The best self care practices are the ones that are flexible and don't feel like work - because life isn't constant, so rigid thinking serves no one. Even just between seasons of life and seasons of weather, there's a lot of change going on! I felt so miserable as the thermometer climbed this summer as I desperately tried to cling to my routines, and it's so easy to fall into the thought trap that it's something inherently wrong with you rather than just a change in your life that you haven't yet adapted to.
I've been really drawn to the idea of a self care box lately and saw one on Kylie's blog that made me want to put plan into action. I'm between day jobs right now and realizing that my personality really vibes with a routine that gets me out of the house but lets me rest at home sometimes too. Pair that with some blah Idaho weather and my brain is feeling super cluttered and tired. Cue: the self care box. My favorite thing about this box (and this will sound like a "duh") is that it's all in one place. Aka, I don't have to think very hard - I just have to recognize that I need some head clearing and then go dig through the box for something that sounds nice. Here's what I included:
HAND LETTERING SUPPLIES
I got myself this book a few weeks ago and it's been a fun way to kind of tune out all my extra thoughts! I practice the individual letters if I'm feeling patient. If I'm just wanting busy work for my hands, I turn on a Netflix show and letter the characters' dialogue.
BOOKS + MOVIES
Something about the way Body Kindness resonates with me and adds clarity to how I think about my relationship with my body. It reminds me of all the benefits of good self-care plus gives me ideas. I also keep two or so movies (a funny and a serious one) in my box that I haven't seen in a while!
Goodness, those "Yes To" products are the best. I love any of the mud masks (pictured is the Yes To Primrose Oil version) and the grapefruit peel. This hand care kit my mom gifted me before I moved out to dry and cold Idaho is also on repeat lately.
I also threw in a lavender essential oils rollerball, bubble bath, and a lavender-scented pillow spray (I swear, I can feel the lavender calming me down as I inhale it).
The whole thing gets stored in a filing box in my nightstand and it's ready to go!
I've found that a quick home manicure is a really great way to care for myself because A) I feel polished afterwards and B) it limits what I can do with my hands while the polish dries, which slows me down and calms me as a secondary effect.
HOW TO MAKE A SELF CARE BOX
You can really put anything into a self care box, but here's some ideas to get you going:
Face masks/nail care kit
Water colors, adult coloring books, pen/paper
A journal with prompts
A deck of cards/one-person game
Heating pad/eye mask
Bubble bath/bath bombs/a good book for said bath
What are your go-to self care practices?
I joined a virtual book club for 2018 and I am so excited, y'all. Reading more (from personal development to fiction for fun) is something I really enjoyed in 2017 and I hope to see the momentum continue this year! One of the books on personal development that spoke most clearly to me in 2017 was What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. I reread it last week while waiting for my current book club to start A Simplified Life! While I was browsing through, something struck me: time management is one of the best forms of self-care that I employ.
Time management is one of the best forms of self-care that I employ.
And here's why: on the surface, "time management" seems cold and rigid. The amount of structure that goes into organizing time seems almost incompatible with intuitive living. And it seems way too Type A to manage my time with a strategy.
But here are some things I've found to be true:
Blocking my time creates more margin for what matters most, like time with my husband or time resting.
Organizing and learning about how I spend time has taught me how to capitalize on my most productive times of day - so there's less time wasted and more time leftover for me.
Designating time for work/chores/etc. and knowing that I have time for myself later means that I don't multitask as much. I feel more closure when I turn shut my laptop, and I draw more satisfaction from rest.
"Fancy" self care like bubble baths and long yoga classes are amazing, but not always attainable. Having some strategies for simple ways to manage stress feel really good and fit well in my life.
TIME MANAGEMENT WITH MARGIN
I've seen a few different tools recommended when it comes to time blocking/scheduling: tracking your time for a week to zoom out and see how you do spend your time (tracker here) and creating an ideal week. I'll admit, I'm curious about both of those strategies - but realistically, they're a lot of work.
Here's a flow that's worked well for me (and doesn't take a ton of planning!):
Pick top priorities for the day/work session. Sometimes it's one, sometimes it's three - but I try to keep it at three maximum.
Turn phone on "do not disturb" or silent.
Use a Post-It or scrap piece of paper to write down a loose game plan for how I'll get things done.
I have a day job unrelated to the blog and it's fairly similar from day-to-day, so I don't worry about blocking out my mornings. When I get home, depending on how my body feels I'll head to the gym or do a home workout before settling in to blog/practice work. I work through those three steps first, then dive into working before shutting down around 5:30p when Drew gets home.
TIME MANAGEMENT ON WEEKENDS
Yes, you heard me right! I've actually found that having zero plans for the day is the opposite of relaxing to me. If this isn't true for you - you do your thing! So even though I don't time block on weekends unless I'm catching up on Satisfy work, I do jot down some quick to-do's. We usually spend some time "adulting" and split chores to clean up our place faster. I also usually plan for some movement as it feels good, and Sunday afternoons are for making some snacks and food for the week while watching a movie!
What's your favorite practical, everyday way to take care of yourself?