I managed to finally schedule a pedicure the other day. Pedicures are my favorite thing and getting a foot massage is at the top of my list of “things that make me so happy I could cry” right next to wine flights and Channing Tatum. But the moment I sat in the chair, I received a work email that sent my blood pressure through the roof and I spent the next forty-five minutes cleaning up a mess that could have waited until the next day. And y’all, I worked right through my foot massage. I MISSED THE WHOLE THING! Who does that?!
This isn’t a story that people don’t relate to. We are constantly juggling so much, and burnout is prevalent in a way it never should be, which got me to thinking about “me time.” Self-care is such a huge buzzword right now and all trends aside, it’s popular because it is important. The current culture promotes a GO GO GO mentality and it creates unrealistic expectations. Our health and wellness aren’t something to remember after the fact; we need to make them a priority. And while our inclination tends to be to treat it sporadically with grand plans once a month, the truth is that we need to address it on a regular and realistic basis. Spa weekends in the hill country are the best, but how are you supposed to survive the rest of the month?
Self-Care Item #1: Learn to leave things where they belong
I have a full-time gig that drives me crazy. I won’t go into details, just know that for the last year I have spent an inordinate amount of time second-guessing my life choices. But do you know what makes it worse? Going home and complaining about it. Waking up and obsessing over it. Letting it consume special days where it has no business. So, I decided that I am going to leave things where they belong. Work stuff at work. Home stuff at home. The thing is, dragging my work nonsense into my home, giving it a drink, and prancing it across my porch does nothing but blend my blissful personal life with the dumpster fire that is my job. Leave it all at work. Compartmentalizing things allows for you to be fully present in what you’re currently doing without the nagging dread of things that may or may not be going on elsewhere. If I start to think about something work-related, I simply redirect to something random just to get my mind doing something else. And guess what? It works like a charm.
Self-Care Item #2: Cut corners
Accept help. EVERYWHERE. And I don’t just mean when your mom asks if you need her to watch the kids or your coworker offers to grab coffee. I am huge proponent of curbside grocery pickup, pet supply delivery, and meal plan services (this is not an ad but Hello Fresh is the real MVP). The ability to save time by scheduling things to come to you is the best thing the internet has given us (next to Reddit and ASMR videos) and we would be fools to eschew such technological marvels. You are no less of a human/parent/spouse if you simply pull into a parking spot and let a hungover 21-year-old load up your week’s groceries while you listen to your true crime podcast. Stop beating yourself up for not being able to “do it all.” Who even came up with that? How about we all agree that “doing it all” should only include fun things? Now that’s some true self-care.
Self-Care Item #3: Move your butt
I should have been a sloth, y’all. I just identify so much with the slow, purposeful movements and the lazy smiles. I have to literally drag myself to the gym and I generally hate every minute of it but I *always* feel great afterwards. They always say it’s that first step out the door, but I think it’s actually something we can train our mind to get excited about. I used to work for an amazing woman who would close her office door at lunchtime and do a quick workout. I remember thinking that was a waste of a good lunch hour but after a few months, she had lost a significant amount of weight and I had seen a definite uptick in her mood. She confided that she hated to work out and when I asked her about how she stayed so consistent, she told me that the key was not to think of it as “ugh I need to workout” but more like “time to take care of yourself.” She knew that this was going to benefit her in a multitude of ways (studies show that exercise improves your mood and can reduce anxiety) so she simply packaged it as something she was doing for herself. All about that positive spin, y’all.
Self-Care Item #4: Make “Me Time” …even if it’s mini
This is my favorite one because it is easy to do, and you get to choose how you fill the time and how many of them you take. Mini “me time” can be something as simple as walking to the closest coffee shop for your favorite drink, calling a friend, or taking a few minutes to stretch. I like to take a lunch or two during the week away from the office and sometimes on my drive home I will stop at the art museum to wander for a bit. The length all depends on what you have time for, but the important part is that this time is yours and you treat it as such. No guests, no ringing phone, just you immersed in your mini “me time.” When you give what you’re doing a name, put energy into planning how to spend the time, and then focus solely on what you’re doing, you give yourself a brief respite from everything swirling around you, which is the ultimate goal. Regardless of how long your break is, the goal is to come back from it feeling a little lighter than you were before.
And yes, happy hour counts.
What other sorts of things do you do for yourself? How do you cut corners or spend your mini “me time”? Tell us below and stay tuned for more health and wellness blogs here at IVitamin!
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