There was a time when the metaphor for self-care was, “Put your oxygen mask on first, before you help others,” like the flight attendant instructs on the airplane during take-off. But self-care isn’t something you should wait to do until it’s already emergency-level. It’s what you should do regularly so that you don’t reach that escalated state. Don’t be burned out or suffering from deteriorating physical or mental health before implementing self-care. In her TEDx Talk, kayaking champion Susannah Winters defines self-care as, “deliberately taking care of your well-being through restorative activities.” We should all be on board with that! Here are some realistic, easy ideas on how to make self-care a priority this year.
People seem to think “self-care” means indulging in a 3-day spa getaway. Sure, it could mean that. Or it could mean simply taking 30 minutes out of your busy day to have a cup of tea in a quiet space while perusing a magazine or reading a book. It’s not about how much you spend or the length of time it takes. It’s about carving out a regular spot of time for yourself to decompress, to wind down, to be alone, to get physical, to take a nap—basically, to do whatever you need to do in order to feel better.
Define Your Self-Care
Make a list of five things you find to be self-caring. Everyone has different tastes so of course, everyone has different self-care needs. Make it even more specific by making different lists defined by time. Some examples:
- Take a walk (possibly with an audio book or some favorite music)
- Have a glass of wine and watch an episode of “Friends” or “Fleabag“
- Read a book or magazine for pleasure
- Call, text, or FaceTime with a special person you don’t see often
- Draw the curtains and take an afternoon nap