If there is anything that I have learned over the past year, it is that it is SO SO important to make sure you are checking in on your own personal health on a regular basis. It is all too easy to forget to stay on top of that when our world feels like we are in a whirlwind.
I seem to be a bit of a walking contradiction when it comes to this first "Self-Care" suggestion. Routine. I can be the most organized OCD person on the planet with some things and let other things completely fall to the wayside. The key to making it work FOR you is to find what actually does work for you. That sounds so simplistic but we tend to take the status quo as a one size fits all way of doing anything and everything. It works for them so why isn't it working for me? Because you aren't them! You are truly unique…through and through. God doesn't make exact copies of anything. With all of that said, I have come to find some ways of creating routine for myself that are completely customizable.
- Prioritize the things in your life that are genuinely going to baby step you towards your big picture goals of your healthiest and most fulfilling daily lifestyle. Don't just SAY that you want to start eating healthier, getting more exercise, take more quiet time for yourself, or learn something new. Make actual simple daily steps that will help you to get there. If you just focus on the big picture, you are going to completely overwhelm yourself. A good friend of mine takes some time every month to write down 3 goals that she would like to achieve by the end of that month and then she will figure out small things that she can do daily that will enable her to accomplish each one of them. Start small. Not all changes have to be major and immediate. Small, daily progress is going to be much more attainable and satisfying for you in the long run.
- Find a way of keeping you on track every.single.day. Keep yourself accountable to your dreams and ambitions. How do you best remember things? What is most natural for you? I mean, do you prefer electronic calendars and checklists or do you, like me, prefer to write everything down? It doesn't matter what method you use…as long as it works for you. I have attached below my free printable routine tracker that I use.
- Find the time and schedule it. I am notorious for saying that I don't have time for this or that. But, the truth is usually that I am choosing to spend my free time on things that have zero lasting value. Please don't misinterpret what I am saying here, though. This in NO WAY means that every single moment of every single day needs to be filled with busy work. Not at all. In fact, doing that would completely undermine your personal health. For instance, I have generalized anxiety. So, I have a bubble bath on my daily agenda for every single night before I go to bed. My bathroom is completely decorated and accessorized with every single calming and relaxing element you can possibly imagine. (I have designated it as my "Fortress of Solitude".) There are candles everywhere..scented and non-scented, bath salts in pretty containers, lavender bath oil, special "Bubble Bath" music, etc. This helps me to wind down from the day and helps to relax my body and my mind before heading to bed where I then have my quiet time with God and go to sleep. This small change in my routine has done WONDERS for my mental and spiritual health.
- Chores. I know. This doesn't exactly sound like it should be anywhere in the realm of a discussion on relaxing and unwinding. But, actually scheduling out regular chores to do, for you AND your kids will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed when you walk in the door at night to a home that is a COMPLETE nightmare. And hear me on this, EVERY family member should be helping with this. There is no confusion as to who is in charge of getting what done. It is up to you how you manage the rewards, etc. for completing chores well. I will say that I use an app on my phone that helps me to keep track of all of that and reminds me of how much I owe my daughter every week based on the things she checked off of her list.
- Quiet time with God is essential. This is last but far from the least. I mentioned this one earlier. I try to do it right after my bath and right before I go to bed. This is one of the easiest to push aside and eventually get away from completely and yet it is the MOST important. If the thought of trying to do a quiet time overwhelms you, Google different methods that people use in their devotional time with God. Again, there is not a one size fits all approach to this. I spent years thinking that if I didn't audibly speak my prayers to God that they wouldn't be heard or answered. How silly is that?!? I am a natural writer. I think better when I write. So, I now write out my prayers and it is SO cathartic for me. Your relationship with God is supposed to be personal and fulfilling. If you are just going through the motions by trying something that doesn't come naturally to the way God created you then you are not experiencing the relationship that God longs to have with you and you are completely depriving yourself of the single best blessing in your life.
I hope that some of these suggestions help you to find a way of making you feel just a little more in control of your own life so that you can relinquish even just a little bit of unneeded stress from your life. If you have any tips or suggestions regarding routines, I would love to hear them. I always hear new things that I have never considered and I love it so much when someone takes the time to share things with me that may impact me in positive ways. Please feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Thank you for taking the time to come and spend this time with me. Every Friday I will be discussing new self-care ideas and inspiration so let me know if there are any areas that you might want me to cover and I would be happy to write about that and see if we can figure some ways to help you and probably everyone else.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to spending time with you again next week!