Although self care is gaining popularity rapidly, it’s not just a fad. Self care is most effective when practiced as part of everyday life, as a commitment or habitual act.
Here are 3 ways to find (aka make) time for self care:
Be an early riser.
Wake up early (…or earlier). Although it may seem counterintuitive, waking up earlier to add in a brisk morning walk, breathing meditation or dream journaling session could actually leave you with more energy than on those days you hit the snooze button 3-5 times. Also, when the day is coming to an end, you will be more likely to feel tired and have better success at getting to bed with ease.
Research shows that people are most efficient in terms of energy levels and mental focus during the first half of the day. This knowledge is derived from the study of circadian rhythms- the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats every 24 hours. Sleep specialists also recommend starting your day with some sunlight to heighten alertness.
Drop a couple of things from the bottom of your list. If you make a daily schedule, the top three things should be the most important and therefore, done first. It is recommended to actually do the thing you want to do least, FIRST, to get it done and out of the way. Once the tough stuff is complete, the day will flow with a lot more ease and a lot less stress.
Before approaching your top 3 goals, be like some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and begin with a morning ritual that involves your favorite self-care techniques. Mindfulness, gratitude or a nice hot shower and breakfast are great options. Once your day aligns with routine and is scheduled for success, the things that are lower on the totem pole will automatically drop off as they most likely can wait til tomorrow.
Establish a bedtime routine.
Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Remember being a kid and having a story time before bed? If not, maybe it was a bath and brushing our teeth. Whatever your routine, chances are you got to sleep a lot easier in those days than you do now. That’s because there’s something to be said about taking time to transition. In our adult years, that means easing away from the stressors of work, household and caretaker responsibilities and moving toward a Parasympathetic Nervous System (Rest and Digest Mode) function starting right after dinner.
Our bodies require about 30 minutes or more spent doing a relaxing activity, like reading, writing or stretching before “officially” hitting the hay. So after dinner and up to an hour before bedtime, put the phone away, dim the lights, limit caffeine and start to sail off toward a peaceful sleep routine. Note that 10pm is when melatonin release begins, according to the circadian rhythms of the body. You want to be in bed asleep by this time as often as possible.
Self Care Journaling Exercise or Rumination: Plan out your self care ritual. Not having a plan is what stops us from proceeding to where we’d like to be. If self care is something you’d like to prioritize, write down what you envision for a routine. Don’t worry if your plan doesn’t come out exactly as what you pictured. The important part is to set a plan in place. Your self care practice can always be modified as you go.