Think back over the last few weeks. Can you remember the last time you took time to unwind, de-stress, a few minutes to sit back and put your feet up? And I mean really and truly took some time for you?
- A few minutes in the bathroom with the door locked
- A trip to run errands without anyone with you
- A minute or two in the quiet of the morning before chaos ensues
I mean intentional, unplugged, deep breathing, soul healing down-time. I’m pushing the point here because if you are like me, it is probably hard to remember the last time this happened.
Re-learning the art of self-care and downtime has been a major focus for me this year, it even inspired me to start a new blog. I still find myself fighting against the idea and against the feeling of guilt when I do take time off.
Have you felt that way? Does the thought of taking time away from home, kids, work or your business make you feel instantly selfish and guilty?
It’s Time For A Shift.
It’s time to shift from thinking this is as a “personal luxury” to a “personal maintenance plan”. When you take care of you, you are in a much better position to take care of others.
Think about your car, do you get mad at your car for needing gas, an oil change and a regular tune-up? Okay you might be mad that it costs money and you don’t have the time right now to get it done, but do you think less of your car for needing it? Or do you just understand that this is what needs to happen in order to keep your car running in the best possible shape?
The same goes for you too. In order to keep you running in the best possible shape mentally, physically, and spiritually you need a maintenance plan too.
Your Personal Maintenance Plan
Step 1: Make Your List
Take a few minutes to write out 3-5 things that are soul-filling for you. To help get you started, here are a few from my list:
- Going on a hike with my dog
- A long walk on the beach
- Watching a movie
- Reading a good book (this one has some great ideas on self-care)
- Working on a knitting project while listening to a great audiobook
Need more ideas? How about:
- A long hot bath
- Go for a run
- Go to the art museum
- Read a magazine
- Spend time browsing on Pinterest with a cup of tea
- Bake an awesome dessert (just let me know when and where, I’ll come help you eat it!)
- Need more ideas? Check out these posts on self-care
Your down-time doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. The simplest ideas often turn out to be the best ideas.
Step 2: Set The Dates
Pick your top 3 ideas and make an appointment with yourself every week for the next 3 weeks. Put it on the calendar and highlight it.
When you make an appointment with yourself, make a commitment to keep it. I’m going to say it again, make a commitment to keep it.
Remember you are just as important as that next client meeting, kids sporting event and doctor’s appointment.
It is so easy to say, “I can’t right now, it would cause too many problems for _______________”. You fill in the blank, husband, kids, work, client’s etc.
I’m calling us both out on this one. That is simply not true. A soul-filling activity that helps you re-charge and feel refreshed is a HUGE benefit to both you and the lives you touch on a regular basis.
Step 3: Enjoy Yourself – No Guilt
This one might take you a bit more time to accomplish and possibly a long time. Earlier this year I tried an experiment of taking Monday’s off in my business to spend the morning resting and the afternoon catching up on paperwork, marketing, website updates etc.
The mornings were so hard! It would take hours to fight past that feeling of guilt of not “doing something” then I would get mad at myself for feeling guilty. Sheesh!
I can tell you that this does quiet down with practice and re-framing my thought patterns but it still isn’t easy.
Step 4: Wash, Rinse, Repeat
I can also tell you that as you start to reap the benefits of these appointments, you will want more.
You will see these blocks of time as precious and well worth the effort to get arranged. The long term benefits will show up in increasing your patience level, your creativity, problem solving skills and more.
Now it’s your turn! Share your soul-filling list and post your first appointment in the comments.