Even in today’s culture, the term “self-care” can get a bad rap. I don’t know about you, but I still feel guilty sometimes when saying “no” to people and making space in my day for “self-care.”
But how can “self-care” really be “self-discipline?”
And why are we generally so bad at it as humans?
I think it’s because our society is so fast-paced that everyone has given themselves (and others) the subconscious expectation to perform and be busy.
The reality is, it’s far better to perform WELL and be PRODUCTIVE rather than just BUSY. The key to that kind of fulfilling life is self-care and it’s not easy.
As a momma in her second trimester, this is a concept I know I am learning hard-core. But let me tell you, I wish I had learned it sooner. I could be practicing a well-developed muscle right now, but instead, I feel like I am in boot camp!
Here are some ways you can consider self-care as a discipline that needs perfecting - a muscle that needs to be worked in order to function well - instead of a guilty pleasure that you don’t really have time to indulge in. Your life will be not only more productive but far more fulfilling if you do!
GET TO BED / WAKE UP ON TIME
You will notice that all these suggestions will take discipline to actuate and this first one is no exception!
Sleep studies show that while most Americans think they can “function” on very little sleep, the reality is that the average human can only function at peak capacity on 8 hours of sleep! Some people can get away with 7 hours while others need 9, but the average is 8 hours a day. Why is it then that people
treat each other with disdain, saying things like: “You got 8 hours of sleep last night? Must be nice. Wish I had that much time.”
I say it’s time to change the narrative. Prioritize sleep and get the most out of your day! Find out what your sleep window is (mine is about 9/10 pm - 6 am), and you’ll find that you won’t even need an alarm anymore! If you stick to it, you’ll wake up naturally when your body is refreshed and you won’t have wasted any time. Your day will be far more productive as a result!
FIND A “MOVEMENT ROUTINE”
Americans on the whole live very sedative lifestyles. Many of us work in cubicles at a desk that we drove to, sitting in our cars. We then go home and sit on our couch to browse netflix or our phones. Why are we surprised when our bodies feel so lethargic?
Amazingly, our bodies actually reward us with oxytocin when we move routinely. Depending on your ability, you can make it a full workout, but schedule in some time each day to move your body. There’s some many
options but here are a few:
Go on a walk
Go on a run
The “feel-good” response your body gives you is better than any caffeine! Just a 15 min light pilates routine in the morning is exactly what my body and mind need to feel motivated to start the day. Give it a try!
MAKE TIME TO MOVE SLOWER AND REST
This one is arguably the hardest to commit to. I used to try to commit to leaving blank space on my planner, but anymore, - I literally write “Leave empty” or “Rest Time” on my planner to keep me from over-scheduling. But here’s the real question:
How can taking a nap on the couch or spending time sitting in nature actually make me more productive?
The reality is, it can!
Our lives are so inundated with technology that our brains don’t get any chance to rest. The result is a culture that is constantly rushing around, speeding through traffic lights, and chronically late because we over-commit ourselves and don’t know how to slow down.
Giving yourself some “no screen time” - whatever that looks like for you - and replacing that time with rest can help you reconnect with the real world and feel better when you inevitably have to get back to the grindstone.
Not only will your eyes thank you for the break from all the blue light, but your body will recharge.
SCHEDULE IN CREATIVE ACTIVITIES
Not everyone is creative, but maybe it’s time to broaden what it means to be “creative.”
The way I see it, doing something “creative” is simply allowing yourself to perform an activity that produces something (instead of just consuming) - the process of which brings you joy! The thing you produce doesn’t even have to be a tangible thing necessarily.
Considering it that way, the possibilities are endless:
Cooking homemade meals
Working with animals
Singing / making music
The list is exhaustive. Again, spending time on technology doesn’t really count here because studies are showing that we actually feel more anxious after putting down our scrolling and realizing how much time has been “wasted.”
Maybe that’s our psyche telling us we are creatures, wired to “create” not just “consume.”
Hopefully, some of these suggestions will help you
schedule a healthier self-care regimen into your life. It really will feel like running a marathon at first - starting new habits is hard, but we at Rooted for Good believe in you!
Just know that what’s waiting on the other side is a healthier and happier you!