If you would’ve asked me about self-care a few years ago, I would’ve looked at you funny. I thought I ate healthy (if you counted the quick meals eaten between meetings) and I worked out (by getting up crazy early and sacrificing sleep). Between proving myself at work, trying to maintain some semblance of health at my meals and pushing myself at the gym, my idea of wellness was pretty warped. I was constantly pushing and taking no time for reflection and rest.
Eventually it all caught up to me — I reached burnout. I found that this kind of fatigue couldn’t be pushed through. I needed to learn to listen to my body again and this involved self-care.
There’s a lot of pressure — to do your best, look your best and show the world that you’re living your best life, but absolutely none of this involves feeling your best.
I wish I could say this was a cautionary tale, but it’s one I see lots of young women struggling with it. There’s a lot of pressure — to do your best, look your best and show the world that you’re living your best life, but absolutely none of this involves feeling your best. And that’s where self-care comes in.
In my overly scheduled life, I had to start scheduling time for me. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my 20s, it’s that pushing only gets you so many places and that it’s not always places you want to be. There’s a rhythm to life and it’s not go, go, go — you need the slow in the mix to if you want to keep going well.
7 Ways to Create a Self-Care Saturday For Yourself:
1. Journal your fill-me up activities
Self-care looks different for everyone. Some people may feel totally relaxed getting a mani/pedi while another would prefer a serene walk in nature. Write down the activities that make you feel peaceful, happy and an overall better person after doing them.
Some ideas are:
- Meeting a friend at the farmers market
- Trying a meditation class
- Going on a hike
- Cooking a favorite meal
- Catching up on your favorite show
- Do something that makes you feel like a kid again
- Plan a date night
- Buy a small luxury for yourself like a candle or some nice chocolate
- Journal what you’re grateful for
- Take a nap
- Write down some goals and the short terms steps you can take to get closer to achieving them
2. Put it on the calendar
At least once a month, I choose a few hours I can designated for self-care.
I put it on Google Calendar, let my friends and family know if I’m trying to disconnect and honor the date to the best of my abilities.
3. Make a plan
This may seem counterintuitive, but I’ve found making a plan for my self-care day and understanding that it can change is helpful.
A lot of times, I make my Saturday around 1-2 scheduled activities like a haircut or yoga class with ideas from my fill-me up activities for the rest of the time. If I don’t have anything planned, I may resort to scrolling on my phone all day which doesn’t provide me the break I need.
No matter what activities you choose for your self-care, I highly recommend unplugging from social media and mobile devices.
The goal is to focus on yourself and how you’re feeling and it’s much harder to do so when you’re distracted by your best friend’s vacation pictures or the wedding you weren’t invited to.
5. Keep the end in mind
At the start of your day, think about how you want to feel afterward. It’s a great topic to journal about if you’ve never consciously done self-care before.
What are the kinds of emotions you want to feel after a day of focusing on yourself? Some ideas to get started are free, centered, peace, joy, healthy, light, connected or abundant.
What other feelings come to mind for you?
6. Don’t panic
For those of us that have trouble slowing down, disconnecting and focusing on yourself may bring up some anxiety. My advice? Go back to your end feelings. Make some of those emotions a mantra that you can repeat to yourself when the anxiety starts to creep in.
7. Relish in the relaxation
Find yourself in the moment and enjoy the time that you’ve taken for yourself. Allow yourself to feel joy and delight in the activities you chose. Go with the flow if your plans change or shake things up if they aren’t going how you planned. At the end of the day ask yourself or journal what really worked to help you de-stress or if there is anything you learned about yourself after a day of reflection.
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Hopefully you can use these tips to take time out of your busy schedule and mindfully relax. If you’re as wired as I was, it may take some practice, but short scheduled breaks can go a long way in helping you maintain your emotional health. After a few self-care days, you’ll start to pick up on the cues from your body when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and you’ll get to know how often these self care dates are needed.
What are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care? Share in the comments below!