So you understand the importance of self-care and you love the way you feel when you are consistently reaching your self-care goals. You have even taken the time to think about the self-care activities that interest you the most and have started doing those activities on a regular basis. There are people you communicate with regularly who help keep you accountable to your self-care goals. However, from time to time, you experience days when you don't feel like "self-caring." In those moments, you struggle to find the motivation to keep up your self-care routine and all you want to do is lie around being lazy.
We have all been there. In fact, as recently as Tuesday, I was there. When I woke up Tuesday morning I thought about the work related tasks I needed to take care of for the day and I also thought about my self-care activities. The self-care immediately went to the bottom of my priority list. There was no motivation whatsoever for me to complete even one of the two self-care activities I had in mind. I immediately started beating myself up about not being accountable and letting myself down for not wanting to do anything self-care related. I moved throughout the day just fine and all was well, or so I thought. Wednesday was one of the most stressful days I have experienced in a while. Between scheduling clients, planning my wedding, having conversations with my future in-laws, catching up on paper work, and being fully present for my clients in session, I could barely keep my head above water. In the midst of all that, I was again being hard on myself for not doing any self-care. By the time I got home, I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open let along think about self-care. Rather than continue to feel down, I did the following things to change my perspective:
Shift Disempowering Self-Talk:
The conversation going on in my head on Tuesday and Wednesday was not the most encouraging. I remember thinking "How can you slack on your self-care when you tell others to make their self-care a priority?" "Maybe if you would have focused on you, instead of everyone and everything else on Tuesday, Wednesday would not have been as stressful." I realized that this type of self-talk was not healthy and that it is okay if everything on my list of things to do does not get done. I would rather have a few things not done than be completely exhausted and drained by the end of the day, even if those things were self-care related. Letting go of the attachment to "getting it done" is self-care in and of itself and some of the pressure I was feeling was lifted.
Recognize The Small Stuff:
Although in the moment, it did not feel like I was taking care of myself, when I took stock of the day I was able to pin point numerous moments that I actually did complete some self-care. One of those moments was taking 5 deep cleansing breaths on Wednesday during the peak of my stress. Immediately after those breaths, I felt energized and refreshed. That is self-care! Sometimes, especially when we are busy, we tend to overlook the small things we do to love on ourselves. I'm sure that if I took the time to think about it, I could come up with five other self-care activities I did on Wednesday.
There will be times when you are not motivated or excited to focus on self-care. Acknowledge those moments and be at peace with them. They will come and go. Realize that in "doing nothing" you are doing something. Binge watching your favorite TV show (mine is Being Mary Jane at the moment) while curled up on the couch can be considered self-care. Taking a nap is self-care. If the mere thought of interacting with others causes you stress, turning off your phone or not immediately responding to emails is also self-care. Limiting distractions so you can focus on you is self-care. Self-care does not always have to include going for a run, attending a yoga class, or reading an empowering book. It can simply be lying on the couch or in bed with the covers over your head for awhile. Your self-care is just that, yours. You can define it however you want. As long as it adds back to your overall health and energy, it is self-care. Self-care routines are just as unique as we are.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you hear yourself saying "ugh I don't wanna do self-care!"
Peace, love, light