By Crystal Shepherd
It’s commonly agreed that ensuring your own self-care is crucial if you want to live a happy, healthy and productive life. But intellectualizing this concept, and actually accepting and living what self-care embodies, is very different. Time is often the biggest issue people have when it comes to self-care. When you have a laundry list of to-dos, self-care is easily pushed to the bottom. So, how do we overcome the complication of time, in order to prioritize acts that are essential to our well-being? While we can’t “create” more time, we can maximize the moments that we already have available.
We can get easily bogged down about being unable to spend an entire hour meditating or journaling. Don’t get me wrong, putting aside that much time to focus on yourself is amazing, but sometimes our schedules just won’t allow it. Instead of giving up on self-care altogether, there is a way of implementing self-care in smaller increments more frequently: “microdosing” self-care throughout your day.
The first step is finding time in your schedule. Ideally one would build a schedule around self-care, but there are weeks where that is extremely difficult to do. When self-care can’t ride First Class in your calendar, prioritizing it comes in the form of finding gaps and filling self-care into them. The most important thing to remember is to never let the self-care train stop altogether. Maybe you can’t rearrange your meetings, school pick-ups and conferences to spend an hour journaling, but what about the time in between? If you commute to work via public transportation, bring that book that you’ve been meaning to finish. Boom! Thirty minutes of self-care before you even arrive to the office.
A key to microdosing self-care implementation is understanding the difference between pampering and self-care. Both concepts are beneficial, but they are distinctly different. Getting manicures and hair blowouts are enjoyable and make us feel good, but these activities do not provide the reflection and recovery that’s key in self-care. These aren’t bad activities, and we don’t need to stop doing them, but what if you can do both at once? Try bringing your journal to your next mani pedi, or practicing yoga breathing during your spa appointment. This allows for mental reflection and recovery while treating yourself! A win-win.
Lastly, remember that your time and energy is key to self-care. Don’t beat yourself up when you’re unable to squeeze in your highly-valued meditative practices. That’s the opposite of self-care, as you’re spending your time and energy working against yourself. Instead of stressing for five minutes about how little time you have for yourself, take a five minute walk outside. Creating small moments, and using these breaks wisely, will add up to much more productivity than worrying will.
Self-care is essential to our life, and being able to fit in time weekly for mental wellness, exercise, and recovery, is key to well-being. But sometimes our schedules just don’t allow for the large time blocks that we desire. When these busy weeks are on our calendars, remember that little doses of self-care compound, and will end up being a big dose of self-care all week.