The term self care gets thrown around a lot. We know we are supposed to do it. But does it mean we have to go to an expensive spa or buy certain products? I’m here to tell you that self care is not all cucumber slices on your eyelids and 80 minute massages . (Although I am a fan of those as well). Self care is also about protecting your mental sanity. It is also about building new habits that protect your time. Do not underestimate the value of your time.
Here are some (free) self care rituals that changed my life.
1. No meeting Mondays. Oh, you want to book a “quick 20 min zoom call” on Monday? Nope! I already work way too much and too hard to start the week with an anxiety ridden jam packed schedule of back to back meetings. I will not spend Sunday preparing for Monday. Don’t get me wrong, I work on Mondays. Somehow there is always plenty to do without having appointments. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, I can decide how to shape the work week. Implementing this rule is both a business move to build a sustainable work culture and a self care decision. You’ve heard the phrase, “ if mama isn’t happy nobody’s happy.” No meetings on Mondays makes me happy.
2. Start your day with pleasure and beauty. Let that mean whatever it means to you. It could be taking a walk. Playing with your pet. Doing a short meditation. Reading or journaling. Drinking your morning coffee or matcha near a sunny window. Whatever it is -- it does not need to be expensive or long. It's about the habit. I have found that how I start and end my day are critical to maintaining sanity. What about if you have small children though? I am also a mom and remember all too well when my daughter was little. If this is you and you can't sneak some morning time alone, I get it. Sometimes the shower was the only place I could be alone with my thoughts when my daughter was little. Find your space wherever you can.
3. Start a gratitude practice. Ok, this one is a no brainer. I like to do mine at night. The power of the nighttime ritual is not to be overlooked, nor is it only for kids! As I lie in bed at night I say out loud (more like a whisper) all of the things I am grateful for. This helps calm my mind and focus my thoughts on all of the positives. It allows me to release the day and the neverending to-do list. My list of gratitude is often very basic obvious things. Being grateful for working heat and clean drinking water is on my list. It's easy to lie in bed at night feeling like we still didn’t do enough. You can ask yourself, "did I do everything I could have done today?" The answer is usually YES, but if it's NO, don't beat yourself up. That's what tomorrow is for. Rest is just an important as gratitude.