Quick! Grab your to-do list and tell me what’s on it. If you’re like most adult humans on the planet, you’ll rattle off rather mundane tasks: Balance the checkbook. Pick up dog food. Return library books. But have you jotted down any joyfully rejuvenating activities to take care of yourself? No? Let’s change that immediately.
Your mission this month, should you accept it (and I highly recommend you do), is to make self-care a priority. I double-dog dare you to add a minimum of one self-care task every time you make a new to-do list.
Before you cop an attitude and claim you just don’t have the time (while secretly thinking you’re too selfless for it), pause and consider this: the better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of all the people you think are a higher priority. When you run around putting everyone else first, to the point that you’re frazzled and out of sorts, than no aspect of your life, including your relationships and yourself, get the benefit of your full attention.
Take a lesson from the youngest people in your life. You may think they have it easy when it comes to making self-care a priority—after all, they have fewer responsibilities and stressors. But these things are subjective, and they come at all ages. Young people must show up every day ready to figure out how to function in their world—in school, on the playground, or just walking down the street.
When they’ve had enough of this daily grind, they stop and turn their attention to whatever activity feels right. The super young may simply have a breakdown and cry like the babies they are. As they get older and develop better coping skills, they might retreat to a space that’s just for them—a good old-fashioned blanket fort or the backyard swing. They know what they need, and they make it happen—aka self-care.
The point of self-care is to restore your sense of well-being. This is crucial to understand. Self-care isn’t indulgent or selfish. It is invigorating and revitalizing. When young people emerge from their blanket fort or jump off that swing, they’re ready to take on the next lesson life throws their way.
What fills your energy tank back up? What do you need to do for yourself to put your best foot forward? If you’re not sure, the answer is more than likely the thing you always say you miss doing. For example, I miss soaking in the bathtub every once in a while. And I miss going for walks with my friend, Corey.
Whatever you miss doing, put that activity on your to-do list this week. Make it a priority, and take note of how you feel afterwards. I already know the answer for myself. And I bet you do to—that’s why you miss it. 😉
If you’re still questioning the validity of this self-health habit, here are a few SRP oldie but goodie posts to back me up:
“Stress: Take Control or It Will Control You.” In this post I look at how our choices in an average day—from start to finish—make us the boss of our life and the master of our stress. Systems and structures that you put into place in your daily routine can make life so much easier, which is the ultimate in self-care.
“Why You Should Pamper Yourself: A Profound Physiological Remedy.” Maria Atwood comes to the rescue again with this guide on how to reclaim your energy. Rather than always being the caregiver, allow someone to take care of you every so often. This is quite possibly the most restorative self-care you’ll experience.
“What Does Your Body Mean to You?” This article explores the absurdity of caring more about the fuel we put into our cars or pets than our own bodies. Author Danielle LeBaron offers up resources for the self-care venture that just keeps on giving—a self-health education.