Now that we all know what self-care is and how it works, let’s talk about making a schedule for yourself. I know, I know – work is the last thing you want to do , but this is for yourself! I think you’re worth some extra time. Besides, we both know the outcome is going to be a happier and more balanced person, which is a great goal! I’ll break down the details for you to get started.
What Relaxes You?
First off, taking care of yourself doesn’t have to look like a music video. That would be nice, and if you’re capable of making that happen, then go off. However, let’s start with something realistic. I recommend thinking of an activity, book, movie, or anything that brings your stress level down. If you like shooting hoops to shake off the day, do it! You don’t have to be laying face down in a dark room to feel at peace. Make a list of anything that brings you a sense of calm.
Can You Do It Alone?
By this I mean can you do it when you don’t have someone else to turn to? I wish we all had people to turn to whenever times get rough, but that’s not always the case. There are going to be days when you might be unable or unwilling to reach out to others. In those scenarios it’s important to have safe practices set up that can keep you grounded and healthy.
Can You Do It For Free?
Honestly, free things just rule. In my experience, spending my money all willy-nilly causes a spiral effect of guilt and shame. It’s become all too easy for me to talk myself out of self-care when it involves payment. To work around that mind game I started looking for loopholes. I go to the community center near my home to exercise, because it’s free and the patrons are usually retirees. It kills two birds with one stone: I get those good endorphins while avoiding the anxiety of exercising around people more likely to judge me. Walking, meditation, stretching, painting your nails, singing super loud, and other activities are just a few examples.
How Often Can You Do It?
Here’s the fun part! Now that you have a list of things that relax you, that you can do alone and for free, all we have to do is determine when you can do it. Ideally it would be every day, but let’s start slowly. What I did was start on the weekends. I had no excuse to put things off on Saturday or Sunday when I like to do them. I started first thing in the morning, because that’s when I’ve got the most energy. As an early riser I’m also usually alone. This sets me on the right foot for the rest of the day. Slowly, I started introducing my activities into weekdays. A Monday night here, a Wednesday night there until I had an activity in place four to five days a week. Sometimes I do the same thing over and over again (nightly face routine) or switch it up day by day (exercise). The key is to never do something that can hurt or endanger me (triggering my eating disorder).
I really hope this helps! I have a unique set-up right now with work that allows me more free time than I’ve ever had before, but I still struggle to make time for myself. My solution has been to carve out time no matter what for the things I’ve listed for myself, because I know I’ll need the good tools when my days get dark. Let me know in the comments what your schedule looks like! And never forget: You got this.