I know I’m a bit late posting about our most recent holiday, the holiday of consumerism, and oh yeah, love!
But this Valentine’s Day, I was downcast and overwhelmed by a heartbreaking decision I had to make. Long story short, I chose to postpone my long-anticipated reunion with my family and friends in the U.S. due to my uncertainty of getting back into Japan.
After processing my decision, I realized that I didn’t make time for self-care and love as I had planned for Valentine’s Day.
It got me thinking…
As our lives fill up with adult responsibilities and busywork, we must learn the value of filling our own cups. We may remember to do this every so often, but the hard part is to keep our cups full.
One thing you may not realize is that you are practicing small acts of self-care already! These acts are more subconscious because they have stuck as habits.
Think of the things you do automatically without much thought. For example, what do you do in the morning after waking up? You probably don’t have to schedule things like using the bathroom or brushing your teeth, right?
But if you do, all power to you! It’s empowering to find what works for you.
The main point is that these acts count towards nurturing ourselves, even when they feel routine or insignificant.
So what else can we consider as self-care? Well…
- Trimming our nails counts.
- Putting moisturizer on counts.
- Changing into clean underwear counts.
- Cooking a meal at home instead of ordering takeout counts.
- Going to bed at around the same time counts.
- Saving money counts.
Now, you may find that a few of these actions require time and discipline to develop. And that’s perfectly normal.
In fact, you might even be in the habit of doing the opposite of these things! If that’s the case, rest assured because we all struggle. It’s not always easy being human.
However, whatever you are doing to care for yourself, no matter how small, makes a positive difference in how you show up for yourself. And if we can feel good about ourselves, we can show up as kinder, more open-minded, and giving people. We can better serve others.
Make Time for Self-Care
What about other self-care practices that require more conscious effort? I’m talking about the things that we may not yet be used to doing or feel like we don’t have time for.
As challenging as it seems to squeeze self-care time into our packed schedules, we can surely benefit from learning to make time for it. We can think about incorporating one or two new practices.
Here are a few ideas:
- Taking every Sunday off work.
- Staying off your phone after 7 PM.
- Reading before bedtime.
- Going on a walk after lunch.
- Scheduling a regular date with your partner.
- Saying no to things you don’t have the energy for counts.
Although these practices may take up more time to do and incorporate into our routines, they can bring joy and balance to our busy lives.
If you find it a challenge to give yourself a break from adulting and all the obligations that come with it, I get it. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to introduce all of these new, healthy habits at once. That will be too overwhelming and have the opposite effect of self-care.
An excellent place to start is recognizing what’s serving you versus what’s draining you. So I encourage you to try this exercise with me:
- Brain dump — write down all of the things that currently fill your schedule (hobbies, therapy, work, chores, school, kids, etc.)
- Eliminate — identify 2 or more things you want to spend way less time on, if at all. Cross them out!
- Make time — choose at least 1 self-care practice to replace the thing(s) you just eliminated.
Did you do the exercise? Awesome work!! How did it go?
You’ve just taken a closer look at your schedule and identified the things that steal your time and energy. That will allow you to free up some space to give to yourself.
Come back to this exercise whenever you feel swamped or unsure of your next direction.
I hope you and I will continue learning to fill our cups. We’re constantly pouring into other people’s cups, but we’ll have nothing left to give if we forget to refill our own.
What’s one way you can fill your cup this week?
Thanks so much for visiting and learning with me.
I struggle so much with self-care and mindfulness. Yet, I feel that I have made the most progress on those fronst in the last 2 years that ever. I’m so glad and fortunate to have you on my side to share and enjoy this journey of wonderful experiences and lessons.
Thank you for your honest and thoughtful comment! It helps to know that we’re not alone in our struggle to be more mindful and loving towards ourselves and each other. And it’s great that you’re aware of how much progress you’ve made!
Everyone needs a partner and friend like you.
Love you back.