Self-care has already become 2018’s most overused buzzword. Everywhere I turn articles are encouraging me to focus on my self-care and to stop taking care of everyone else in this world. I find this fascinating, as I’ve watched many of my acquaintances take these self-care articles and run with them as a way to validate their necessity to not care about the world anymore, just themselves. Um, I just don’t think that’s the way these self-care articles were meant to be interpreted. Yes, we do need to take care of ourselves, but there is a way to ‘self-care’ and also continue to care for the world around us.
Being an introvert, balancing self-care with being an active member of this world has always been tough for me. Bubble baths, yoga and taking time to write are all critical components to be being a functioning human being. However, so is taking the time to look out for my friends and spending time with my family and boyfriend.
I promise you there is a way to mix in self-care to your daily routine, while still being a compassionate human being that is not just all about themselves. Here are some tips I have found to be helpful as I balance self-care with caring for others:
Get Up Earlier
I admit this is a tough one for me. Mornings are more like a rush to shower as quickly as possible, pray to God my dog behaves and goes out, and hoping I make it to work on time. I cringe just thinking of adding anything else to that routine. However, adding just ten minutes of breathing exercises to your morning routine can help center you for the day and give you a quick, potent dose of self-care before you face the stress of your day.
A lot of self-care can actually come from volunteer activities, which have been proven to increase endorphins. This is a perfect way to contribute to your community, while also looking out for your own self-care needs.
Date, Date, Date
I do not mean dating around (just had to clarify, or my bf might have some questions ;).) I mean set up dates with the people you care about in your life to help you manage your time better. A massive stressor for me used to be getting numerous calls throughout the night and feeling like I needed to take them all. By the time I got done talking to Grandpa, Mom, Dad and my best friend in Miami, it was already time to go to bed. So, I switched to setting updates with each of them. This isn’t to say I don’t answer my phone when someone calls but is to say that I have a more organized, dedicated way of talking with each of them so I can give them my full attention and still carve out some time for myself in the night.
Use ‘Do Not Disturb’
This button is magical. I use it ALL OF THE TIME. I currently have it set up on my phone, so no calls or text messages interrupt me when it’s turned on unless certain people (family/bf) call me twice in a row. They are all aware of this so they know to call twice if it’s an emergency. When I am doing yoga or meditating, I always have this turned on so I can make sure to get some quality self-care time, but also not miss anything if there is an emergency.
Develop A Nightly Routine
My nightly routine saves me. I have a specific time every night when I stop checking social media and tune out the world. It’s usually an hour or two before I go to bed. This helps me unwind and process the day.
Remove Social Media Networks From Your Phone
Social media is fine in moderation, but when it becomes an obsession, it can totally wreck any possibility you have for taking care of yourself. The simple act of removing social media apps from your phone can help police how much you are checking in your friends’ glamorous lives. When it’s not available to you 24/7, you will most likely not be using it 24/7. This will help you stay in the moment and focus on what’s most important.
Limiting social media time also contributes to an effective self-care routine by keeping you away from posts that make you feel worse about your current life situation. Instead of falling into the never healthy trap of comparing your life to the lives of others, you will have more time to just focus on making yourself better.
Surround Yourself With A Positive Tribe
It’s amazing how much less self-care you need when you surround yourself with positive people looking out for your best interests. I just now got to a place in my life where I feel genuinely surrounded by the right people, and it’s completely changed my life. Having people in your life who share your values and encourage you to be the best version of yourself is a self-care practice in itself. So is cutting out anyone who is stealing your joy and producing negative energy in your safe place. It can be challenging to get rid of the negative, gossiping friends, but it is necessary to create an environment where you can thrive.
These are just a few ways to make sure you are getting all the self-care you need, while not acting like a completely selfish diva. Taking care of yourself is essential so you can be the girlfriend, daughter, coworker, sister, etc. that everyone needs you to be. It’s also vital to being true to who you are. Just don’t use it as an excuse to think of only yourself. If you think self-care is about always putting yourself first and making decisions that revolve only around you, you’ve got it wrong.
Marji J. Sherman