Getting caught up with life can be really easy, and sometimes we forget to take a few moments of the day to spend time with ourselves and do things we enjoy. I know I’m not alone in thinking about how we could all be implementing more time for self-care on a regular basis.
I sometimes think, “There’s just not enough hours in the day to be productive and manage my self-care…” If I have to drop one thing, I typically skimp out on self-care because it can feel like I’m wasting time when I could be doing something productive.
Self-care doesn’t have to mean face masks and mani/pedis. Of course it can—that stuff is important too. But to me, caring for the self holds a much deeper value, and centers around health and wellness, both mental and physical. It’s essential that we treat our bodies with the respect it deserves because it works tirelessly to keep us alive and well—every second of every day. For me, self-care includes a lot of gratitude—for my body, the earth, my accomplishments, the people in my life, and even material things. Without gratitude, there is no happiness. And without happiness, what is the purpose of life?
What self-care means to me…
- Turning down plans and going to sleep early
- Thorough dental hygiene
- Plucking my eyebrows
- Lighting candles in my room
- Listening to ocean sounds while I study
- Trying a new recipe
- Drinking water
- Listening deeply to music
- Indulging in dessert
- Selecting fresh produce
- Taking pride in what I wear
- Sipping hot tea
- Going for a swim
- Brushing my hair
- Standing in the rain
- Hot showers
- Spending time with my best friends and loved ones
- Dancing like nobody’s watching
- Loving others….
The point I’m making is that self care is anything that makes you feel good and brings you joy.
If you take notice of some things on my list, it includes activities that many engage in on a regular basis. Of course, most people brush their teeth twice a day (right?!) but I consider that time sacred for me, almost meditative. It feels good and it helps me to express gratitude for my body and what it does for me. It also stops me from taking healthy teeth, in this case, for granted. And that’s the whole point. People wonder how they can incorporate self-care into their day when they barely have time for anything aside from work. My self-care is specifically woven into my day from the moment I wake to the moment my head hits the pillow, despite not having time for a yoga session or a facial. And that’s okay. We are only human. But we do have the ability to be present, and will definitely enjoy life more if we are.
Being present as often as possible allows every task we do to become self-care! That might sound silly, but let’s really think about this. We shower because we want to smell good, but it feels so good, too. The same goes for brushing our teeth and washing our face. You might drink coffee to wake you up, but maybe you can try really feeling the coffee cup in your hands, and taking in the rich smells of the cocoa bean, expressing gratitude as you hold back the temptation for the first sip. That sounds rejuvenating and significantly more rewarding than just mindlessly throwing back some caffeine to get you prepared for uncomfortable clothes and rush-hour traffic that brings you to a desk where no one smiles, and everyone’s priority is to make more money.
It doesn’t have to be that way. And that’s why being present and expressing gratitude in every moment possible helps make every moment part of a self-care ritual.
It isn’t easy. It takes time and practice, but the beauty of it is that you can start right now. Sometimes I fall into old habits of craving mental stimulation to distract me from my to-do list, so I’ll reach for social media to mindlessly scroll. But then I think about life, and the beauty I’ll be missing around me—people and experiences that won’t be here forever. So I refrain from browsing my social networks, and I try to treat life like it’s special, because it really is.
Photo: Susie Pinon; The Creative Exchange via Unsplash