If thinking about self-care weirds you out, ask yourself this question instead: How do I take care of myself? Posing the question will help you consider what you need to be at your best. It’s a very practical and simple way to take care of yourself and possibly way more meaningful than getting suggestions and ideas outside of yourself. I recently asked myself that question and here’s what I came up with.
- Sleep—It’s necessary and I honestly really enjoy it. I get excited when I manage to get to bed early, but it takes a lot of discipline and self- management to make sure I get the sleep I need. I want what sleep will give me: energy, a creative mind, a renewed body, plus a lot more. Because those things matter to me, I make an effort to close the novel I’m tempted to read longer, move some to-do’s onto tomorrow, and give myself time to wind down and turn in at a reasonable hour.
- Time Alone—This one is harder for me to manage than sleep! I can usually count on time alone in the car on my commute to and from work, but some days, that may be it. Why do I need time alone? I need time to think, to process, to metabolize events and emotions. It feels like a physical, mental and emotional need. If I know I am going to have a full evening, then ideally, I will take a lunch hour by myself and spend part of it walking, writing in my journal or reading. That really replenishes my INFJ soul.
- A Great Listening Library—I spend about two hours in the car on most days. If I keep an Audible book and some great podcasts downloaded and ready-to-go, that commute becomes something I look forward to and enjoy. It’s an easy way to tweak my routine and make something that could be tedious drudgery, fun and enjoyable instead.
- Organize, organize, organize—I need things put away. I need a clear desk, a filing system, and an almost empty inbox. It takes work and time in my planner and lots of lists, but it gives me peace of mind and helps me be prepared for what’s coming. I also think better when I have a semblance of organization and order in my life.
- Pre-book appointments for hair, doctor, anything else I want to do regularly—This is a no-brainer, but for some reason, I was resistant to doing it. Maybe I didn’t want to commit to a hair or nail appointment early, but that along with the health-related appointments ensures that I don’t miss one and that I am maintaining my health and beauty routine with minimal stress. If something comes up, and it does, it’s never a big deal to reschedule, but it’s much easier to have something on the books to work with, rather than to be starting from scratch.
- Charge my Fitbit—I do not make it to the gym or yoga regularly even though I love both. The one thing that I do with some consistency is walk. It’s my perfect exercise for this busy period of my life because I can do it anywhere and I can make progress by focusing on stairs, or brisk walking in 10 minutes intervals. My Fitbit really motivates me to keep up with this routine, so I make sure it is charged and ready to go, so that I can keep up with my step and active minute goals.
- Solo Hobbies—This is connected to my deep love for spending time alone. When I am alone, I love to delve into something creative—writing, sewing, reading, among other things. It is deeply relaxing to me to have time to focus on an activity I love even if it’s just for fifteen or twenty minutes.
- Hobbies with Friends—I also love spending time with my husband or friends that is focused around an activity. What kinds of things? I enjoy sewing with my quilt guild friends, trying new recipes with my husband, Bible journaling or bullet journaling with friends—there are lots of possibilities. Of course, we catch up, laugh and act silly—it’s just that we do it while we’re making things!
- Clean and maintain my stuff—Taking care of what and who is in my realm is a way I take care of myself. Lots of things fall into this category. This includes keeping my house and car clean, making sure my husband is wearing good shoes and that I occasionally (at least) cook something he likes. This includes making sure my extremely floofy golden retriever gets brushed and gets to play, and that my refrigerator filter gets changed out in a timely manner. This may seem strange that taking care of these things made my list, but honestly, knowing my husband, and my dog, and my house are taken care of, makes me feel like I am honoring my priorities and that gives me peace and a sense of well-being.
- Make sure I don’t run out of coffee at home, have a coffee cup at work, have keep a stash of premium chocolate for when I need a treat. Part of taking care of yourself is having your basic needs met. That means keeping your home and office stocked with the things you must have on a regular basis. Keep stocked up on the things you need to maintain your day-to-day routine—that means keeping your favorite beverage on hand and easy to make, preparing snacks to leave at work, and keeping some treats on hand for when you crave something special. Your treat doesn’t have to be chocolate. Your treat could be your favorite magazine or bubble bath.
So, there you have it—my top 10. What’s on your list? How do you take care of yourself?