1. Schedule It!
I know that in my busy life that if I don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. That goes for grocery shopping, dentist appointments, meetups with friends, and my self-care time. I like to schedule self-care in the form of fitness classes, walks with friends, and hour-long chunks of time where I can focus on myself (usually by sewing, a tarot reading, or a face mask). Some of these things take thought and prep so if I didn’t schedule them they may never happen.
I keep my scheduling loose as to not add more stress. I have a weekly planner pad that is split into days, on Sunday nights I sit down with my pad and write meetings and daily tasks I would like to accomplish each day. This is when I schedule in my self-care. For me, it works to plan around my existing schedule rather than be rigid about when my self-care has to happen every week.
2. Create a ritual
Are you a spontaneous pixie? Does sitting down and planning out your week sound like the opposite of self-care? You may want to practice your self-care in the form of daily rituals. Starting a ritual can be hard, but rewarding, but if you truly love your self-care (see tip #3) it won’t feel like a chore, but a ceremony.
Most self-care rituals occur in the morning or evening, but you can choose whatever time you like. I recommend that you tie your ritual to something that you always do like brushing your teeth. Some great ideas for daily self-care rituals include drawing a card from your favorite spiritual deck, meditating, a stretching sequence, affirmations, or journaling.
3. Find something you love
I mentioned this briefly earlier, but finding self-care that you love is super important. If you are forcing yourself to do something every day because you should, or because someone else told you to, that is not self-care. It doesn’t mean that those things aren’t necessary, but they don’t qualify as your self-care time. When you finish with self-care you should feel better than when you started, not like another chore has been checked off a list (even if you do plan it on your weekly to-do list). So, play around, switch it up, maybe Pilates is the perfect form of self-care for you, but maybe you really need 10 minutes of singing along at the top of your lungs to your favorite tunes every day to really feel alive. You do you.
4. Find an accountability partner
Sometimes it’s not about finding the time for self-care, but about making sure that you use your time for self-care instead of stressing on your to-do list or zoning out on your phone (see #5). This is when an accountability partner can be a big help.
We all know that everything is more fun with a friend, which is one reason an accountability buddy can be helpful, it just makes everything more fun. There are a couple different ways to use an accountability partner to stay find time for self-care. First, you can make a plan to meet up with them in person. Do this a couple days in advance or have a weekly meetup time so that you actually have to call to cancel. Trust me, just this little bit of pressure paired with the reward of seeing your friend if you go will help motivate you. The other way your buddy can help keep you accountable is through texts. Daily check-ins can be a huge motivator for starting a self-care ritual. If you a planner, share your self-care plan ahead of time and check in that day to make sure that it happened. This doesn’t have to be a big deal, if you’re busy you can simply communicate through a few emojis, it’s definitely the thought that counts.
5. Put your phone down!
Last, but not least. Put the phone down! I know from experience that it is easy to lose your time for self-care to the addictive glow of that little screen. Make sure that you are removing it from the equation. I know easier said than done right? Our lives are on those little buggers.
If you are creating a ritual it can be helpful to plan to do it before you’ve started or after you’ve stopped for the day. You can also use a habit on your phone as the task you tie your self-care ritual to. For example, when you finish checking your email in the morning you know it is time to put the phone down and start self-care (limit how long you spend on email for the best result).
If you plan your self-care time weekly and feel like you are loosing your self-care time to your phone try and choose a specific time for self-care, even if you decide just that morning. Set an alarm and when it goes off put your phone down. You can also use the alarm to time how long you are on your phone, hopefully no more than 10 minutes and then set it down. It’s time for self-care, and you love your self-care.