There’s an irony to self-care as a concept in that the people who are most likely in need of it are also the least likely to have the ability to access it or to realize how badly they need it. For example, a busy parent who is also a caregiver to their own elderly parents while holding down a demanding full-time job may see self-care as an indulgent luxury that is far out of reach.
However, it is important for everyone, and this is true most of all for those people who have shouldered the most obligations. You can’t help anyone if you burn out, and if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of everyone else indefinitely either. If you think self-care isn’t for you, you may be precisely the target audience for this article.
Reframing the concept of self-care as simply looking after yourself may be the first step for you in taking the time and space that you need. Perhaps the most fundamental thing you can do for yourself is fixing your sleep schedule. Nearly everything is easier if you are well-rested. However, it’s also important that this doesn’t turn into another exhausting item on your to-do list, and if getting up fifteen minutes earlier to grab some precious time for yourself is important, then you should prioritize that.
The basics are also all about finding pleasure in the little things: a hot shower, seeing a robin on your front lawn, that first cup of coffee. You might have to slow down a little bit and teach yourself to be in the moment sometimes instead of always racing ahead mentally to the next task.
Beyond the Basics
Sometimes a hot shower, a nice warm drink or a good night’s sleep are insufficient. You might really need something more, like a weekend away. If you’re feeling truly burned out, it’s worth taking some pretty big steps to make this happen, such as seeing if a friend or relative can take the kids and the pets for the weekend or if your boss can give you a day off work. If money is a problem, personal loans from a private lender might be the answer. You can quickly check your eligibility and potentially avoid the much higher interest rate that credit cards would charge.
Mixing it Up
The suggestions above are more about how to triage when you’ve been neglecting yourself for a while. Those work in the short term, but over the long term, you do need to make self-care a regular part of your lifestyle. This can mean saying no to some things and asking for help from others, which is often not easy. If you have no choice but to grind through a tough period, this is the time to look for little ways to reward yourself. Find a way to squeeze in that favorite TV program or a two-mile run, whatever it is that you can do quickly and mostly unobtrusively but that will also refresh you.