So, I’ve come to the realization that I spend an obscene amount of time on self-care. And I’m not talking about physical appearance or primping… I’m talking about really truly taking care of my body and soul… Here is what a TYPICAL day looks like for me… I drag myself out of bed (always unwillingly) so that I have enough time to pack a healthy lunch and snacks. Some mornings I work out if I know I won’t be able to in the evening and it’s not a ‘rest’ day. Of course whether or not I work out in the morning, I reserve time to make a power breakfast. Even if I make it and eat it at work (or on the way to work, oops), I figure out a way to prioritize breakfast. Not everyone is starving the second they wake up like me, but you have to train your body to want to eat in the morning! Then I work, work, work, work, work (thanks Rihanna and Drake, and you’re welcome, now that song is in your head). At some point I stop working and go home. This is the time I want to nap, but I force myself to work out if I haven’t yet (again, as long as it’s not a rest day, because rest is just as important as movement). So sometimes I am a maniac and do 2 workout classes back to back, but I like intensity and I feel that this serves me. Not everyone needs this. I just know my body and brain and soul and sometimes I just need to go balls to the walls and let out my inner beast or whatever you want to call it. After working out I eat (starving again). And then I do some extra meal prepping and get things ready for the next day. With my current lifestyle and relationship situation, I travel a lot on the weekends and don’t have time to do a full blown day of meal prepping, so I have to make it happen during the week as I go… So after this, I do some more work work work work work, and as a part of this I make sure I sneeze in some R&R (also a critical component of self-care), whether it’s some journaling/writing, music, reading, a bath, snuggling with my little fuzzy bear, catching up on Instagram pages I love, or a combination of these things. After this I chat with my significant other (and I’m sure he could tell you that I am much more pleasant to talk to when I have been taking really good care of myself!) and then I crash!
Now again, this is a TYPICAL day - not every single day looks like this. I’m not a robot. I’m human too. But I try to be as consistent as possible. There are also other random things I do throughout the day for self-care, such as spend time dividing out my vitamins and supplements because I believe in natural healthcare, or taking Dakota for walks so that I get fresh air and Vitamin D (and obviously she needs this too), or I might spend time cleaning or organizing a bit, because having a tidy living and working space also makes me feel like a million bucks. And yes, I may even watch a little bit of the tube. Well, on my computer, because I’m one of those freaks that doesn’t own a television.
Now, I realize that as an unmarried, childless person (well, aside from my sweet little bear), I have the gift of time that many do not have, HOWEVER I also work anywhere between 50-60 hours a week and am busy as hell, and at the end of the day, I’ve realized that my self-care routines just HAVE to be a part of my daily life; THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION.
And that’s what this rant is about. This is about MAKING THE CHOICE to take care of yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect and that doesn’t mean you won’t feel like a big turd one day or fall off the wagon. It certainly doesn't mean you will thoroughly enjoy all the aspects of your self-care routine. All this means is that OVERALL your LIFESTYLE screams: “I CARE ABOUT MYSELF AND MY BODY AND I WANT TO MAKE THE BEST CHOICES POSSIBLE FOR MY WELL-BEING SO THAT I CAN BOTH FEEL INCREDIBLE AND HAVE MORE TO OFFER OTHER PEOPLE.” As a mental health professional, this is NON-NEGOTIABLE for me. I have spent much time, energy, and money to focus my life on helping other people, and if I really want to be an effective helping professional, I MUST take care of myself first. I have to be at my best EVERY SINGLE DAY, or at least TRY to! It’s so easy to neglect yourself when you’re focused on other people, but ultimately this will begin to impact your ability to be present for those in your life, including both people in your personal life as well as people you are helping. So of course there must be balance and you can’t be a selfish a-hole and only focus on yourself. But deep down you know yourself and you know what you need. So I’m going to end things there and leave you with one of my favorite analogies, the airplane mask: SECURE YOUR MASK BEFORE ASSISTING ANOTHER WITH THEIR MASK. If you stop breathing and die, you sure as shit aren’t going to be able to help anyone else. Period. Now go take care of yourself. :)