I’ve been absent from content creation lately, and not by choice. Some unexpected circumstances have meant that I have had to focus all my energy on the bare minimum needed to keep the home and toddler in check, leaving none to write.
There has been a silver lining to all this, though! I’ve had to practice serious self-care during this season of life. Self-care has been important to me in the past, but now it is a non-negotiable!
Here are some of the things I have added to my basic self-care list in order to keep myself healthy:
1. Say no
I’m terrible about turning down opportunities! I never want to say no or feel like I am letting someone down. By saying yes to everything that came my way, I was sabotaging all the projects I had taken on, and my health! Once I started saying no, the overwhelm I felt disappeared and I was (and am) a lot calmer and happier.
2. Don’t over-explain the no
I am guilty of feeling like I have to justify turning down opportunities. I used to respond to emails for guest posts or interviewers with a long explanation as to why I couldn’t at the time or at all.
It was a waste of my time and a further drain on my energy, especially when the emailer would come back trying to negotiate in light of the information I had given. There is nothing wrong with giving an explanation, but I have decided to give shorter and more definitive responses to conserve my time and energy (and sanity).
3.Budget your schedule assuming low energy
When I used to schedule out my day, I would pick a long list of to-dos that I planned on accomplishing. I did this because I expected I would have the energy when the time came to get these things done. Life always had a way of shredding these plans like a mad cat without a scratching post!
Now I have recognized that, because of my circumstances, I don’t have the energy of a normal person my age. I might never. And I could pout about that, or I could make do with what I have. I have chosen to do the latter, and plan my days out based on expecting I will have low energy. That way, when I get more done, it is a big accomplishment.
4. Only pick one thing to get done each day
Even with low energy, there is laundry to tend to, dishes to wash, food to cook, diapers to change…the list goes on. For the things that aren’t a daily occurrence, I choose one a day to work on. I don’t have to get it all done that day, but I chip away at it as much as I can so it gets done in a more timely manner than if I waited until I had the energy to do it all at once (which would be never).
5. When I do have the energy, I do something I LOVE!
When I have energy, I do something I love. I can do the dishes whether I have energy or not, but I can’t write and enjoy it without energy. Or learn new ways of doing my makeup. Or dance with my son!
When energy is available, I pick something I love and spend some time doing that before I do anything else. You never know how long the energy will stick around! This has increased my joy and peace exponentially, and is my favorite addition to my self-care routine.
I used to think taking care of myself was stupid or selfish, but now I know that it is a privilege to take care of my body, mind, and spirit and nourish them. Not just for myself, but also for the people I love so that I am a better wife, mother, and friend.