With everything you have going on, it can almost feel indulgent to take care of yourself. But it’s absolutely necessary to practice good self-care in order to continue doing everything you need and want to do.
Imagine you are the owner of a thoroughbred racehorse. You are going to do everything you can to keep your horse in top condition so it can perform to its maximum potential. You’re going to feed it the healthiest food, make sure its physical training is consistent, have the vet see to all its medical needs, give it the best living and sleeping conditions, make sure its trainers and handlers are treating it well… you see where I’m going with this. You need to treat yourself like the valuable living thing you are.
Schedule time to take care of your physical and emotional needs so you can perform at your best. Especially if you are taking care of others (children, parents, patients, etc) or are under a lot of pressure and stress at work/ school/ home, be sure to take care of yourself first.
Daily and weekly: Schedule time to exercise, meditate, stretch. And I mean, actually schedule this time. Block it into your calendar. These times are non-negotiable. Treat your exercise time like an appointment that absolutely cannot be missed.
Also schedule time to shop for and cook healthy, nutritious food. Have a plan for your meals each week. You don’t necessarily have to plan down to each ingredient for every meal (although if you have the discipline to do that you will probably save money on grocery shopping by buying only what you need). Just knowing what you are going to make each day, taking into account the amount of preparation time you’ll have each day, and making time to buy the ingredients will prevent those last minute takeout meals and will be better for your health.
Monthly: Make sure you’re scheduling fun social events, meetups with friends and family, days out, and other chances to switch off and get out. The constant treadmill of working all week and doing chores all weekend gets old fast and leads to burnout. Make sure you make time for fun.
Semiannually, annually, and as needed: These are the ones that are easy to let slip by, but will catch up with you if you don’t do them. See your doctor and your dentist regularly. See your therapist when you need to. Do your physical therapy. Get a sports massage. Get your vaccine boosters. Keep up with your physical and mental health needs.
Imagine someone you love very much; of course you want them to do everything they can to take care of themselves. Now imagine that person is you.
It’s easy to let self-care fall to the wayside sometimes when we are so busy. Make sure you carve out the time to take care of yourself properly.