This is a two-part post because let’s be real, it’s a lot and I don’t want you scrolling for years nor to overwhelm you. So, just a warning it’s a about a 4-minute read (3 minutes and 54 seconds to be exact). I invite you to settle in and talk with me about building a self-care practice!
I sometimes feel we have romanticized the journey—be that life, dreams, whichever. Specifically, I think we live in extremes with it. The journey is either all guts and no glory, or all glory and no guts. We’re either burning ourselves out trying to reach a goal or ideal; or we expect everything to come to us on a silver platter. If things aren’t moving fast enough, we are often tempted to give up. If things are moving swiftly, we find ourselves run ragged trying to keep up with all the moving pieces.
It makes me ask myself, how do we do this? How do we care for ourselves yet invest intentionally in our dreams—our lives? What happens if I do all the sacrificing and investing; if I endure the sleepless nights and unpredictable process? What happens when the dream comes true or life settles down, but I’m burned out from it all? If my mental, emotional, and physical state is so spent, how do I enjoy the fruit of the process and fulfillment?
I’m a firm believer that we are meant to live full lives. Period. Whether every dream or goal is reached or not, your life is meant to be lived fully. I also believe we are all creative beings with a purpose to purse and live out. I believe we can have dreams, live full lives, and not burn out. This belief fuels my love for rhythms and routine. Having a daily routine invites us to slow down, ground ourselves, discover rest, and make room for what matters. I believe routines help keep us sane in the swirl of life and the pursuit of dreams. Just as having a daily routine is essential to how we live life, I believe practicing self-care is vital, too.
I was at work with my friend and we were talking about self-care. She got called out by myself and another that she basically doesn’t practice self-care. I came to that harsh realization myself a little over a year ago. In this post, I talk briefly about it—how self-care is subjective.
To me, self-care is the intentional habit of investing yourself—be that emotionally, mentally, physically, creatively, relationally, etc. It is making time for you, the same way you would for a significant other, friends, family, even work. Self-care is loving yourself well.
We live in fast times. Things happen quickly. We have access to so much with little effort. So, it is easy to get caught up in life happening that forget about ourselves. If you’re anything like me, I tend to want to make sure everyone else is all put together and satisfied before I am, even if I’m literally on the edge, pulling my hair out.
In the last year, I’ve been learning to balance that. I’ve learned to acknowledge that taking care of me isn’t selfish, but ultimately benefits everyone. I’m not my most effective when I’m operating on 10% and that impacts everything from work to my physical body to my relationships. It’s important that I accept that self-care isn’t selfish and that I make space to refuel and pause so I can be my best and give my best.
Now, are there days when you’re running on fumes? Sure. Should that be a way of life? Absolutely not.
As I was saying before, self-care is subjective. I see it as the habits and experiences that feed your soul, bring you joy, and refresh you. I also think they are the things that keep you grounded and centered. Going into this year, I’ve decided I wanted to be more intentional about this self-care pursuit. Fun fact about me, I love to schedule things out by the day, week, month, quarter, and year. So, I decided to do the same with my self-care practice.
I took time to think through things I wanted to do every day that would be a form of self-care. I asked that same question from a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly perspective. Below is a quick snapshot of what I hope to implement as my self-care practice daily, weekly, and monthly for 2019:
Morning and Evening Routine
If you’ve followed this space in the last year, I’ve been heavy into developing a rhythm and routine for the daily life. I have found in the last year of deeply pursuing this that having a daily routine has grounded me. Taking 45 minutes every morning and evening to do at least 3 things that I enjoy and investing in healthy habits has helped me keep perspective, energy, and joy throughout the day.
Drink More Water and Eat Better
It’s true when you eat better, you feel better. every day, I’m more conscious of how this body of me is the only one I’m gonna have and I need to treat her right. So, increasing my water intake and minimizing the sweets and junk food is one way I’m practicing self-care.
Like I said above, I’m becoming more and more aware of the importance of taking care of my body and realizing that it’s self-care and self-love when I feed her the right things and get her moving. So in this New Year, I’m investing more time in working out. So far, I’ve found it to be a great time of release and pushing myself! So cheers to that!
That’s what I call it, but it’s the one day a week that I intentional go out of my way to get extra glammed up for work. I do a full face of makeup and dress extra nice. For me, Mondays used to be the struggle bus. I didn’t look forward to it, but I found the Mondays I intentionally dressed up the opposite of how I felt, my perspective changed.
This is something I’m excited to really implement this year. Setting time aside for just me. Whether that is taking myself out to a play, movie, dinner or getting a manicure/pedicure, I want to be mindful and protective of the time I set aside for myself.
I know this was A LOT, but I didn’t want to just talk about self-care practice. I also wanted to share what my pursuit and practice looks like. My goal is to love myself better this year. I want to protect my peace while creating a personal culture that prioritizes habits and experiences that feed my soul. I also want the same for you! Later this week I’ll be sharing part 2 of this post on how to build a self-care practice. Til then, I want to hear from you!
What are your thoughts on self-care and the age we are living in? Is burnout a part of the process, or can we walk through life fully refreshed and filled up?
Danae Smith is the founder of This Wondrous Life, a lifestyle blog rooted in pursuing a life lived simply, slowly, and with community. She believes there is more to the mundane than meets the eye. You can also find her on Instagram.
This story originally published on This Wonderous Life.