Self Care But Make It Next Level
Updated: Aug 24, 2022
Now that you have the 4 categories (Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual) worked out with your own routines or time blocks it is time to break it down even further. Each self-care action takes a certain amount of time and effort to implement. Let's create a system for the amount of effort the routine takes and the kind of impact it has on your wellbeing.
EFFORT: Many everyday routines are low effort because they take a short amount of time, accessibility or they are very convenient. An example might be a Starbucks drink, a bath, or a Hot Girl Walk. A high-effort self-care skill would be one that takes a significant amount of effort to make yourself complete. Maybe it is time-consuming or has several barriers such as low motivation or it requires an excessive amount of planning to put into your life. These could be things like showering due to the sensory experience, working out, going on a bucket list trip, or changing careers. Look at your current routines and notice which things you do and how much effort you use to complete them. For high-effort tasks why are you doing them and do you do them consistently?
IMPACT: A high-impact self-care skill is one that makes a huge difference in your well-being in one of the 4 areas previously discussed. These could be things like meditation, drinking water, gardening, stretching, talking to your best friend, or journaling. A low-impact self-care skill may make a very small difference in wellbeing. You may feel as if you were zoned out doing these things and at the end of the day they didn't really matter. These low-impact skills will be different for everyone but may look like watching tv or scrolling Instagram. These are still self-care skills. Both tv and Instagram can be utilized for a brain break to provide rest if used correctly, so we are not assessing whether these skills are "good" or "bad" which is untrue, but how they impact your life. Look back at your routines or time blocks and assess which self-care skills give you the most bang for your buck.
PRIORITY: I once had a mom tell me because she had 3 small children she did not have time for self-care. I think what she meant was she didn't have time for indulgence. Every behavior she did needed a clear function and a high impact which is valid. For this particular mom, every day was spent around selecting and cooking organic food from scratch and homeopathic practices. This action was emotional, mental, and physical self-care for her. These things though incredibly difficult and time-consuming were also linked to her values and how she wanted to function within the world. This extra layer created a spiritual connection as well though I don't think she would have connected it to her religious beliefs. She spent time discussing homeopathic practices and researching them (mental) alongside creating and enjoying (emotional) the food she made and caring for her own and her children's physical needs through food.
That story highlights how we can take almost any everyday routine and make it more impactful to our self-care by thinking about and bringing intention. It is also so important to assess our own priorities. In order to do that - we HAVE to be honest about what they are. For example, I would love to be a Pinterest mom that brings fun snacks and sets up crafts or play invitations. It makes so much sense to me, and I know I could make myself do it, but the truth is I only think I want that. It does not have enough function for me to lean into it. It just isn't a priority.
It is easiest if you think about this like spoons. You can only hold so many spoons in your hand. Most people can hold about 3, but maybe you can even get to 5. This is most evident around major transitions like getting married, having a kid, or moving to a new city. If you have been doing routines for a long time they lose the thinking portion that makes it so difficult, so you can drop that as a spoon. It becomes so engrained that it no longer counts as a priority and is instead a habit, but if you switch up the routine you may lose your balance until you adjust. This is why it is so important to determine what you care about and what makes them a priority in practice.
If you could only pick 3 priorities in your life what might they be?