Do you take time for yourself? It’s a truism that if you don’t take good care of yourself, you can’t take good care of others. No matter how busy your day is, taking a moment for yourself is always possible. As an added bonus, not only will you feel happier, you’ll also do a much better job at all those important responsibilities that you’re perhaps tempted to always and completely put first. Taking good care of yourself is a key piece of effective time management that will let you also take care of others. So here are some quick, inexpensive things you can do for yourself today:
1. Go for a short walk… even just around the block.
2. Go to bed early. Or take a catnap.
3. Sit next to a fountain or a creek, or listen to the wind rustling through the trees. No tiny piece of nature nearby? Find some soothing nature sounds online.
4. Take a few extra moments with your personal appearance. Do your hair a different way, choose a shirt you haven’t worn in a while, add an extra accessory. Don’t do it for someone else – do it for you, for fun and pleasure.
5. Do some long, gentle, luxurious stretches.
6. Write in your journal.
7. Go outside and look at the stars or the city lights.
8. Take a few extra minutes in the shower beyond what’s necessary. Or go all out and take a bath
9. Set the table and light candles for dinner, even if you’re not eating anything fancy.
10. For that matter, make dinner from scratch
11. Take something healthy and appealing that you like to eat, and focus intensely on enjoying how good it tastes. (Fresh fruit is lovely for this.)
12. Re-read the last chapter of a book you really love. (Or, read a chapter a day of the whole thing.)
14. Read about someone else’s heroic acts of kindness.
15. Lie flat on the ground, on the lawn or on the floor, with your eyes closed.
16. Pet a cat or a dog… a neighbors if not yours.
17. Drink a glass of a kind of tea, wine or juice that you really love. Savor each sip.
18. Buy or find yourself a flower or a stem of foliage, and put in a vase next your bed or on your desk.
20.Listen to your favorite song. For bonus points dance and sing along, especially if you know you look goofy when you do that.
21. Whatever it is that YOU have been yearning to do and not giving yourself permission to take a moment for.
Now then, mere moments a day is definitely not enough time for self-care which does in fact take some commitment to do well. You should also be getting enough exercise and sleep, eating well, spending some time pursuing your pleasures and passions, spending some time just relaxing and so on.
If you are already balancing great self-care with your other commitments, good for you! If you’re still having trouble, or if you’ve gotten to the point where you don’t give yourself ANY time, or if insanity has overwhelmed you for a few weeks and you’re getting lost in your own shuffle, just start small… and practice some extra minutes of self-care today, whether it be one minute, five, ten or thirty. Who knows what you can build from there?
I want you to know that I wrote the bulk of this entry on Sunday and Monday, but I am doing some final edits after completing a 14-hour workday today. In some ways this coincidence is unintentionally hilarious, but I can tell you that I do try to practice what I preach: I did take some time for myself even on this hectically busy day. I am the better for it, and so are my loved ones and those served by my work. I don’t regret a single moment.