Once upon a time, I was diligent about working out and scheduling my own time. It was completely, non-negotiable. If my schedule changed, I rearranged things to still make sure it happened. Whether it was a quick walk on my lunch break, a Friday night dance class or a Tuesday morning pilates class, I always squeezed in time to move. To ensure I ate well, I spent Sunday afternoons prepping meals for the week. It didn’t feel selfish it just felt like a necessity.
But then, something happened. We had kids. I stopped working a traditional job. My routine completely changed. For years now it has been a struggle to figure out how to find ‘me’ time again, that non-negotiable time in the day where I do something just for me. Suddenly, everything took precedence over my own self-care.
As it turns out, I’m not alone. I hear this over and over again whether I’m just talking with friends, or working with nutrition or Pilates clients this is the universal challenge. No contest. Whether it is because of kids or not, something happens as we get older, we all let other responsibilities take over our life.
Then we go on social media and see that everyone else is complaining, er, commenting about what they can’t do, don’t have time for and then we feel we are normal. We shouldn’t be taking care of ourselves. That isn’t what we do.
We rush out the door in the morning with disheveled clothes, hair thrown in a ponytail and guzzling the newest Organic Valley protein shake and we are good, because that is exactly how our neighbor, our friends and our co-workers ran out the door too.
I struggle with this too.
Yes, that was me the other morning, barely dressed, hair in a ponytail and getting my son to his preschool about 10 minutes late. Makeup?! Puh-lease.
But, I realize that if I don’t change this now, I never will.
I’ve since double-downed on prioritizing time in each day to move, journal, sit and read, or whatever it is that I feel will help me feel more whole and present. I want to be in this for the long haul and enjoy my time, be more present and patient with my kids, have energy at the end of the day and generally, pain-free. That means a little investment each day into taking care of this body I was privileged to inhabit.
I map out my day, my week or month and make sure the non-negotiables are in there. It may change from day to day or week to week, but something must happen each day. For me, I find my best way to keep it consistent is to make it a ritual. Each day might have a specific morning ritual and then each day of the week might have it’s own theme whether it’s Sunday food prep day or Thursday walk with a friend. Whatever it is, I try to keep it consistent.
What is your motivation for taking care of you? First ask why. Then determine your self-care non-negotiables. The simple things you can do to take care of you. Maybe it’s a 3-minute morning ritual of sitting with your cup of tea and looking out the window. Maybe it’s journaling. Maybe it’s your stretch routine to keep your back happy. Maybe it’s committing to walking with a friend each week.
You get the idea.
Next, put together a schedule for yourself. Create a block of time where you take care of you. Make yourself an appointment. Many actually.