Self-care. I hadn’t even heard of the word until graduate school. It’s still a concept that I’m not very good at…but I’m working on it. So what is it?

Self-care is any activity that one does in order to promote mental, physical, emotional, etc. wellness. It means taking care of yourself… Taking the time to do things for yourself. It looks different for everybody. But it also is something that you can include others in. For example, going to the movies with a friend can be a way of self-care for someone.  

My job can be extremely stressful. From breaking up fights, to helping students through trauma, teaching in the classroom, and about 10,000 other things, I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted by the end of the week. Thankfully, school doesn’t meet on weekends, which gives me two days (sometimes) to recharge. This is my opportunity to take care of myself. In order to give my students the best of me, I have to take this time. Otherwise, I’ll be burnt out by Wednesday. 

For those who struggle with self-care, you are not alone! It can feel selfish and wrong to do at times. You might be pulled in 100 different directions everyday. Your kids need you; your pets need you; your spouse/significant other needs you; your family needs you; your boss needs you; your co-workers need you; you have a house to clean; you need to go to the grocery story; you have errands to run; and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. 

Here are my tips to Self-Care: 

  1. Schedule time for yourself. It may seem silly… but if you need a babysitter to watch your kids so you can escape for a bit, then you’ve got to plan ahead! I’m a calendar person. I’ve got to put everything in my agenda. And I love having that visual of “Self-Care” on my Saturday box (or whatever day). It gives me something to work towards. It’s that prize at the end of a race. Think of the time as an appointment. It’s for your health. It can’t be rescheduled unless absolutely necessary. 
  2. Be flexible. This might seem contradictory to the last point, but hear me out. If you’ve had a tough day and you’re drained by the time you get home at the end of the day, take some time for yourself. Even if it’s just 20 minutes. Not only do you need it, you deserve it. If something comes up when you’re supposed to have your scheduled self-care time, go with the flow… and make sure to fit in that self-care as soon as you can.
  3. Don’t half-ass it. Put your all into this time. You’ll be able to recharge quicker. Don’t check your work email while at the nail salon getting a pedicure. As the great Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation said, “Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” You’ll thank yourself later!
  4. It doesn’t have to be expensive or take all day. If you want an undisturbed nap, take an hour! There are plenty of things that you can do to take care of yourself that don’t require a large chunk of time! Some of my favorite things for self-care in a time crunch are: reading a chapter or two in my book, taking a nap, working out, getting a manicure or pedicure, going to see a movie, date night with my husband, going on a run with my dog, etc!
  5. Do something that makes you happy. You do things for others to make them happy. Now, do something for yourself that makes you happy! If you want to catch up with an old friend over coffee, do it. If you want to hike a trail, do it. Heck, if you want to go sky-diving, do it. Now, you might end up more tired than you were before you did it (like sky-diving), but a lot of times, self-care is directed more towards mental recharging. 

I’ve decided to dedicate Saturday posts to self-care. This will help keep me accountable for this sacred time (because, honestly, I don’t self-care as much as I should). It will also give ideas to others and strategies to use when self-care is needed!

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve used my self-care time to discover new trails with Ally. The exercise, the peaceful waterfall, and the time with Ally (watching her have too much fun in the water) calmed my mind and recharged my batteries. Self-care Saturday is my favorite.

 

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