Jun 28, 2021
5 mins read
The last 2 months have been all over the show for me - and my self-care hasn't just gone out the window, it's taken a bus to the other end of the country!
I know I am not alone in feeling tired, exhausted and run down to the point of not quite knowing what to do next ... so I thought I'd document what I'm currently going through and how I am trying to come out the other side. It's my hope that although our situations are never the same, someone might get an idea or a tip about something you could do for yourself.
And also, I make much better progress when I write (type) shit down!
1: Reframing my definition of self-care.
Oftentimes, my self-care is equated with a strict workout plan, nutrition regime, or morning routine and whilst I have no problem AT ALL with nutrition, fitness, or lifestyle goals, it’s the rigidity of these plans I create for myself that is the first to make things sticky.
But we also need to consider that maybe we are not the problem when we feel too tired for our own self-care.
When self-care becomes this strict extra thing on your to-do list, it can become stressful, and the thought of doing it can even become daunting. When my own self-care advice makes me want to smash my phone - in anger, sadness or shame, it's definitely time to reframe.
Maybe instead it’s your definition of self-care that needs tweaking. After all, a self-care plan that stresses or tires you out isn’t really self-care anymore!
Self-care should make me feel good - Not drained, not hangry, not guilty. GOOD.
The self-care activities that make me feel good will be unique to me. Your needs are different from mine, from our coworker’s, our families and from that damn social media influencer’s, etc… and that’s okay.
What worked yesterday might be different today, and that’s also okay. We have organic bodies that change day to day, and sometimes moment to moment, so the self-care we need to feel balanced should change with that.
ACTION: Write down what would make my body and my mind feel good at this moment?
2: Consider that my body might just need rest.
Rest gets a really bad rep in our culture. I often write it off as me just being lazy even though I understand how important it is to my wellness.
Rest is an equally important, yet highly undervalued, part of the wellness puzzle but I also underestimate just how much we need.
And the worst part? The worst part is when someone tells me I should just rest or relax or recharge, I scoff. My 'Relax' time at home is most often filled with coaching and cooking and other life admin tasks. I am honestly the worst example of taking time to just rest.
If I am meeting my body where it's at with self-care, then the logic goes if I'm too tired for your typical self-care routine, or I have no actual self-care routine to think of then the self-care you probably need is rest.
ACTION: The next time we are feeling unmotivated for any self-care routine, tune in to see if our body is asking for rest instead.
Tip 3: Align self-care activities with when I am most energised.
I used to be a real night owl. Now I am a little morning ... stunted pigeon. I do have most of my energy in the mornings though.
Paying attention to my energy patterns and trying to align my self-care routine to that time during the day when I have the most energy is probably my best action item. As long as my schedule permits it though! There's no point in getting worked out about fitting everything in before 2 pm if it just can't work like that every week.
ACTION: Toss any advice you’ve gotten about the proper time to do X, Y or Z and think about what time would work best for YOUR energy levels to incorporate your self-care plan.
Tip 4: Scale back the intensity.
If I'm drained and my brain is screaming that I don’t want any part of my self-care goal, then I just have to admit that I need to scale back that goal until it does feel manageable.
A really good start for me is scaling back the intensity in a workout.
Another good one is only meal prepping for 1-2 days instead of trying to do 4-5.
Also, if meal prep turns into choosing a healthy restaurant to order from, great!
If sprints into a leisurely stroll, great!
If that means writing a book turns into writing one sentence a day, great!
Usually, when I am drained, starting is the most difficult part. And sometimes, I’ll find that if I start, I can go on for longer. But even if I don’t go on for longer - something is better than nothing.
ACTION: How can you adjust your self-care expectations for days when you’re feeling particularly tired? Write those alternate options down!
Tip 5: Make self-care as easy as possible to accomplish.
This last part is all about removing friction.
Basically, I want to remove as many steps as possible between me and my desired actions so they are easier to accomplish. When there are fewer steps between you and your goals it’s also not as mentally tiring to accomplish, which is great after a long day.
Let’s take the example of going to the gym first thing in the morning. I:
Have my gym gear ready in the spare room so I don't have to think about which leggings and which singlet.
Have the other person in my house on board to stop me from reneging on my gym appointment.
Read more? Have the book out and next to your favourite chair.
Eat more vegetables for snacks? Have them washed and chopped and on the eye-level shelf in the fridge. You get the picture.
ACTION: How can you make your self-care plan easier to accomplish this school year?
And that’s it - for starters anyways.
There will be more in this series ... if you have questions or comments, let me know below X