is okay, but in doing so, we neglect to care for ourselves.
And when we don’t care for our own needs? We get tired and stressed. Maybe we become resentful of the way other people encroach on our time. We miss out on those things that could benefit our lives. And we start to feel the physical and mental toll on our body and mind. As a result, we are not at our best, and that is reflective on our self-esteem, as well as on our family and work life.
Are you relating to what we are saying thus far?
At the time of writing, we are at the start of a new year, although it doesn’t matter when you are reading this article. As you are making your to-do lists for the weeks or months ahead, you need to timetable self-care into your itinerary. You will suffer if you don’t.
By putting time for self-care on your to-do list, you will…
Be more resilient to life’s stresses and demands
As you won’t be as physically or mentally depleted as you would otherwise. You will have the capacity to deal with the challenges that befall you, and you will have the ability to make better decisions in dealing with the situations you find yourself in.
Start to value yourself more
And that will improve your self-image, giving you the extra impetus to care for your needs on a regular basis. You will find the ‘you’ inside yourself again, letting you see the person that is more than the labels that are imposed upon you.
Be a better caregiver
As being less drained, you will have a better capacity to look after the people around you. Your renewed confidence and vigour will inspire others, you will be less likely to snap at people who need your help, and you won’t be forced to ignore the needs of others because you are dealing with the problem of burnout. Everybody will benefit because you have taken time to care for yourself.
So, what do you think? Are you ready for what life and people throw at you, or are you too tired to cope? Do you value yourself or has your self-esteem taken a knock? Are you the ‘carer of the year,’ or have you neglected the care of others because of exhaustion? Only you can answer, but if you haven’t looked after your own needs properly, it’s probably time you did. But here’s the thing. Where and how do you start, and what should you do with your time? Here are some suggestions to inspire your to-do list.
Make time for yourself each day/week
No matter how busy you are, you need to make time for yourself within your schedule. We appreciate it’s not always easy, but even if you have to get up a little earlier, or go to bed a little later, ensure you get some me-time into your itinerary. You might want to cut back on activities that aren’t a priority in your life. You might want to start saying ‘no’ a little more when people try to fill up your time. And you might want to enlist support from others, such as asking your partner to look after the kids while you take time out for yourself.
Think about the things you enjoy
What activities hold value for you? What will help you to relax? You need to find more time to do these things, so as you look at finding windows within your busy schedule, consider filling them with those things that will benefit your downtime. It might be going for a walk somewhere scenic, having a long hot soak in the bath, or taking part in hobbies that have long since been neglected because of your busy lifestyle. It could be one of any number of activities, so do yourself a favour, leave the treadmill of chores and routine, and start to have a little more fun and r&r in your life.
Consider your future.
Part of self-care is caring for your future. If you are too busy concentrating on the needs of others, and if you are too often surviving life on a daily basis, you might consequently neglect time to care for your future needs. Therefore, timetable anything that will prosper your future. You might want to take the time to complete Aston University’s MBA to further your career and business enhancements. You might want to book in times for all of your healthcare appointments, ensuring you are in tip-top shape for many years to come. And you might want to make lifestyle changes to ensure good long-term health, so you should come up with a healthy eating and fitness plan to put on your to-do list. Don’t let time pass by because of your busyness; your future depends on it.
Set short-term and long-term goals
Using some of the suggestions we have made thus far, or perhaps with something else in mind, set yourself goals that will benefit your life. So, you might want to set a goal to spend more time with friends each week, or you might want to set a financial goal to buy yourself something that will benefit your life at the end of the year. By setting goals, you can prioritise your life around the things that hold value for you, so even when you are busy and worn out the rest of the time, you will always have something to look forward too. And just knowing that you are doing something for yourself can often make all of the difference when you’re busy looking after the needs of others.
Let other people sort themselves out
Caring for others is fine and should be applauded. However, not only are you doing yourself a disservice (depleting time for your own needs), but you are ultimately doing them a disservice too if you care too much! Why? Because the more others become reliant on you for their needs, the less able they will be to do things for themselves. If they have the capability to look after themselves, then start to reduce the level of care you provide. Your partner can cook his own food, your kids can manage their homework themselves, and your friends can deal with their personal issues without having to offload to you every five minutes. As we alluded earlier; sometimes you have to say ‘no’ to others. They will learn how to cope without you, and you will finally get some time to yourself.
Stop worrying about being selfish
There is nothing wrong with being selfish once in a while, especially when it benefits you. Too often, we feel guilty if we aren’t around to help others, and we feel we are lacking as a parent, friend, partner, or colleague. But as we are trying to emphasise in this article, you are important too.
Don’t let guilt or shame eat you up if you take time out for yourself. It’s time to change your mindset as well as your weekly timetable, being kind to yourself internally, and telling yourself that yes, it’s okay to have me-time occasionally, regardless of whatever else is going on around you. You need it, so accept that fact, no matter what other people think, and no matter what that little voice in the back of your head tells you. Provided you are still able to give other people some of your time around your me-time, there is no need to feel bad about yourself at all!
Is it time you put self-care on your to-do list?
You really should, especially if you have related to anything we have said in this article. If you feel you have neglected your own needs, do those things that we have suggested, and focus on yourself. Take those scenic walks. Book yourself a spa day. Treat yourself to something good to eat. Give yourself a hug. And do anything that will make you feel good today, and do those things that will bring to life your dreams for the future. This is your life, and as you only live once, start to prioritise your life, so you have no regrets or resentments later on.
So today, make that to-do list and with self-care in mind, include anything that will enrich and prosper your life. Take care, and thanks for reading!