I got up on a Monday morning to get ready for work. Instead, I sat frozen on the toilet, just staring at the shower, watching the water run down.
I knew I needed to get in if I was going to get to work on time. But, I literally could not move from that toilet. When I did get up, I walked into the living room, opened my laptop, filled out an official resignation form and pressed send.
That was the beginning of my wellness journey.
I spent the next few years unraveling the events that led to that day. What I discovered is I had been ignoring all the warning signs: overwhelm at work, sleepless nights, using up all ten of my sick days, a flailing marriage, high anxiety and extreme stress, all blaring sirens of distress.
I’m sharing my story because I want you believe it when I say you cannot serve your family, contribute to your household, or be a good employee, friend, neighbor, daughter, sister…anything, when you’re running on empty.
So, I’m asking you to join me on this wellness journey. We’ll start with some ideas on how to start a self-care routine.
How to Start a Self-Care Routine
Developing a self-care routine takes time, trial and error. You may even fall off the wagon a few times, but the point is to implement change and make progress.
How to Start Self Care
- Consider how you neglect yourself and make a list of the changes you’d like to make.
- Consider what brings you joy and fills your cup and make room for those activities on your schedule. ex. hobbies, outings, activities
- Take it slowly. A big overhaul all at once almost always results in failure. (Think New Year’s Resolutions.) So, add one change at a time until it becomes habit. Then introduce another change into your routine.
- Have everything you need to implement change on hand. ex. exercise equipment, skin care products
- By the same token, identify and get rid of anything that is keeping you from making a change. ex. junk food, excuses, poor habits
- Let your family in on your plans, explaining how important this change is to you and offering ideas for how they can help.
- Protect your time. If you get asked to do something or be somewhere when you’re planning on going for a jog, getting a haircut, meeting a friend for lunch, taking a long bath, or going on a Netflix binge, say no.
- Get over the guilt. Taking care of yourself is the most selfless thing you can do.
- Just add you. Schedule your self-care time into your week just like you would any other plans.
How to Practice Self-Care
There’s a misconception that self-care is synonymous with pampering. Self-care can include pampering, but true self care is anything that nurtures your soul, renews your mind and fills your cup.
If you need some ideas, I created a self care challenge with a list of 31 self care ideas. Get the list, along with a calendar here. Many of them take just a few minutes and are easy to incorporate into your day.
I think that is key to creating a self-care routine you can stick to.
For more self-care tips, read:
You deserve it!