Congratulations! You have taken the necessary steps to become literate. This is of course something that is worthy of celebration as there are many individuals that are unable to stake that claim. So, yay you! Now, let’s get on with what you should be doing next.
Perhaps you are in the routine of taking a shower and adequately cleaning yourself prior to heading to work, after exercising, or for extra comfort before you slide into your oh so warm or silky sheets, at bedtime. This is awesome. Hygiene is important and we all thank you for taking this time. With any luck, I hope you are also brushing your teeth at least twice a day. We also thank you for that! W
4 Questions to ask yourself
Now, stop for a moment. Do you do anything for yourself on a routine basis that moves beyond the daily shower and teeth brushing? Do you exercise routinely? Are you mindful of the food you consume? The drinks you wash said food down with and the sugar you squander away? Oh, what’s that?! No, not really, or maybe sometimes. OK, well then maybe that is a good place to start for you. Each of those could be a separate post, so stay tuned.
The purpose of this post is going to assume several things about yourself, so if you’re in this camp, please keep reading. If you’re not, that’s okay too, please keep reading, you’re bound to take something away from this. Ok, so you’re literate, you get up every day and at some point shower and brush your pearly white bony enamel-coated structures. You sometimes walk instead of taking the stairs and eat vegetables at least once every couple of days. Now, there is so much more to explore! First, I’d recommend looking into more vegetables because truly they are oh so good and if you don’t believe me, you just haven’t discovered how to eat them, but I digress.
Take a look at your calendar whether it’s your friend or enemy
How often do you make time for yourself? Do you fight with time? If so, please see my previous post What to do about Time. My first recommendation would be to look at the schedule for your upcoming week and see where you can find space or make space. Do you really need to squeeze in 10 more minutes at work or could you allocate that time for a much needed meditation or researching a new healthy recipe to prepare sometime this week? Are there times in your week when you know that you fall into poor habits like a drink after work or vegging out in front of Netflix? Neither of those activities are inherently bad, but could be stealing the time you feel you don’t have. Maybe you can set a schedule that rewards your self-care time with a drink after work once a week and Netflix only on the weekends or maybe just Saturday.
Self-care could include hiring someone to do tasks that suck your time and energy and rob you of joy (for me that’s cleaning the house) and if hiring someone isn’t feasible, could you split up the tasks into steps and divide them among your household members? In my house I have designed “after school jobs” so that my kids have something to do right after school that benefits our household, but also helps us make it between the monthly cleanings I pay for. With a dog, we can never seem to really catch up in the clean category.
Sharing divides the labor and multiplies your time
If there are tasks on your to do list that can be shared with other family members, that would be my first recommendation. If you need to set up a routine system so that everyone knows when their job is to be completed and why, you’ll have better buy in. You may want to consider creating incentives toward your end goal. Taking the clean house example, each family member could earn extra time to do something they enjoy or you collectively choose an outing to experience together. The point is, delegating and sharing in responsibilities will make everyone feel better.
Once you’ve done that, you’ve freed up some time for yourself to light a candle and take a bath with bubbles. I know you’ve already showered, but a bath goes beyond what a shower can do. A bath allows you time to sit and be. Turn on some music (far away from your bathtub please) or turn on a meditation app. Set a 10 minute – 20 minute timer (depending on your tolerance for raisin skin) and climb in. Breathe, actually feel the water on your skin, the aroma of the bath salts or bubble bath, and close your eyes. Practice regularly.
What works for you is what matters
If you’ve showered and bathing in bubbles is not your thing, I forgive you. The point is, you identify what works for you. What helps you feel recharged and in connection with your inner self? If we don’t take some time to think about this, our relationships will suffer as will our mental and physical health. We really need to get on top of self-care. The one relationship we will have from birth to death is the one we have with our own self. Kind of a big deal.
Scoff if you must and then get on with it
You might be thinking, but I am fine! Nobody in my family takes time for themselves and we are happy, successful people! My grandma worked her hands to the bone and never took a day off. Phewy! Ok, if that’s you, hear me out. First off, if your grandma did not need to work her hands to the bone, would she have chosen to? If someone had walked into her kitchen and said, “let me take over, you go sit down and read a book”, would she have scoffed at them, running them out of her house waving a rolling pin above her head? Perhaps because it would have been absolutely absurd that someone would 1) notice that she never got a break 2) offer help. It’s not that your grandmother did not want to take care of herself, she simply didn’t know it was an option.
It is an option. You decide. Ask for help where possible to create space for yourself. Maybe for you it’s saying no to more obligations or added tasks to your day. We all have the same 24 hours presented to us each day as a gift. You unwrap it when you take your first peek at the world upon waking. You are responsible for what you put out into the world and what you take from it. If you take some time to plan for self-care and recharging yourself in the most personal way that speaks to your own needs, then you will have newfound energy for this existence.
Start with space
If you have no idea where to start, start with looking at your schedule for the week and insert “space” somewhere in the calendar. If you need to block off by time, start with at least 10 minutes one day during the week or across a few days. Then the following week see if you can fit in another 10. When you encounter “space” in your day, you might be frightened at first, not sure what to do or how to experience that space. That is okay. Just recognize that the “space” has arrived and now you are going to enjoy simply sitting, maybe brew some tea to drink while you sit, and see what happens. Start now. Make it happen. Let me know how it goes.