It’s been a while since I’ve created new content for my website due to life being full for the past few months. From my first holiday to Europe and getting engaged, to attending a wedding and other events as well as getting back into the usual routine and turning a year older, it’s been a whirlwind couple of months.
So with that in mind, I decided I’d write a short post about self-care strategies when life gets full/busy. Personally, I have decided to limit the use of word ‘busy’ to describe my life as it makes me feel stressed and a little out of control. Instead, I have started using the word ‘full’ and it makes me feel calm and in control. If you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed, in a constant state of stress or anxiety due to the amount of items on your schedule or to do list, I’d suggest changing the words you use.
Try to consciously replace the word busy with full and instead of referring ‘to a do list’, opt for calling it a ‘get to do list’ and watch your mood change. It’s magical how a small word switch can make you feel better!
Now, onto self-care strategies. With a finite number of hours in a day, it’s easy to put yourself last. We tend to think that all of the tasks are urgent and should be completed at the end of each day. So, we stay longer at work, skip breaks, have little motivation to exercise and fill our days off with tasks leaving ourselves with no time to unwind.
Even if you do have some time to unwind, you feel guilty for sitting still or taking time for yourself because in the back of your mind, you’re thinking of all the things that still need to be done.
Whilst it may not be possible to clear your schedule (life gets full and sometimes you just have to roll with it), it is essential that you allocate time to continue with your daily habits which make you feel good. While it may seem okay to skip exercising, mediation, getting a good nights’ rest or eating processed foods rather than preparing your meals (just as an example), if you neglect your self-care routine, you will begin to notice the difference.
When we don’t take care of ourselves, especially when life gets busy, we run the risk of getting burnt out, our moods change and we don’t give ourselves the best chance at performing at our best. I recall when I used to do shift work that one day, I was parking my car at the garage between two cars and ended up side swiping one. I wasn’t even paying full attention to the fact that the space between both cars wasn’t large enough for my car to fit in as I was half asleep on auto pilot. It’s in these moments when we are running on limited sleep dosed up on caffeine and not taking good care of ourselves that things can go wrong. While in this case, no one was hurt, it was a wakeup call for me.
Now, I don’t always get the balance right when it comes to making time for self-care rituals, however it is something I have been consciously aware of. When I know that life is going to be full, I tend to feel a bit overwhelmed and rather than looking at each day on its own, I focus on what’s ahead- say for the next week or so. My suggestion? Look at what you can do each day to boost your mental, physical and emotional health. Some days, you may have more time that you can spend focusing on yourself and that’s okay. On days where time feels scarce, set an intention for the day to do one thing for you. It could be something small such as:
- Singing and/or dancing to a song that makes you feel good
- Wearing an outfit which makes you feel good
- Reading a book, magazine or blog which uplifts you
- Listening to a podcast, audio book or
- Watching a movie, tv show or documentary
- Going for a nature walk
- Having a bath
- Cooking your favourite meal
- Speaking to someone you love
- Catching up with a friend/family member
- Having a laugh
- Taking deep breaths
- Spending time with your family/friends/beloved pet
- Working on a passion project
And the list goes on. Only you know what makes you feel good and I’m sure that there are some activities which vary in time so depending on your day, you can choose which one you want to incorporate into your day.
If it’s a sunny day outside when I’m at work, I’ll grab my lunch and sit in the gardens. Not only do I love sitting in the sunshine, it gives me the chance to get a breath of fresh air, move out of the office and take a few moments for myself. I always find that it boosts my mood, especially on days where it’s been non-stop or I feel more tired than energised.
Work with the time and plans you have and where you can, find ways to have small moments which replenish you.