As I write this, I’m coming to the end of a challenge I set myself – 30 days of intentionally finding time for myself each day, over and above anything I would normally do. I’m going to refer to it here as self-care because that’s really what it is, even though I’m still getting used to using that term (that’s the big issue of ‘feeling deserving’ coming to the fore!!).
I do already have daily practises which come under the umbrella of self-care and which help me to feel bright, active and engaged. These include stretching, walking, mindfulness/meditation and have been part of my routine for more than two years. What was missing was the extra down-time, making myself stop and taking my focus off work/biz/home, allowing it to be on me.
I had been taking every opportunity I could to work on my online home here, and really needed to step back. I decided to challenge myself and do it publicly, so that I was accountable and had to show up! After all, I encourage the same with my coaching clients, so why not myself too?
There was no planning (I started the same day as I had the idea – yes, that’s the Aries in me!). I simply thought of something to do each day, that was easy to fit in and easy to do. Most I did alone, some I did with family or a friend.
It was as SIMPLE as sitting outside to eat lunch (away from my desk) or picking a bunch of flowers for myself, as ACTIVE as yoga or walking (see pic above), and as CREATIVE as making mandalas and trying watercolour painting.
The intention was to relax, to allow my body and mind to unwind and do something that I don’t often make time for.
So what did I really think about this self-care challenge?
All of these activities I enjoyed. Some I loved more than others. Sometimes it was hard to make the effort to think about them (and then having to post about them lol!). But I was committed and did something anyway.
In many ways it became another thing to think about and allow for in my day; that was until about the third week, when it started to develop into more of a habit (it is said it takes 21 days to form a new habit). At that point the resistance lessened and it seemed to become easier to engage with the challenge on a daily basis.
It challenged me to look for a variety of ideas and not repeat too many times, to look from a different perspective and to consider what I really enjoyed doing. After all, if I was going to take this time for myself, I may as well make the most of it!
In case you are thinking about what you can do for yourself, your own version of self-care, here are some tips that might help you get started:
Write a list in advance of all the things you enjoy doing and keep the list handy, so the choice can be quick and easy (and no procrastination). You can add to the list as you go.
Focus on activities that really feel good to you. You can repeat activities, but it’s also good to try new things. Only you will know if something works for YOU.
Make the time special, make it feel like it’s your time. That includes making it a priority, which shows respect for yourself and your wellbeing.
Do some activities alone, some with others. Make sure you do schedule alone time, it’s important to be comfortable with yourself.
Think about what you find fun and enjoyable and make time for it. If you don’t know, be curious.
Whatever you choose to do, bring your focus and your awareness on to that activity. Make the time be about you in that moment, what you are seeing, hearing and feeling. Enjoy it!
Overall, I did enjoy the 30 days … and I might even continue with another 30 …