I can’t even tell you how often I ask people this question: “What do you want?” It may sound like the simplest question ever, but it inevitably brings about the most complex responses in people, and oh so often…. crickets.
We tend to spend so much time thinking about, defining, and avoiding what we don’t want, that when asked, “what do you want?” we freeze, can’t answer, and actually don’t know what we want.
One of the most straightforward places to start learning what we do want is through Self-Care. Figuring out, defining, and practicing some soul filling self-care activities benefits us, and our self-worth, in numerous many ways.
It teaches us who we are, what we like, what we do want.
It also shows us ways to cope with, recover from, and survive trying times.
It allows us to feel full, connected to ourselves, and worth-it no matter what is going on in life.
It enables us to detach ourselves from a problem, situation or person and see our individual value, and the big picture, separate from what is going on in a moment. This space helps to remind us, “This too will pass.”
Getting the Most out of your Self-Care
So, how do we go about getting the right Self-Care for us? It may sound complicated, or like a crapshoot, but really, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Start by dividing Self-Care into 3 categories
Category 1- things that bring immediate satisfaction with very little effort. Simple things like taking a bath, having a glass of wine, reading a good book, listening to music, watching a favorite TV show/movie, painting toenails, at home facials… Things that you can do at home, in your pj’s, totally on your own.
Category 2- things that require minimal effort, but bring about big rewards. These are things like getting a massage, acupuncture, haircuts, mani/pedi’s. In other words, things that you have to leave the house for, and help you relax and reconnect with yourself, but you don’t have to be all glammed up for, or coordinate with other people’s scheduling, timing, desires.
And, category 3- things that take more effort but make ya feel fabulous! These are things like lunch dates, happy hour with friends, night’s out on the town, hosting parties, road trips. In other words, things that require effort but totally change up the monotony of your everyday life and make you feel alive.
Pretty simple so far, right?
Now, spend some time figuring out what activities fit into each of these categories for you. There isn’t a one-size-fit’s-all for this. There isn’t a right or wrong for this. There is only what feels good to you!
Start by review your schedule for the previous two weeks and the upcoming two weeks. What do you notice? Do you see any trends? Are you looking forward to, or dreading the upcoming weeks? What are you looking forward to, and what is causing you dread? Which weeks have you been the happiest and most balanced? What did you do those weeks?
All of this information, all of these answers, will help you to build your own categories, and see the areas you can influence in your upcoming weeks. For example:
- Maybe you’ve got a killer meeting, or an event you’ve got to work, but if you know that a mani/pedi makes ya feel wonderful then you can schedule one before and/or after the event to help make the event more tolerable.
- Or, maybe you’ve got company coming to town, so planning in some quite or down time after they leave will help you rebound and feel rested again.
- Or, maybe you’ve got endless alone time on the books so scheduling a coffee date, happy hour, or event out of the house is what you need to break up the silence.
Creating Balance with 1-2-3
Hopefully by this point you can see how we can use the 1,2,3 categories to create a balanced schedule!
By looking for holes in our schedule and filling in with categories that are lacking, or saying “no” to areas that are already overloaded, or reorganize our to-do’s to create more down-time, we are able to ensure that we have a schedule that feels balanced for us.
The more balanced we feel, the more worth-it we feel, the more soul-filled we are, the more effort we put into keeping these feelings. Imagine how much easier the effort is if we already know what makes us feel balanced?!