|Posted on 27 May, 2017 at 2:55|
"I have no time for myself! If only! When would I get time for that?"
NO TIME is often top of the list for reasons as to what is stopping us from taking time to care for ourselves. Have you ever found yourself:
>> feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired and still needing to push through because other people are depending on us.
>> feeling like a "busy fool" running around the whole day and still with an endless to-do list at the end of the day.
>> feeling pulled in all directions by demands on your energy by your children, partner, or work colleagues.
>> feeling too busy to take a break, all you can do for yourself at the end of the day, is collapse into the couch and zone out in front of the TV.
>> feeling as though you're waiting constantly for life to "return to normal" even though it never does.
Lifestyle factors can take a huge toll on our ability to find time for ourselves and as a stay-at-home Mum to three school going children, self employed, running my own business and volunteering with a local community based organisation I completely understand the challenges of trying to find time for myself in my very busy week. Having suffered with chronic depression however, I also know how important selfcare is for my mental and emotional wellbeing and for building resilience to the tough times that happen to all of us in our lives.
When I fail to take time for myself I find myself more irritable, stressed, tired and grumpy. Those that I care about don't get the BEST VERSION OF ME that they deserve. At the end of the day I realise I have been snappy with my kids or my husband over the slightest things.
My motivation for my work suffers and I find myself without the energy to give my full focus and attention to what I am doing. This is totally unfair to my clients. As a Holistic Therapist not only should I practice what I preach, but if I'm not taking the time to care for myself I CANNOT CARE FOR OTHERS.
My MINDSET is off kilter. I tend to feel an overall dissassifaction wtih life and a pessimistic mindset kicks in ("it's always like this", "life will never get any better", "this always happens to me").
Eventually if I fail to take steps to address the situation, my PHYSICAL BODY suffers. My immune system cannot cope with the high stress levels and I pick up every cold, flu or virus going. This is a vicious cycle because when I get sick I need to take time off - time that I really cannot afford to take because people are depending on me and I have so much to do!
Taking some time for myself each day (even only 15 minutes some days) has incremental benefits and sets me up for a totally different outlook on life. When I put myself top of my priorities I have found I:
>> feel focused,
>> feel refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated
>> feel better about myself and tend to have a kinder inner voice,
>> have a more positive mindset and outlook on life,
>> feel my energy expand and I have an innate ability to get things done!
Noticing the difference some self care makes to my day I have taken steps to ensure that I don't let a day pass without some "me time" factored into my priorities.
However I have also struggled to implement a self care plan that works in my busy life. With young children, appointments, work and volunteering factored into the mix I have learned to be strategic with my self care.
Here's what I've found:
=> I have to PLAN IT!
It doesnt' sound pretty but if it's not planned it won't happen. How often have you found yourself saying I'll do it tomorrow, next week, next month.....never?
If this is you then I recommend to clear on your day to day routine, what happens for you each and every day, what is happening this week?
When can you find 10 minutes for yourself?
I've found getting up 30 minute earlier has worked for me. I get a quiet house and I spend 15 minutes with gentle Yoga stretches and then 15 minutes in mediation or self healing.
By the time my husband's alarm clock is going off I'm making the coffee and getting the lunches ready for school!
=> DECIDE on WHAT needs ATTENTION!
Self Care covers a lot of different areas of lifestyle. For me finding some gentle relaxation, calm and focus is what makes a difference to my day, but everyone's self care needs will vary.
What area of your life is in most need of attention right now?
>> If it's physical exercise then what can you fit in? A walk in the fresh air, going for a run, getting out of the house for headspace? If you cannot leave the house because there is no one to mind the kids, then can you do something early in the morning while they sleep, or better yet can you include them in your physical activity?
>> It you need to fit some relaxation or clarity into your day and de-stress, try some meditation or healing time. What can you do for yourself? Listen to a guided meditation, give yourself some healing time and listen to your body?
>> If your diet and nutrition require attention keeping a food diary to note the choices you are making and setting aside some time for planning meals and having only the things you "should" be eating helps.
This is another area I have struggled with for myself, but I've found that taking time to care for myself with gentle exercise and meditation has helped me to feel better, and this in turn helps me to make healthier choices in what I eat. So this may be an area you can build up to.
=> MEASURE Progress!
I finish my self care each day with writing in my journal and I also pull a daily Angel card to help me to stay focused and positive.
How can you track your progress? Do you journal or simply a tick on your calendar? Recording your progress and measuring your self care activity you will begin to notice a pattern to your moods and how you are feeling. Those weeks that you take the time to care for yourself will feel very different to the weeks that you do not.
The key to progress is to start SMALL and build up over time. Little and often is better than big and erratic. Your mind and body will respond to any gentle attention you give it on a daily basis and will begin to expect that tender loving care, so it is better to begin with what you can, even 10 minutes will begin to make a difference when you are CONSISTENT with your practice.
Who doesn't love a treat every now and then!
Something I use for myself as a reward system is to pop €2 in a jar each day I have practised some healing or meditation. At the end of 30 days consequetive practice I have €60 to spend on myself. I usually book a Healing session or massage or something as a treat and as a complement to my own self care practice. Thsi doesn't replace my own self care routine, rather it acts as a reward for staying with my promise to myself.
The greater reward of course is the positive benefits that I get from caring for myself, but it's always nice to have something to look forward to.
How can you reward yourself?
=> REVIEW and ADJUST
Keeping track of my self care practice in my journal helps me to review my routines and when situations occur that interrupt or affect my self care it enables me to see what is working for me and what needs to change. For example late nights play havoc with my ability to get up at 6am, so I tend to limit any plans that will keep me up past ten o'clock. Obviously there are execeptions to the rule, it's nice to have a social life too!
If you're tracking your progress, don't give up if you've missed a few days. Instead, take time to review what happened to prevent you from having that time for yourself and decide how you can adjust your routine to suit the changes.
Life is not fixed, so our self care practice needs to evolve with it!
Once you've begun any new practice in your life it can be hard to stay with it when unexpected changes to our routine occur. Life has a habit of getting in the way, but if you have set yourself a small goal staying with it is important to seeing a change in how you feel.
As well as the physical, mental and emotional benefits that self care gives to us having a goal or a focus in mind is a great way of staying on track.
There is a deeper aspect to self care. Taking time for ourselves shows a healthly level of self esteem, self-love and self-belief. It shows deep down that we respect ourselves and know that we are worthy of our time, care and attention. Having lived with chronic depression I also know that a lack of self care and taking time to care for our basic needs to feel Loved and nurtured can be indicitive of a much deeper blockage that may require help and support to heal. If this is the case, there is no need to suffer any longer than you already have.
If you struggle to implement self care into your life, consider asking yourself why it is that you cannot give yourself this time?
If you require support or help with identifying what is blocking you from self care, self love or feeling worthy to take some time for yourself then schedule a self care support call with me. I am happy to chat with you and help you identify what is getting in the way to giving yourself that time, care and attention.
In 30 minutes I will help you:
=> to identify what is the core problem or the root to what is preventing you from taking time for yourself,
=> to figure out what is currently blocking you from taking steps to address the problem,
=> understand how to take time for yourself guilt free,
=> and you will discover what ONE STEP you can implement RIGHT NOW to make a difference to how you are feeling.
Don't block yourself from having the life you want. It is possible to feel better and to put your self top of your priorities, I know because I've been where you are and I've felt how you've felt; but I also know it is possible to get help and to change you life.
Schdeule a self care call with me bit.ly/selfcarecall
What's standing in the way of your self care? I would love to hear how you find time for yourself in the comments below.