Self-care is an often overused term to describe how we care for ourselves, pretty self-explanatory right? Sometimes, but often we tend to confuse self-care with distraction. The best way that I found to describe this difference, is to compare our inner selves to our bedroom. If, inevitably, our room becomes messy, we tend to get stressed out. No one likes living in a messy environment. We could feel that stress of a dirty room, and say...watch Netflix or something. We might be distracted from the mess because we are watching a great show on Netflix (Great British Baking Show anyone??), but afterwards the mess is still there...and what's worse is we often times feel more stressed, and beat ourselves up for not cleaning up the mess in the first place.
Self-care...is cleaning up the mess. Self-care becomes doing the things that help to remove the stress from our lives, and recharge ourselves. Another way to tell the difference between self-care and distraction, is after distracting we tend to feel the same or worse, after we engage in self-care we tend to feel better and more energized.
It has always been difficult to find the things that charge our batteries, to find the things that fall under our umbrella of self-care. The main ones that everyone needs are: eating regularly, getting some physical activity, and sleeping. Those are the big three, whatever else that might fall under our umbrella could be unique to ourselves.
The challenge is to find those things! I challenge each of you who is reading this article, to find at least 3-5 things that you can do on a regular basis that charge your battery. Things perhaps that you have neglected doing, or perhaps even things that you always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to do.
Stick to a Routine- Routines can make us feel stuck, but they also provide stability and structure in our lives, especially in times of stress.
- You could stay in your pajamas all day, but taking a shower/getting dressed/putting on shoes will help to signal to yourself (and others) that this is work time for you.
- Check in with friends - you can both plan a work session then check in at the end of the hour to see what you’ve accomplished.
Give yourself a break from screens...
- You’ll be spending A LOT of time online, and your mind and heart will need a break. So if your favorite pastimes involve screens (e.g., Netflix, video games), find some non-screen downtime favorites: dust off your old board games, go shoot some hoops or take a walk, read for fun or listen to a podcast, workout or bake some cookies... Give yourself plenty of time to unplug from screens.