Here we are, smack-dab in the middle of October. There’s talk about Halloween costumes, carving pumpkins, and the upcoming holidays. With that, now is a fantastic time to carve out time for yourself and engage in self-care strategies.

[Hehe] “Yeah, sure, sounds great in theory, but, Lyndsey, I don’t have the time. Like, at all. I’m maxed out.” I hear you. I do. But let me tell you, work FOR yourself, not against yourself. I’ll explain what I mean shortly.

Sometimes, life feels like it’s going faster than what we can keep up with, while other times, we may feel like there is nothing to do or maybe we feel like doing nothing. This phenomenon happens in large part because we are not placing high enough priority on time spent to refuel ourselves, so to speak.

Have you ever considered “calling-in” or playing hookey for a day? Sounds wrong, right? Nope. YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS  A PRIORITY. It’s not crazy to take the kids to the sitter for an extra hour, call out from work (or schedule a day off in advance-just for you), or take yourself to your favorite store on your way home. “Me time,” or self-care, is an opportunity for you to meet your own needs and maintain a content/optimistic outlook so that you can help and/or inspire those around you that you care about.

How-to Strategies for Self-Care

I would suggest taking a look at your weekly/monthly calendar and planning self-care days. These days or moments can give you something to look forward to and time to ensure you manage your responsibilities that surround this time. Here’s something I need you to hear completely: It does not matter how long you spend doing this. If you set an expectation for one hour per day, but cannot reach that goal and end up doing nothing, that’s worse than scheduling five minutes per day and being more likely to achieve that.  And, if you’re someone who would feel unaccomplished if you cannot make it happen when that day comes, give yourself some grace and reschedule that self-care! You make the rules!

“Okay, I may be willing to try that scheduling thing, but what am I supposed to do?” Good question. You do something that restores or refuels you. Sometimes, we lose ourselves in books, TV, cell phones, blogs, etc., but we don’t feel restored afterward. Now, these things can be self-care for some people, but if afterward, you feel like you’ve just “fast-forwarded” a little through the day versus doing something you’re happy that you did, it’s probably not self-care.

Find those things that excite you, make you feel proud, or bring you joy. This may be going on a walk in nature, treating yourself to expensive coffee, taking a hot bath instead of a rushed shower, or starting a gratitude journal.

Remember, work for yourself not against. In other words, take into account what you can realistically commit to. The quality of your relationships will improve when you manage your own relationship with yourself through self-care. I challenge you to carve out this time for yourself. If you don’t do it at all, humor me and schedule something for yourself. If you don’t do it enough, go ahead and step it up. You’ve got this!

Contact I Choose Change Allen Counseling Center if you’d like help holding yourself accountable for self-care.