Daily self care is something that I am constantly refining. Because the beginning of the year for me and for many others can be quite a challenging, I believe that self care is something that we all need more than ever this time of year. Here are some of the habits that I have either started to do or have done for quite some time. I hope that some of these help you. I am a work in progress and some of these habits are sticking and others I need to re-integrate into my schedule.
This year I started to go to a gym again. This is something I hadn't done in around 20 years. It has been such a wonderful self care habit for me to start. I have found that I am motivated to exercise by going to the gym and also be being a part of a group class. These two factors keep me on schedule and going because I am accountable to the instructor and the group. I also am part of a daily Facebook accountability group for exercise which keeps me motivated as well. On top of this I put a red star on each day on the calendar that I exercise. I love seeing all of those stars! I find that I have more energy when I exercise and I love that there are classes that I can attend first thing in the morning. That is when I am at my best. I encourage you to find a way to exercise that you enjoy and that keeps you accountable. That is different for everyone, but I do believe there is a way for each person to find that will motivate them.
This is a great habit that I started 2-3 years ago. I now make a yearly goal to read 52 books. This means that I always have two or three books that I am reading. I usually read first thing in the morning and during work breaks. I also sometimes read in the evenings. I am going to need to change my schedule slightly because since my exercise classes are during a time when I would normally be reading or journaling. I think I might get up 15 minutes earlier so that I can set intentions, journal and read before I go to my workout class. I learn a lot from each book that I read and I feel like I gain new habits, skills or outlooks from each one. I sometimes buy my books or many times get them from the library. Reading is a self-care habit to me because I believe that learning is a way to care deeply for yourself.
Every day I try to set aside time before I go to the gym in the morning to write down my intentions for the day in my journal. Then, I write about my goals, gratitude and daily action steps in my Freedom Journal. This really sets the stage for the day and focuses me on what I need to get done that day to meet my goals. I know that this is a very important piece of my self care because it sets my mindset and it sets my actions for the day.
Saving Email and Social Media for the Afternoon:
This is a habit that I am not always perfect at. However, I know that on the days that I don't look at email, social media and messages first thing in the morning are days that I feel better, am more productive and less preoccupied with what is going on. This is such an important piece of self care because it focuses my day on what I need to accomplish to serve others and myself instead of what is going on in messages and social media. I believe that those things have their place and are wonderful tools but they can be so very distracting, especially first thing in the morning. This is something I am still working at and I'm not perfect! I'm better at not answering or posting anything in my FB check-in groups until around lunchtime, but often I still need to work hard to stay away from email earlier than that.
Creative Time in the Evening:
I was a graphic design major in college and I was fortunate to take a lot of art classes including drawing, painting, calligraphy and sculpture. I really enjoyed those creative outlets. However, with time I let all of those pursuits go. Lately I have been finding myself needing some creative time at the end of each day. For Christmas I got a great dot-to-dot book. I have started doing those, then coloring them in with colors and patterns and sometimes adding in painted scenes in the background. I also have a detailed coloring book and I have done some collages. Sometime this month I might try my hand at some sculptures as well. Find time to do something fun or creative each day and really restore your creative soul!
This is a monthly habit that I started more than a year ago. I found a fantastic local salon that does a wonderful pedicure that I really look forward to. As a chef I am on my feet a lot each day and find that this self care piece is really non-negotiable. I make sure to schedule in a pedicure every month and make sure that my feet are healthy and well taken care of. I also love the pretty nail colors!
Resting in the Evening:
For a workaholic like me, this is so new! I actually write "rest" on my to-do list otherwise in the evenings I find myself trying to do more and more chores. Now, at 7pm, my workday is done and that includes household chores. It can wait until tomorrow. This is a brand new mindset for me because I think that I was just obsessed with working so much. At 7pm I change into pajamas, read a book or join the family for an activity. I have also found that I love to watch historical documentaries on Netflix if my husband and son are busy doing Legos or playing a game. This is also a time to do my creative projects if I am so inclined.
I hope that some of these self care ideas helps you! Please let me know what you do for daily, weekly or monthly self care for yourself.
With lots of care,