Are you someone who tells yourself you’ll take some time for you after you do just one more thing? And then the “one more thing” list becomes longer & longer, putting your self lower & lower on your priorities? Yeah, me too.
Life can be so busy and full of “one more things”- folding the laundry, responding to emails, running your kids to practice, finishing a project for work, etc. It’s no wonder when I ask people what they’ve done for themselves they look at me like I’m from another planet.
There’s been many times when I’ve heard myself say something like “I’ll exercise after I…” or “I’ll start eating healthier just once I get through _____.” Problem is, for many of us, the self care doesn’t make it high enough up on the list to actually happen. I’m not going to tell you all of the reasons that self care is important, you probably already know them & want self care for yourself. So I’ll suggest a gentle way of making self care easier to accomplish.
It starts with a basket that you’ll fill with ways toward self care. When you imagine an hour of being able to relish in what you like, what do you picture? You might fantasize about a manicure, a good book or magazine, or you might dream about having the time to paint or write. Do you enjoy the outdoors or being social as a way of self care? You can fill a basket with those things too. Now that you’ve taken a moment to recognize what feels good for you to experience self care grab your basket and begin going through your house and filling it with things that you enjoy doing and that make you feel good.
The idea behind having a self care basket is to have a place that will hold several options for quick or more lengthy options to when you choose to focus on you. It can hold nail polish, a book or two, a journal, coloring/art material, bubble bath, even a favorite baking mix. As for less tangible self care activities, think of visual reminders of what you enjoy and where you like to go. Put a gift card in there (for a local hair salon, restaurant, specialty store) so you’ve got the funds already set aside along with a visual reminder to use it. Print off a map of the local parks for when you want to go for a hike or the yoga schedule at the yoga studio in town. Write a list of friends & what nights of the week they are most often more available. Preparing your basket to be enticing and exciting may just be the inspiration you need to begin to start taking care of yourself.
Find a prominent place to keep your basket- on the counter in your bathroom, on your nightstand or on your even on your desk! If you tuck it away you’ll be less likely reminded of the benefits you’ll get of taking time for you and it’ll just cause clutter, leading to more stress.
There are many demands asked of us on a daily basis, why not allow yourself Gentle Ways to practice self care? Do you have a way that helps remind you to take time to take care of yourself? Share it in the comments section below for others to get inspiration from.
I am a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist practicing in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina. I enjoy working with people on improving their lives, relationships and feeling all around more mentally healthy.