Emmy Award–Winning Producer, Author of Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You and Listful Thinking: Using Lists to Be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed
Self-care and mindfulness have become buzzwords these days, and the truth is most people get it wrong. It doesn’t have to be a weeklong vacation or a $300 massage. We put pressure on ourselves even when it comes to how we’re rejuvenating our mind, body and soul. There are other ways that you can be mindful and take care of yourself throughout the day. That has to do with how you set up your schedule, what support system you have in place, what commitments you say yes or no to. These are all acts of self-care.
1. Setting Up Your Schedule for Self-Care
I like to have a leisurely morning on work days. I like to read the newspaper and find out what’s going on in the world before I dive into working. I designed my days so I only take calls (media training, prospective clients, interviews, connection calls, etc.) at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. That’s it. Those are my go-to times. I only do those calls on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday if I can help it. I started doing this because I was overwhelmed and running from one thing to the next without any time in between to reset. I also make sure to give myself an extra day after traveling where I don’t schedule any calls or meetings. I may be working but I’m giving myself a chance to catch up on my own time. It makes a huge difference for my psyche and happiness levels. Are there ways you can set up your schedule so you’re not scattered?
2. Get a Support System
Just because you can do everything, doesn’t mean you should. Make a list of all the things that you’re doing that you don’t need to do yourself—things like making appointments, cleaning the house, etc. See if there’s a way to outsource those things. What will you do with the extra time? First, you’ll work on the things you’re really great at. And then you can also make time for yourself. Make a list of all the acts of self-care you’d like to do. It can be simple like having a cup of tea, reading a chapter in a novel or calling a friend. Add those to your schedule once you have support to handle some of the other aspects of your life.
3. Learn to Say No
We’ve all done it. You say yes to something everyone wants you to do except the most important person— you! It’s difficult to say no, that’s for sure. But once you do, it will change your life. Create your own “No Mantra.” Any time you feel tempted to say yes to something that you truly don’t want to do, that won’t serve you in any way, say these words out loud: “I don’t have to say yes to everything everyone asks me to do. Life will go on. Period, the end.” People around the world are doing self-care better than us. There’s a Danish word hygge, and it essentially means kindness to yourself. This could be by giving yourself permission to enjoy a good book, cozying up with your cat or sitting by the fire.