In a day and age of extreme productivity, heavy schedules, and tons of stress, practicing self-care is more important than ever before. It is a great way to re-energize and unwind. It helps us clear our mind, so that our thoughts stay positive and our minds stay fresh. It can also help reduce anxiety, stress, and improve overall mental well-being. However, although many of us realize the importance of this, we still fail to actually implement this practice. Below are 4 tips you can follow to make sure you are taking enough time for yourself:
1. Schedule it in or put it on your to-do list.
Everyone keeps a schedule these days because there is no other way to keep track of the million things we are doing. Take advantage of this practice and actually schedule in self-care. Often, we are asked to do extra chores, or work longer hours than usual. When we do not have anything scheduled during that time, we usually say yes to these tasks. This can eventually lead to taking on too much.
By saying yes to everything, we end up with a very packed schedule, which can cause us to burn out. However, by scheduling in self-care, we are more likely to refuse other tasks that would interrupt our “me time”. This is especially true if you are someone who loves schedules and aims to complete everything on your to-do list! By scheduling it in, self-care will begin to feel like accomplishing a goal!
2. Remember to say “No.”
As mentioned, we are often asked to take on additional chores or tasks. Sometimes even leisure activities, such as a night out with friends, can feel like a burden. Still, many of us agree to these things because we feel bad saying “no.” It is time we realize that “no” is not always negative or wrong, and we should not feel guilty for saying “no.” Although we may feel bad letting someone down, it is important to keep in mind that we cannot help other people if we do not, first, help ourselves. If we take some time to explain our reasons for saying “no”, then others will understand.
Similarly, if you have agreed to take on a task and realize that you are short on time, or cannot meet the deadline, let someone know. Maybe you will buy yourself more time, or the task will be handed off to someone with more time on his or her hands. Regardless, you do not lose much by asking, but you can lose a lot by staying silent.
3. Do something constructive.
People may think that self-care means they are being unproductive. Consequently, they may avoid it. First, practicing self-care is very beneficial to our mental health, as it allows for relaxation and clarity in thinking. This, alone, is “productive”. Still, everyone is different. While watching a movie, light reading, or meditating, works for some; others may prefer doing what they classify as useful. There are many activities you can engage in for yourself, that are simultaneously useful, such as cooking a healthy meal, doing the laundry, crafting, or engaging in physical activity. Although some may view these are chores, taking the time to do something that is solely for your benefit can be relaxing and revitalizing. This way, you are not only relaxing; you are also getting things done!
4. Shut off your phone.
Many of us are constantly texting or receiving phone calls throughout the day. Moreover, with social media being so accessible from our phones, it is easy to get caught up in scrolling websites or obsessively checking our notifications. This is also an easy way to make time fly. A simple solution may be to shut off our phones at a set time everyday. Believe it or not turning your phone off so you can have some time to yourself is a great self-care practice. It doesn’t matter if you do this in the morning when you want to eat breakfast in peace, or in the evening when you want to unwind. By simply shutting off our phones, we may find ourselves with much more free time, and may even begin taking time for ourselves naturally and without interruption.
The next time you are overwhelmed with tasks and cannot find time for yourself, remember that you matter! If there is time for other people and other tasks, then there is time for self-care as well. This holiday season you will be surrounded by friends and family. which can be nice. But be sure to not forgo your self-care routine and get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season. By taking time for yourself, you are allowing your mind and body to revitalize. This may be the best way to carry on with your routine without burning out and negatively impacting your mental health. Remember: Every little thing you do for yourself counts!