Schedule Your Way To Self-Care

OMG, can I just get a breath here?! I feel like my world has completely collapsed around me as my husband and I adjust to ordering groceries two weeks ahead and rinsing each other with bleach when we come back into the house. I thought I was getting pretty good at this whole adulting thing, yet find myself wanting my mom who is quarantined 30 minutes away. I KNOW. I AM SUCH A BABY. And I am not even truly affected by coronavirus, thank God. I cannot even imagine the stress and despair of those dealing with this pandemic firsthand.

I am a busy person. Not the “stop the glorification of busy” type, but more that I am passionate about using my time to complete projects and help others. I believe there is always an opportunity to help someone, always an opportunity to improve a project I am working on. I mean, I was running a homemade greeting card business out of my basement bedroom when I was four years old…This Type A, go-getter personality is great when the world is running at its usual fierce pace. But when everything comes to a very loud screech and you find yourself perched in a lounge chair in your sunroom for 23 days straight (minus a quick trip to the hospital..eek), you realize just how busy your mind is used to being. Within 10 minutes of being quarantined, I came up with the idea for #MyCovidStory, a passion project to capture raw, unedited photos, videos and stories of #COVID19 in order to inspire, encourage and incite change.

My husband and parents had a bit of an intervention with me and pointed out that I also should use this time to get into a healthier schedule of eating (I tend to lose a lot of weight while working) and self-care. They didn’t exactly have to pull my leg on this one as self-care is one of my passions. I was irate last year when it became a HUGE buzz on social media. The selfish, only care for yourself, forget your friends, tell your boss no, etc. approach was a turn-off for me. While all of those things can be a part of self-care, to me self-care is more about taking care of yourself so you are healthy enough to go out and care for others and give projects your very best.

I read an amazing book recently about habit stacking and I’ve become obsessed with this concept. You basically take something that you want to start doing and attach it to a habit that you are already doing. I forget to floss ALL of the time, so I decided to practice habit stacking by flossing around my morning habit of brushing my teeth. I also leave the floss right next to my toothbrush so I don’t miss a day. It’s been pretty successful.

So I brought that concept to little steps I wanted to take to practice healthy self-care. I stacked drinking tea, honey and apple cider vinegar onto taking my afternoon meds. i stacked yoga onto my morning routine as what I do right after I finish my coffee. I stacked meditation at the end of the yoga. By doing these simple habit stacks, I am able to stay more committed to my self-care routine. One I am severely struggling with is when I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning. I will get there!

Things I hope to add include free-writing for 30 mins a day, practicing yoga twice a day, filling in my grateful journal daily. I would be so overwhelmed if I added those with everything else, though, so they will be added once I accomplish getting the sprinkles of self-care I listed so far into my routine as habits.

One other way people find helpful for self-care is actually scheduling a meeting with themselves on their work calendar. Especially people who work in an office find this helpful because they hate to break meetings, and are less likely to “miss” their self-care time. Another thing this accomplishes is showing others in your organization that you are busy so they won’t schedule anything for you during that time. This can be hard if you work in an industry where meetings are canceled, rescheduled and scheduled on top of each other.

Lists is a third way that helps keep people on track with their self-care. Listing everything you want to accomplish on a daily basis with self-care creates a need for you to check-off that list. I incorporate lists with my habit stacking. You can see an example of my list below. Lists are also helpful because you can use them to track your growth over time and learn what is and isn’t working.

Habit stacking, scheduling meetings with yourself and creating lists with items to check off are just three ways to keep yourself committed to your self-care goals. The trick is to start small and build from there. Don’t expect to be a self-care maven on day one. Life happens (and is happening A LOT right now). Don’t get agitated when life rears her ugly head and interrupts what you had planned. Accept it, go with it, and start again with your routine the next day.

Thinking of all of you during this time. Xoxo.

– Marji J. Sherman