On the road, life can get a little hectic. A task I thought would take 5 minutes ends up taking an hour. Soon it’s time for bed and I realize I didn’t get through half the things on my list. Often, the things that slip between the cracks are the things that help me feel my best. Working out, eating well, meditating and just generally taking care of myself. After letting my self-care slip and feeling ungrounded, I decided something needed to change. I needed to make time for myself.
Simple routines are easier to stick to
When I first sat down to create my ‘self-care routine’ it became incredibly over-complicated. By the time I’d ticked everything off, it was noon and I felt more stressed than before. I soon learned that it’s not about always doing everything but just doing the basics every day and fitting in extra things when I have time.
I figured out what my basic needs were and I put a routine together that could take 30 minutes or as long as I wanted. Once I had my routine, I needed to make sure I stuck to it. While there are exceptions as unexpected things pop up while traveling, I made sure that my routine was pretty non-negotiable.
Meditation is the perfect way to ease into the day
When I first wake up the day seems daunting. I don’t want to get out of my comfy bed and I want to relax a little longer. This is the perfect time for meditation. Before I become overwhelmed by my to-do list, I sit (or lie) quietly for at least 10 minutes. Being in a half-awake state makes it far easier to focus on my breath and be present.
Move like you mean it
Starting the day with movement helps me feel motivated and productive. If you’ve ticked off your workout before 9 am then you’re probably feeling pretty good about the day already. I used to force myself to do a specific type of exercise because it was ‘leg day’ and often that led to me feeling unmotivated to work out. Now, I just get up and I move in whatever way that feels good that day. It helps me to become more in tune with what my body needs. If I’m feeling stiff or achy, a nice gentle yoga practice will do the trick. Other times I am ready to get my heart pumping so I do a 20-30 minute HIIT workout or Ashtanga yoga. Your workout doesn’t need to be an hour at the gym, 20 minutes of good exercise is enough.
Eating well is the key to happiness.
“You are what you eat” is so true. When traveling, it’s easy for me to slip into eating badly. I’ll find myself grabbing a meal from a fast-food place or snacking on chips during long car journeys. While this in itself isn’t bad, doing it often leaves me feeling lethargic and unhappy. I’ve noticed that when I eat foods that are alive and vibrant I feel the same. My favorite way to start the day is with a nice piece of fresh fruit—my favorites are papaya or mango. Oatmeal is my go-to if the weather is cool, or a nice refreshing smoothie bowl for days at the beach. When I fill my body with the nutrients it needs, I am a lot more able to face the challenges of the day ahead.
Why it’s important that you make time for yourself
While traveling poses unique challenges, everyday life can also mean we have no time for ourselves. There are work and family responsibilities that have to be dealt with. And when work finishes, it can be hard to do anything other than sit in front of the TV. While it may seem impossible to find the time, having just 30 minutes for yourself each day will really make a difference in your physical and mental wellbeing. When we don’t take the time to fill our selves up, we can’t be fully present in life. Creating a self-care routine doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. By picking a few things that are important to you and sticking to them you’ll start to feel more confident, happier, and better suited to take on challenges. Self-care is about looking after the only mind and body that we have. It might mean you have to say no to other things but your own wellness has to come first in your life—not family, not friends, and not work.
Also by Louise: Here’s What Happened When I Turned Off Technology One Hour Before Bed
I Booked A One-Way Ticket To Live Vanlife In Mexico. Why It’s *So* Liberating
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Photo: Marion Michele on Unsplash; Louise Baker; Brenda Godinez on Unsplash.