Most people compartmentalize self-care. I’ll fit in my gym time here. I’ll make a good breakfast since I may not have time for lunch. I’ll squeeze yoga in between my other meetings in my already back-to-back day. Then, when the day’s plan get foiled because something unexpected comes up, guess what suffers?
But here’s the thing. Self-care should be at the core of everything you do. Every decision you make. Is this good for me? Will this help me feel better? Or not.
Sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management. Make these the priority. Because when you do, you’ll do everything else better. You’ll actually be more productive. You’ll have more focus and concentration. And I have NO doubt that you’ll be more pleasant.
What percentage of your time do you allocate to self-care?
In one of my workshops, we did a quick time-audit exercise. You divide your work or personal life into 4-5 main categories and ask yourself to give each a percentage of how things are now. Then, you jot down the percentage that you’d like them to be.
It’s an assessment. And it’s fast and works really well. It gives you a top-line view of what area of your life you may want to focus on to upgrade.
Long story short, I asked, “What percent would you give to self-care?” Many of the women just shrugged their shoulders and looked around. They feebly shared answers like “I squeeze it in where I can” and “Maybe 0.” Many had some good habits in nutrition, or exercise, or sleep, but again, this wasn’t at the foundation of their every move.
And there we are. What if you flipped this on its head and made self-care 100%? Yes, that is what I said.
Take it from me. I used to live in NYC and self-care wasn’t on my radar. My self-care was zero,. My life was all work and play. And play wasn’t healthy like it is now. Aside from exercising regularly … I pretty much did nothing else healthy. I smoked. I didn’t get enough sleep. I was highly stressed and worked crazy hours. And my nutrition was just stupid, including the fact that at that time alcohol was a primary food group.
NOW, I know the difference. And that difference is magical. My self-care habits, which for the most part are completely natural at this point, give me my mojo. Don’t get me wrong; they have evolved over time. But as I experimented to see what works for me, I took what worked and left the rest. And I continue to experiment.
Of course, it helps that my partner also believes in self-care at the core of his actions and behaviors. He has even helped to influence my habits. He is even more extreme and disciplined than I am. But you are the company you keep.
When self-care is the crux of your life, you do it. It happens. And you feel good for it being that way. If you aren’t there yet, start the upgrade processes by picking one (more) area: sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management. Start to incorporate it into all of your decisions and notice the ripple effect.