How to Find Time for Your Own Self-Care
First of all, we need to ditch the idea that self-care is egotistical and selfish.
It’s essentially the routine maintenance that you would do on your car. It’s the mental, physical and emotional ‘maintenance’ that we need for ourselves. To keep us operating at our best.
And if we don’t take care of those little signs of normal ‘wear and tear’, it eventually turns into bigger and more costly issues – for us and those we care about.
Anything that you do for you could be considered self-care. The problem is that we don’t take enough time to participate in self-care routines, we don’t prioritize them and sometimes we only think of them as something we should have been doing - once we’ve hit rock bottom (hindsight’s 20/20, right?!)
You already know you feel better when you’re taking care of yourself.
You know that you’re a better partner, parent, friend, family member, employee etc. when you’re operating at your best.
But are you in tune with how to actually get yourself operating at your best?
If not, start here.
If you already know what works for you, what makes you your best, then continue on…. because the following information relates to how to carve out the time in your busy schedule to make these things a priority in your life.
Make Self-Care A Priority
First off, you need to make sure you’re thinking of your own self-care as a non-negotiable. A high priority in keeping your ‘engine’ running at its best, without running it into the ground.
You’re reading this article, so you already know that self-care is important. But dig a little deeper and think about your reasons ‘why’, your drive and inspiration for wanting to work on your self-care more.
Once you’ve done this, you will find it easier to become motivated about prioritizing the required time for your own self-care.
Somehow our priority lists include everyone but ourselves. But if you really think about it, when you neglect your self-care you also neglect the others that depend on you if you can’t be the best version of yourself.
No matter what you have going on in your life, the key is to make self-care a priority. Not only for the sake of yourself, but for those you care and love.
Eliminate Time Wastage & Find the Time
Even the busiest of busy people can still find time for self-care practices. It’s about weeding out the time-suckers in your life.
Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes wasting time can be a form of self-care. A chance to unplug from responsibilities and a form of escapism. But make sure they are healthy choices. Time spent bingeing Netflix, scrolling mindlessly through Facebook or checking your emails again can be huge time-suckers that will then prevent you from having the time to use on your own self-care priorities.
I’m sure you already know what time-suckers are going on in your life right now, but perhaps you don’t know just how bad they are? If not, try these ideas:
- Go without your time-suckers for a set period of time (day, week or month) and notice how much extra time you have and how much better you feel,
- Conduct a time audit of how you’re currently spending your time,
- Focus on your self-care practices first as a priority, before scrolling online, watching tv or whatever your time-sucker might be.
When you take a step back and look at how you're currently spending your time, you will be surprised at where and when you can fit it in.
Set up a Simple Self-Care Routine
It’s likely that your daily routine already includes a few self-care habits and you don’t even realize it. Do you exercise, read or get some alone time?
You manage to make time to brush your teeth, right? It’s because you’ve decided it to be a priority and you’ve made it a habit. Something you do without thinking.
So in reality, you just need to add those extra ‘self-care priorities’ into your normal routines so that they become a new habit for you.
A self-care ‘routine’ doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing, day in and day out. That might work for some, but others feel the monotony and get bored. If you need to switch things up, go for it. This is all about what works best for you.
Once you know what self-care practices you need to include in your life, then check out this article for a simple way to set up your own self-care routine:
Schedule Your Self-Care
Now that you’ve decided on making self-care a priority, you’ve eliminated time-suckers and you’ve made a self-care plan for yourself……now you need to schedule it in. Regularly. And do it.
Easier said than done right! I know, I know.
Look at your week and see where you can fit in the routine that you came up with above. Some self-care practices take 5 minutes and some take hours. Like a puzzle, fit all the pieces together and you’ve got a solid plan.
Be clear about your intentions, not just with yourself, but with others too! Say no to things that will take you away from practising self-care and respect the time you have scheduled.
For people with extremely busy schedules, and constant demands, breaking up your self-care routine into smaller increments throughout the day might be easier. You might include 20 minutes of exercise in the morning before the kids get up, and a bath or mindful practice in the evening before you go to bed? Think of times during the day when you have just 5-10 minutes for a little self-care and do what you can.
Your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it!
Making Time For Self Care
Don’t allow time constraints to fool you into thinking a self-care routine is impossible. Again, you should be a top priority or nothing else is going to get your best efforts.
It has a flow-on effect and the sooner we start taking better care of ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally, the sooner we will enjoy richer and fuller lives.
Self-care can be the difference between constantly feeling overwhelmed, unhealthy and stressed to feeling happy, healthy and refreshed. And who wouldn't want that?
Looking for more inspiration on self-care? Check out the following: