Recently, like as in 3 minutes ago, I read an article that had me confused. The article was about how time spent alone is important and how it’s actually good for you. That part didnt confuse me – I love being alone! But, the they touched base on how people can sometimes feel as if they don’t even have time to wash their hair. I know that this is something, the very busyness of life, that plagues everyone. But, to me, that thought process, that sentence, that idea, that you’re too busy for basic hygiene or to even take a second to yourself is ludicrous and foreign.
For me, spending time by myself is a main priority. I’ve started spending more time doing things I love, relaxing and self-care everything because of my migraines. Too much of everything and too much stress causes me to migraine out and while the drugs can be fun, the pain and migraine hangovers are not so much.
I’m no scientist or doctor or really anyone with a background in anything that would help give my opinions credibility, but I’m a firm believer that most of the population is stupid. Why? Well, for a myriad of reasons, but in this instance, because we’ve let ourselves get to this point.
Who can we blame for our stress? Our lack of self-awareness? The fact that we think we’re too busy to do anything? Only ourselves. Sure, you can blame your boss for the tight deadlines and the long work hours and your kids for keeping you up or that you have to schlep them around to this and that and that and this. But, why have we let our lives become such a chaotic mess? Why do we continually say yes to everything, only to find out that we aren’t Super Woman or Martha Stewart, and we can’t do everything?
I deliberately only allow myself 2 – 3 appointments AND commitments with friends a week. Three is honestly pushing it, but if one of those commitments is a nice yoga practice or a spa appointment, it balances it out.
I know that 2 – 3 appointments/commitments can be absolutely impossible if you’ve kids in multiple activities. But, that’s the sweet spot for me. It doesnt have to be for you, which makes self-care and a slower life that much better. You can find your own sweet spot.
Is it 4 – 5 appointments? A day specified each week, or month, that is dedicated to everything you want to do that day? A day to only relax and unwind and dig into yourself?
A day, or specific time of the night (or morning!) Where you will only focus on things to better yourself? Whatever that may be?
Me? I’m lucky enough to have two designated times. Again, they were made to help with pain management and a proactive method to keep that said pain at bay, but I still have two.
I made myself a bedtime routine. It sounds silly for a 30-year old to have a bedtime routine, but I have one and I love it. You can read more about what I do, and what tools I use to relax me into slumber here, but the gist of it is that I have a designated time in the evening where I stop what I’m doing, be it writing, cleaning, spending time with friends or my husband, and I begin to really unwind. This time is all about me and all about taking care of myself. It helps me sleep better and I feel rested and ready the next morning.
And, it is continually evolving, depending on what type of week I’ve had or what my body needs most at that time.
While zoning out, and unplugging from electronics an hour before bed works wonders, there’s a second habit I’ve formed that ensures a commitment to myself and my weekend. Every weekend, I get up and head over to my comfy chair in my living room, light a candle, make my coffee and read. I read magazines, I read books, I flip through seed catalogues, I sometimes jot down notes and thoughts if I’m feeling creative. I do my absolute best not to look at my phone just yet, saving that until later in the day.
Why is this weekend morning routine so important?
Because I get my self-care and relaxation out of the way. It may count a little counter-intuitive to be stating that I’m getting my self-care ‘out of the way’ as I babble on about why self-care, time for yourself, and slowing down is so important. But, for me, waking up and spending time with my thoughts and a warm (okay, piping hot) cup of coffee is the perfect way to start the day. Some people love to exercise, others like to ply their body with vitamins from a smoothie to get it going, I like to slowly let my brain get its ass in gear and wake up to comforts. It also lets me relax into the busyness of the weekend. I can easily continue my day and work away on writing, on projects, on making 8 loaves of bread because I know that I’ve already taken care of myself.
Slowing down is so important in our harried lives. For some, it’s near impossible. But, even taking 3 minutes to sit with a cup of tea or coffee and just breathe can do wonders. Find out what’s making you so busy. Do you commit to far too many dinner dates and drinks with friends? Take one of those commitments out of the equation. Do you now feel better?
Jam-packed social calendars during the holidays never seem to help us or make us feel any more merry and bright, so why would they do so any other time of the year?
Once you’ve made the commitment, can you breathe easier knowing you have just a little extra time for what’s important? You.