Self-care can be an overwhelming addition to your already over packed day.
Part of why it feels overwhelming is our society is only starting to value self care, so many people (my prior self included) have to learn for ourselves what the value of self care is for us.
And how to prioritize it with our other existing priorities.
The one thing I do 100% of the time for my own self care is to bring a cup of tea to my bedroom as I am getting ready for bed (even when I am traveling).
Yep- it is a small thing.
However, it makes me incredibly happy and relaxed.
The rest of my self care practices I do on a rotation basis.
Yes, I had start by creating habits out of some of the practices, but now that I am comfortable with them, I can just pick them out as I need them.
This was a hard lesson for me to learn, though. At first, I wanted to get my self care “right” and do everything I thought I was “supposed” to do.
I have learned that what I need on one day, might be different than what I need on another day. By allowing myself the flexibility for that flow to happen it has served me better than doing everything I perceived I “should” be doing for my self care.
Here are a few of my own favorite self care practices and why they work for me:
Limiting screen time before bed: I have learned, I sleep better when I stop looking at screens about 1–2 hours before I go to bed. Now, this doesn’t happen everyday, but I like to do it as much as possible. Because otherwise I often wake up WIDE awake around 3 o’clock in the morning, and it takes me forever to fall back asleep. Depending on how many nights I have viewed screens right up until I go to bed, sometimes it can take me 3 or 4 nights to “break” waking up in the middle of night once I have gone back to limiting my screen time.
Not having a television in the bedroom: Yes, this helps with limiting screen time before bed. But even more importantly for me, it makes the bedroom feel like more of a sanctuary and separate from the rest of the world. It gives me permission to relax and rejuvenate myself.
Journaling: I love to do old-fashioned journaling with an actual journal in
the evening. It helps me sort through my day. Sometimes it even helps me figure out how to deal with something I am stressing about for the next day. Occasionally I will also journal in bed in the morning before I start my day.
Reviewing my dreams first thing in the morning: Most mornings, as soon as I open my eyes, I will review any dreams I had and decide if I need to analyze them, or if they were just what I call “processing” dreams. “Processing” dreams usually occur when the day before is unusually busy for me, or if I have learned something totally new. My non-processing dreams usually give me valuable insight into something happening in my waking life, which is why I find it important to analyze them. However, I also live in the real world, and sometimes if I have slept a bit later than I intended, the first thing I end up doing is seeing how fast can I get into the shower!
By giving myself the freedom to choose which self care items I incorporate into my daily routine it makes me appreciate the item(s) more instead of starting to resent “having” to do them. And realistically, there is no need for me to use every tool in my incredibility vast toolbox on a daily basis. It is about balance, and listening to myself so I can use what I need on any given day.
*** Original article was published on Thrive Global via Medium***