Note: This is a guest post from Randi Kay of Naturally Randi Kay.
In a world where time seems more precious than gold and making to-do lists are now on our to-do list, it can feel like every second of our spare time is called for.
In this scenario, the idea of making time for ourselves can feel overwhelming, or even selfish.
But what if there was a better way? What if this whole ‘self-care’ thing was not just another task on your to-do list? What if it was a part of how you operated? Or better yet, what if your self-care actually made you feel like you had even more time?
The term “self-care” has been commandeered by the wellness industry as of late and is often defined by activities ranging from lighting a candle to luxurious spa days. With this mentality, it can be hard to fathom “self-care” as a part of your everyday life. But the good news is that true self-care is more a way of life than something you include on your to-do list.
I define self-care as the act of tuning into your true needs and then acting accordingly. By this, I mean a) you take a moment to check in, b) listen to that wise part of yourself, c) and then act on what you hear.
That may look like items on your to-do list, such as getting a massage, going to therapy, or having a solid morning ritual. But the real magic happens when you bring self-care into your everyday life. And a great way to do this is to make tweaks to your current activities, or self-care power ups, as I like to call them.
Here are some examples of what it could look like:
Let’s start with taking a look at how you start your day. What are you listening to when you get ready in the morning? Is it some heavy news story or could it be some music that lifts you up?
How you start your day sets the stage for how the rest of the day will go. So why not jazz up your getting ready routine with things that bring you joy? Save the news and other information consumption for later in the day.
If you have a morning commute, this is a great time for a gratitude practice. Thinking or saying aloud what you are grateful for can put you in a wonderful mindset for taking on your workday or other commitments. There’s a lot of power in leading with gratitude.
Once you get going for the day, the next thing to consider is how you are going about your daily tasks. If you are sitting at a desk for hours at a time, take a look at how you are holding yourself. If you are hunched over and your head is jutting forward, adjust your posture to a more neutral position and get up and move around regularly. This little tweak alone can save your body from a lot of aches and pains.
In any task you do, notice how you are breathing. Turn your shallow chest breathing into deep belly breaths. This not only takes tension away from your neck and shoulders, but calms the nervous system and keeps the abdomen healthy. You are breathing anyway, why not make it therapeutic?
Moving to the end of the day, it’s common to want to relax and veg out with your favorite TV show. If this is something you choose to do, I recommend powering-up with some gentle stretching while you watch to make sure your body processes the stress of the day properly. This not only helps you stretch for longer periods of time, but it also nurtures your body’s needs.
Again, these are just some common examples, but the number of tweaks you can make are endless.
If you are having a hard time knowing what to do, a helpful exercise is something I like to call “This for That.” Think how you can sub out an unhealthy choice for a healthier one. More water and a quick walk in the afternoon instead of another cup of coffee. A mindful breathing break instead of a social media break. Or getting up and talking to your coworkers instead of sending an email.
You really don’t need more time for self-care. You just need to swap something out for it. And these power-ups can make all of the difference. Most of our body pain and life stressors were created by small and simple habits overtime. So the best way to heal them is by small and simple habits.
There’s a popular quote floating around the internet that states, “We are what we repeatedly do.” And while the internet can’t decide on who actually said it, no one’s debating its truth. Why not make sure what we repeatedly do serves us?
And remember, it’s not always about what you do, it’s how you are doing it. Changing how you do something can make that task less draining and less stressful, giving you more energy to do more meaningful things.
Imagine if you weren’t so maxed out by the end of the day. It would feel like you had more time and energy to play with your kids, gather with friends, or do other acts of self-care that you enjoy.
Embrace the small and simple. Let your daily habits serve you. And trust that you have all of the time in the world to be happy and healthy.
Randi Kay is a Holistic Health Practitioner based out of Fargo, North Dakota. Along with her local healing practice, Randi produces the Simple Self Care podcast and offers mentoring and online courses at Naturally Randi Kay.
If you would like to read more about Self-Care, Issue 011 of Simplify Magazine dives deep into the topic, featuring exerts from all over the world. Find the digital magazine here.