Do you ever find yourself depleted at the end of the day? Do you find it hard to incorporate regular, sustainable self-care?
I have heard this time and again from parents and non-parents alike: “I don't have time for self-care”.
I can totally understand because I used to believe this too. In fact, it wasn't until I became a therapist that I began to recognize what self-care really was.
This is why I am writing today to tell you the story of how I began engaging in regular self-care practices that I can complete in as little as 3-5 minutes.
In 2010, I began my Master's program studying Marriage and Family Therapy. I was working full-time during the day and going to school in the evenings and on weekends. It was grueling and I was exhausted. Looking back, I'm really glad I didn't have kids yet during this time because I know I would have been even more thinly stretched.
The funny thing was that all my professors in all my classes talked about the importance of self-care, but they didn't really tell us HOW. How were we supposed to take care of ourselves when we are being pulled in so many directions? How are we supposed to help our clients with self-care when we can't even do it well ourselves?
I needed answers - for my own health and wellbeing as well as my clients'.
And then I had a class on Family Therapy Theories where I learned about Virginia Satir's methods. She had created a brilliant tool called the "Self Mandala" which changed how I viewed self-care forever.
I had an “aha!” moment during that class that started me on a journey of finding time for self-care, even when it felt like I didn't have any.
Today, I want to share with you 3 reasons why not having enough time for self-care is not true.
Let us break things down once and for all!
● Everyone has at least 3 to 5 minutes each day to dedicate to some sort of self-care
It can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths, stretching your body, and drinking some water. Being intentional and present for a few short moments can re-energize your day, help you maintain focus, or prepare for restful sleep.
● Self-care doesn't have to be a long process
Let me give you an example: Sure, trips to the gym are great but not always necessary. If you'd like to go to a yoga class, but don't have the time to commit to a full hour plus a commute, roll out a mat or towel and do some basic yoga where you are. There are some great guided videos you can follow for free on YouTube that give you a great workout even in 20 minutes!
● You don't have time NOT to do self-care
What I mean by this is that when you don't take care of yourself, you will start to break down - whether that be physically, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise. Being at least a little preventative and proactive towards your own care goes a long way in your overall health.
As you can see, the belief that you don't have time is actually untrue... I will always remember that fateful day when I realized how I could achieve real self-care with minimal time commitment. I no longer believed that I didn't have the time.
If you've gotten this far in my message, you may be interested to know that I have gone the extra step and created a Self-Care Planner that helps you clearly strategize how to create a self-care routine for your life. It's totally customizable so you can duplicate as many pages as you need. I've made it easy for you so the guesswork is completely removed. You can also choose to make this planner supercharged by pairing it with the Relationship-Care Planner so you and your partner can strategize better and more powerful ways to care for your Partnerhood as well.
Here's to self-care!
Christie Sears Thompson
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
The Partnerhood (www.thepartnerhood.com)
Trade Winds Therapy & Relationship Coaching (www.tradewindstherapy.com)