Prioritize

Self Care. Here are two self-care practices I’ve prioritized, one that I’ve dropped, and one that I’m trying out.

Prioritize

Here are two self-care practices I’ve prioritized, one that I’ve dropped, and one that I’m trying out:

Focusing On My Sleep Routine (keeper!) – With a longer commute, earlier hours, and a more demanding job, I reworked my sleep so that I was going to bed earlier, focusing on getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night.

Purposeful Friend Time (keeper!) – My weekly coffee shop dates and dinner/Netflix nights give me something to look forward to, and time to laugh and relax during my week. 

My Gym Membership (dropped!) – Last January, a friend gave me a discount coupon for a gym she works for. This weekly habit served me for a few months, but eventually, the discount expired and I stressed about the expense, often thinking about if I was using the membership enough to pay full price. Instead, I began walking around my neighborhood, as this is now more doable for my schedule and wallet. 

Bedtime Book (new!) – A ritual modeled by my parents, I’ve been reading a few chapters before bed at night, phone in the other room, giving my brain a gentle segue to restful sleep. 

Now, I am NOT knocking the power of purchasing new bath bombs, your favorite latte, or having a Wednesday night Netflix binge. 

These small indulgences can really get you through. They are quick fixes to unexpected bumps in the week. So have your go-tos that make you feel better. But consider making the infrastructure of your self-care plan sturdy with activities that produce long-lasting results like therapy, quality friendships, and ample rest. What I’ve learned from the mental health field so far is that life is easier to manage when we have a plan, little joys to fall back on, and coping skills that are tried and true. 

Your self-care doesn’t have to feel stale. You can give it a reboot at any time. Ask yourself 1) what is working 2) what isn’t working 3) what would I like to try? Do this often. New job, new relationship, new city, new anything? Take a look at that self-care plan. It may need to be refined. There is no one-size-fits-all template for taking care of yourself and it may take some brainpower and uncomfortable reflection. But with a little bit of mindfulness, maybe a few reality-checks, and just being real with yourself, you can add depth to how you take care of yourself: I give you permission to give yourself permission to reclaim your self-care.

Skylar is a mental health counselor who talks about self-care as the foundation of a prosperous life.