One of the things I hear the most often from my therapists is “what are you doing for self-care?” Over the years, I have had different self-care routines, because they have had to be adjusted for different reasons. Usually, because the routine wasn’t working too well, and it was time to go back to the drawing board and figure out the routine over again.
My self care routine nowadays consists of several things: stress management, time management, symptoms and illness management, meditation (specifically mindfulness), and things that are likely to bring pleasure. In addition, it also includes my values of creativity, spirituality, and friendship.
It sounds like a lot, and some days, it really is a lot. There are days in which managing the self-care routine manages to be the task of the day. But with practice, as with anything, it becomes a part of daily life. Thankfully, stress management is closely related to meditation and mindfulness. Time management is a task in and of itself, especially for someone as disorganized and unfocused as me, but with the help of calendars and to-do lists, and bouncing off my fiance helps a lot. Structure and routine make things like time management more manageable (was that a mouthful?). Friendship is instrumental, as isolating is usually not a good thing, and it is something that is likely to bring me pleasure. My value of creativity is part of what fuels my blogging, sewing, and beading, which are things that are likely to bring me pleasure, too. And of course, spirituality: A biggie for me, as you can tell from my posts. Not only is my spirituality good for the soul, it is also good for my mind.
My meditation practices revolve around biblical reflections and prayer. And my mindfulness takes several forms, but usually it involves exercises that are helpful in keeping my mind in the here and now. One of my favorite exercises is to take a shower with an exfoliating soap. The scrubbing with the bumpy soap doesn’t let me forget that I am just taking a shower, and well, a good exfoliation is not bad for you, right?
In terms of friendship, I make sure that I cultivate the friendships I do have by keeping up with them with messages, phone calls, and the occasional coffee date or dinner out. And sometimes, even creating bags and jewelry with them.
So, while self-care may seem like a big chore, incorporating daily exercises dealing with self care every day and in every little action possible, it is possible to make it a routine.