It’s one of the most used buzzwords in lifestyle editorial today, but the concept of”self-care” runs deeper than a bubble bath with a glass of wine (or it should). While I adore a great glass of vino and love the giddy luxury of a bubble-filled soak (who doesn’t?) I have learned the concept of taking care of oneself does not begin and end with a face mask.
Building a career, a business or a platform while maintaining a full life often requires excess energy. Much like a tank of gas, how much you use to drive yourself through each task will determine whether or not you have enough to get you to each goal or if you will be stressed, running on fumes, hoping to make it.
If you are finding yourself working late and/or on weekends and then running from one event to another in an attempt to meet a long list of professional and social expectations that, quite frankly, need to be edited, it may be time to hit pause and rethink the way you make time for your mind, body and soul. Here are a few unexpected ways to practice self-care that go far beyond a beauty boost.
1. | If you can’t be your best, opt out
Trying to be all things to all people and the hero in all situations doing so is coming at the expense of you. Instead of stretching yourself thin and saying “yes” when your body is on the brink, think about whether or not the time, attention and energy you’re truly able to give someone else is worth the face time. There’s no honor in agreeing to meet a friend for dinner if you’re just going to secretly hope they cancel and show up exhausted.
2. | Hire a personal assistant for 1-2 hours a week
Most people think they cannot afford a part-time assistant, but if you pay attention to how much you’re spending on things like gourmet coffee’s and unexpected drugstore runs, there’s a good chance that you will find that you’ve got a small stash that could be put to better use. Hiring an organized college student to run a few errands, send a few emails and make a few calls a week could save you a large chunk of time that extends far beyond the 2 hours they actually worked. Think of all of the time you spend stressing about these tiny little tasks and how often small things like dropping that bag of shoes to the cobbler, actually sending that handwritten note or mailing back those Amazon purchases get pushed back. Is that worth $40-80 per month? *Note: I am in no way suggesting that everyone has this kind of routine, lifestyle or excess cash, but for those who do, it may be worth thinking about this. Another option? See if you can barter time with someone. Perhaps you can support someone in some way and they’d be thrilled to pay for services with time.
3. | Slow your mornings down
If you’re getting up and rolling out of bed and rushing through your routine on some kind of accelerated autopilot, stop. Think about ways you can double up on tasks and create some space to breathe every morning. Can you have breakfast for the kids prepped the night before? Toss on face mask on while you brush your teeth? How about ironing all of your outfits in one shot so that you have a little time to sit down and enjoy your coffee/juice/tea for 3-5 minutes? Perhaps you can download a few relaxing podcasts to make your commute less stressful. So many of us smack the alarm on Monday and zip through the weekday mornings as though we are running some kind of warped marathon with a Friday finish line. Is it any wonder we are exhausted?
4. | Learn to prioritize
Whether it’s sharpening up your own organizational skills or pushing back when a chaotic boss puts an urgent tag next to everything, you will never win if you don’t learn what to put first. Learning how to weigh the importance of different things will not only create space in your schedule, but it will reduce stress and boost confidence as you will become more comfortable saying “no” and letting small things go. Win-win.
5. | Stay close to your vision
It is important to get clear (and stay clear) about your own personal vision for yourself – I personally love creating a vision board a few times a year and keeping it in a place where I can see it every morning. Whatever your approach, having an understanding of your own personal “big picture” is a great way to stay on-track when it comes to self-care. How can you be happy, healthy, successful and in control if you’re neglecting the one person who can get up and do what needs to be done to succeed?