I love a plan…I might not always stick 100% to the plan but having one makes me feel better. This is true in all aspects of my life but it wasn’t always like that. As I said last week, it’s so easy to put everyone else first that we don’t make time to nurture ourselves (or our ideas – which I will be talking about next week).
When it feels like there isn’t time to having a relaxing bath or to enjoy a healthy meal, have a special treat or take a deep breath – that is when we most need to. It’s something I struggle with, I am a busy kinda gal, I like it that way but it can cause me problems. I used to use lists but then I found I lost them, forgot to look at them or had to make a list of my lists! I put reminders in my phone, but so often I too busy to see them…so now, I have a new plan. A plan specifically created to nurture myself.
Creating time for self-care
After talking with a client and seeing her come up with a solution to a similar problem I reflected on our session. My client had decided she needed to block out days in her calendar to ensure she achieved all that she needed too….including rest time.
Like my client, before creating a self-care plan for myself, I was trying to fit ‘me time’ whenever I could. Which basically meant every few weeks when I remembered. Time would pass and suddenly I was feeling run down, overwhelmed, and on edge. (There are times this still happens because life happens).
How to create a plan to nurture yourself
I mentioned in a video over in the LinkedIn group the other day the different areas of our life that require nurture (and I talked about how to assess these areas in your life):
When creating a plan to nurture yourself think about the activities that you enjoy related to each area, and keep it in a place that you can look at it often and re-evaluate monthly, looking at any blocks and how you might overcome them.
I thought it might be helpful to show you my plan as an example…it goes without saying you can make yours however you want. If you need more inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to start. As I mentioned above, I put the non-negotiable elements of this plan into my calendar which I open daily. I work around holidays/school holidays and my working days. You will need to tailor it depending on what your days look like in terms of working hours, caring responsibilities and other commitments.
Get up early (before everyone else is awake) and choose one of:
- 15-minute meditation
- 15-30 mins of yoga
- 30 – 45 mins running
This is followed by reviewing my day and prioritising 3 things that *have* to happen.
Afternoon/Through the day
- Drink water and make healthy food choices
- Get outside (with/without the children depending on the day)
- Play and connect with the kids
- Create some time to connect with my community (especially important as a self-employed mum)
- Actively disconnect from technology
- Time with my partner to reconnect after a busy day
- Tidy up (this doesn’t always happen but I feel better if I do)
- Watch TV/read
- Run (once a week with my club)
- Go to bed early
Now I am sure these all sound suitably sensible and common sense-like but they are also the things that go out of the window when I have booked too many clients in or over-committed on volunteering or when the kids are ill/won’t go to bed. I try to cover each of the main areas of my life and aim to meet all of them over the week. As a general rule, the most important and therefore the one I am able to keep most consistent is the morning routine. You will find your own activities and routines.
This plan is not set in stone, some days/weeks I do more self-care than on other days. I also schedule in one day a month that is free. I put my holidays in as far in advance as I can – particularly important as someone who is self-employed. On the whole though, by taking the time to acknowledge that ‘winging it’ doesn’t work when it comes to nurturing myself it has helped me make regular time for myself. The result is that everyone is happier.
Self-care and nurture aren’t about spending lots of money or being by yourself all the time…it’s about creating balance in your life and ensuring that you plan in time for yourself as well as others.