Michael and I were able to take a mini vacay last week to Arizona. He won manager of the year for his hotel last year, so it was a work vacay in honor of all the winners across the country, and it was wonderful! I’ll write a post soon to share that trip.
But what I really want to talk about today is self-compassion and self-care. Many people talk about how important self-care is, but when it comes to real life, it’s pretty hard to make any time for relaxation. Between working full time, raising two tiny human beings, being a wife, caring for two cats, owning a home and two cars, prepping foods for various dietary needs…. there’s just not much time for self-care, so I understand! Nevertheless, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we just can’t care for others or be very productive.
When people talk about “self-care,” I think most of us automatically envision massages, pedicures, weekend beach getaways, drinking wine by the pool with our best friends… but reality soon sets in and we realize that there’s just no time for that stuff (on most days.) So how do we incorporate some amount of self-care into our daily lives while still living in the reality of our own high stress, uber busy worlds? Below are 10 tips for working in some self-care and self-compassion into a busy life when anxiety is through the roof and time is lacking.
1.) Minimize the “musts.”
What are your true priorities, and can you realistically fit them all into your life right now? It’s important to prioritize and balance our lives. Try making a list of all the things you think are must-haves in your life. Number them in order of importance. For me, these things are family (kids, cats), my husband (I need alone time with him, too, not just family time), work, blogging/continued learning, our home, life’s daily tasks (cooking, cleaning, laundry). When I put these in order, I realize that it’s okay to leave the laundry for the night and spend time with my husband.
2.) What makes you happy, fulfilled, excited, relaxed?
Incorporate these things into your life on a daily, weekly basis! My list consists of a number of things, all of which bring me some amount of peace, calmness, and joy: learning, cooking + creating new recipes, blogging, journaling, gardening, yoga, dance, being outside and in nature, socializing with friends, TV shows that bring me comfort (HGTV, Fixer Upper, and Food Network), and less clutter in my home/work spaces. These are random parts of life that bring me excitement, relaxation, and joy.
3.) What Gives you relief from anxiety and obsessive thoughts?
For me, it’s cooking, coloring, organization/less clutter, socializing with friends, and music. Cooking is very therapeutic for me, as is coloring. Organization helps to keep my living space and my head a bit clearer. Socialization helps keep me out of my head. And music keeps me in touch with my true emotions and reminds me that emotions are so important.
I know what you’re thinking, but really, as hard as it is to actually commit to, it can bring such peace and calmness into your life.
5.) Do silly things.
Find something mindless and silly to do on a regular basis – maybe it’s dancing to fun songs, giggling over cat videos on YouTube, or watching your favorite comedy movie. Whatever it is, do it often and laugh hard.
6.) Eat regularly and eat all food groups.
Nutrition is super important for our physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. Eat regular meals and snacks. Don’t follow the latest fad diets or cut out food groups. Listen to your body and your own cravings, and honor those! If you listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs.
7.) Move your body in a truly joyful way.
Joyful movement is great phrase. It means moving your body to keep it fluid, flexible, and strong. If you enjoy dancing, do that. If you love bike rides out in nature, do that. If you look forward to zoning out on the treadmill with your favorite movie playing, do that. Whatever it is that brings your body and mind joy, do that!
8.) Remove negative people.
It’s hard to do, but it can be a great way to care for yourself. Cut out harmful, negative relationships that drag you down and disconnect you from who you really are. If you constantly feel a cringe when you’re around certain people, do your best to disengage with them, even if you can’t cut them out completely (as in perhaps they’re a co-worker or a neighbor.)
9.) Routine + Spontaneity
Create routine so you know you have the time do all the necessary things, but also leave room for spontaneity. And if you already did #1, you’ll know when you can make time for random fun and adventure.
If you’re at the point at which just thinking straight has become impossible, you’re feeling depressed every day, or your anxiety is out of control, it may be beneficial for you to be on a medication for at least the time being. Talk to your doctor and/or mental health provider to see if this an option for you.
Kristen Bell is one of my favorite celebs – I’d say people, but lets face it, I don’t personally know her, so that’d be weird. But this video of her, her honesty, brings me to tears. Probably because I relate, and having someone so… beautiful, cool, and popular describe what I’ve been through, is just… helpful. So if this is you, too, chat with your doc because you might be struggling with a true mental illness. (On a side note, when I can, I’ll probably write a much bigger, more depth post about depression and anxiety.)
Life is about so much more than just work, work, work, clean, clean, clean, stress, stress, stress. If it feels like that is all you’re doing lately, take a step back and read above 🙂 See you soon!