In the midst of the madness of life, sometimes it is easy to get lost in schoolwork, work activities, social life, household tasks, volunteering, organizations…I’m getting dizzy just typing it all. Life can be overwhelming and exhausting, and it is often hard to find time for yourself in the middle of all of it.
That’s what I want to talk about today – that time for yourself that is beneficial to your personal development. A lot of people call this “wasting time,” but in reality, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. And right now, we have a lot more time on our hands to “waste.”
So let’s take a look at this mythical and magical time of self-care and see what we can learn about how to make the most of it.
What is Self-care?
Self-care is an activity that you do for yourself. It is something in the top tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. It is the last of the seven habits of highly effective people. Why is it last on all of these lists? Because while self-care is very important, it is important to prioritize your ‘must-dos’ and complete them first in order to receive the full benefits of doing a nice self-care afternoon.
Meaning, get your homework and work-work done first, then we can focus on making ourselves feel better. This helps eliminate stress and allows you to take up as much time as you need with your self-care routine, instead of feeling rushed because you have a paper due or a conference call to be on.
For those that want a less broad answer to the question, here are some self-care activities that you can do:
- Read for fun
- Watch a silly video or show you like
- Skincare (for ladies and gents – we all have skin, right?)
- Cooking a meal you love or baking a dessert
- Doing a puzzle
- Listening to a podcast
- Calling a friend
- Clean up your living space (as long as you enjoy those chores, it’s self-care. If you loathe doing them, it fits in the “do before self-care” category.)
These are just a few examples of activities you can do. While I have covered many of these in previous articles, I’ll touch on a couple of ideas for today and discuss some of the benefits of including this time of being focused on you in your schedule.
This is one that I sometimes get eye-rolls about. Believe it or not, skincare is not putting on or taking off makeup, and it is not a ‘girly’ thing to do. As I said, we all have skin, so we might as well take good care of it. Skincare can include washing your face in the morning – I like to use Noxema cream for this – doing a sugar scrub on your hands or legs to get rid of dead skin, or even just putting on some lotion.
My sister makes an awesome sugar scrub for me for my birthday and Christmas each year. I use it after I shave my legs to remove any dead skin, but it works fine with prickly or hairy legs, too! Dead skin is nasty no matter how much hair you have on your body.
Here is a simple recipe for a sugar scrub you can make at home:
The ratio is 4:1 sugar to oil. You can use any kind of course sugar (powdered sugar won’t have the benefits to it,) and basically any kind of liquid oil. My sister typically puts some coconut oil in mine.
(Note if you use coconut oil: Be sure to melt it before mixing to keep it from just being a big clump.)
Put these items both in a mason jar or any other container with a lid, add a few drops of essential oils – your choice of which ones! – and shake/stir/combine/whatever until it makes a gritty paste. You can use on your hands, arms, legs, chest, wherever! Just be sure to rub it in really well and rinse off with warm water for the best effect.
Another simple skincare thing I like to do is what I call cocoa lotion. I don’t know if there’s any science behind it, so feel free to think I’m crazy, but I put some plain lotion in a jar with a spoon or two of cocoa powder and stir it up well. If it seems really thick, I add a few drops of baby oil to the mix. I then rub this into my legs like there’s no tomorrow (and it takes a lot of rubbing to keep it from looking streaky (also works best for smooth legs as hairs can cause it to not spread evenly,)) then I go sit out with my legs in the sun for about 30 minutes, then wipe off any excess lotion with a towel. It leaves my legs looking gold and smooth for days, plus the leg massage you give yourself and the time in the sunshine is awesome self-care!
Journaling is another thing I think people overlook or think is for old ladies or little kids or something. Not true! Journaling is highly beneficial to your mental health, as it brings awareness into your everyday life that you might not have without writing down what you do each day.
Here are a few ideas for a Journal to start today:
- Exercise journal – Write down the number of reps/amount of time you spend on an exercise and try to improve each day.
- Food journal – Write down what you eat for each meal and snack every day. Bringing awareness to your diet can help you to make healthier choices. You can also write down how you feel each day, and if you start to notice patterns (“every time I drink milk I feel cruddy for the rest of the day,”) then see how your body could benefit from cutting those items out.
- Bible journal – Write down a verse to memorize, things you learned while reading a passage, notes from a sermon or Bible study, or whatever else you feel revealed to you in the Word.
- Gratitude journal – Write down 10-20 good things that happen to you each day. You can elaborate on them or leave them as bullet points. This brings awareness to the positive side of life that can sometimes be hidden in the business. Write it down!
- Brain-dump journal – Spend a set amount of time writing down every single thing that comes to your mind. Could be a story. Could be a poem. Could be the weather. Could be ranting about someone. Whatever it is, write it down. Organizing your thoughts on paper can help your brain to focus throughout the day and be more mindful of the various things bouncing around inside your head.
Whatever activity you choose, find something you like and can do on a regular basis. Maybe make Saturday or Sunday a self-care day, without the stresses of work or school and with some of the above activities. Maybe you can journal each morning or evening as part of your routine.
What you choose to do is up to you. Pick what is beneficial to you and stick with it. Your body and brain will thank you for taking some time to focus on them instead of being busy all the time.
Got any tips or self-care activities you love to do? Let us know in the comments!