Most likely about 80% or even more of you that read this, will be answering yes to this question. Maybe you are dealing with a stressful job, the demands of home and family the emotional upheaval of ongoing lockdowns, and the list goes on.
Is your schedule crammed to the minute from early morning to evening, you survive on coffee, and sleep is not enough and poor quality. Exercise and good nutrition may feel impossible. Sound familiar? You might even relate to previous days when you felt fit and in great shape, but these days it’s a real struggle.
The last thing you need when feeling this way, is for people to tell you to prioritise ‘self care’. If hearing this makes you want to smash your phone in anger, sadness or shame, this is totally understandable. You probably have no idea where to even start and find the whole idea overwhelming in itself.
Advice such as ‘put your feet up with a good book’ or ‘take a warm bath’, sounds ridiculous when you are trying to answer emails, cook dinner and look after your family. But so many people actually really do want to prioritise their health and wellbeing, which can be so frustrating when self care feels more needed, but also more impossible.
If you can find a way to make even a small amount of time for yourself, the difference is remarkable! Even if you have huge barriers and tough schedules you can still end up thriving by moving better, feeling better, looking better and operating in general more like the person you want to be.
3 Strategies for prioritising self care when it’s really hard:
Start with just 5-10 minutes per day.
Could you start your day with 5 minutes to do some meditation, read or stretch? This might seem a ridiculous, comical suggestion given what’s just been highlighted above. How many people though, spend that time scrolling through Facebook or Instagram in the morning? Could that time be better spent? Before you adopt that all or nothing mindset that 5 minutes is hardly worth it, give it a go. Starting your day with something positive has a massive influence in setting you up for your day. Maybe there are some little organisational tasks you can do to allow yourself that 5 minutes of time, such as bulk meal prep, or getting one of the kids to help you in the kitchen for 5?
How to do this?
* Make a list of small, 5 minute activities you could do to help you tick the ‘self care’ box. Pick one to try every day for a couple of weeks.
* After that, consider adding more time or a different activity.
* Remember that self care is more than nutrition and exercise, it’s about your emotional health and wellbeing.
Delete, Delegate or Do Less
Get ruthless with your schedule!
How to do this?
* Get clear on how you’re spending your time, and delete any unnecessary activities
* Delegate whatever you can – with each task ask yourself, ‘who else could do this’? What’s the worst that could happen?
* Do less – challenge yourself on what is ‘good enough’ for this thing? Consider shooting for a B+ instead of an A+, without comparing yourself to others.
Instead of ‘SHOULD’, think ‘COULD’
Often we think about what we ‘should’ do, despite what we really want or need to do. Needless ‘shoulds’ just end up robbing us of time and energy, and feeling healthy and fulfilled.
How to do this?
* Next time you hear that voice in your head saying ‘you ‘should’ do this’, pause, and decide if you want to do that thing or let it go.
* Realistically, you’ll always have more tasks to do that time in the day, so make sure you prioritise to work out what is important, and what’s not.
REMEMBER, YOU are in charge of what you do and prioritise in your daily life, and are responsible for whatever trade offs you decide to make. YOU ultimately get to decide what’s most important for you. I can guarantee you, spend a short time each day on ‘self care’ or recharging, or whatever you choose to call it, and the benefits will be totally more than worth it for your fitness, health and overall wellbeing and mental state. And what do you have to lose by trying it?