stress management

The Importance of Self-Care During Busy Seasons

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So this last few weeks have been C R A Z Y busy. And I don’t like to use the “b” word lightly because it’s kind of a pet peeve when this happens:

Q: It’s been forever – how are you?

A: Busy!

I’m guilty of it too, but I’m really trying to stop doing this. After all, when someone is asking me about what’s new in my life, I’m sure they are looking for something a little bit more meaningful in a response. But I digress…

Today I wanted to talk about the importance of self-care during busier seasons of life. In addition to my usual work/school combo, I just recently added house-hunting to my list. Who knew how time-consuming this was?! I'm sure many of you know. Throughout the last few weeks I have realized that self-care and exercise are always the first things to go when my time is limited, and it never ends well for me. Here’s how it usually goes:

Full day of activities sans self-care – feel sluggish & burnt out – don’t sleep as well – tired the next day – wake up later than normal and start day on a semi stressful note – less time during the day to accomplish tasks – repeat

As you can see, skipping self-care does not help me in any way (as I often assume it will since I'm removing something from the to-do list). Stepping back to look at the systemic effect of making time for yourself, you can see that it actually makes burn-out way less likely to happen in the long run. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to list your responsibilities, then all of the extra things that come up. Next, look at where you can cut back or rearrange things to work to your advantage instead of against you. Sleep is integral, so make sure to factor in at least 6-8 hours (or whatever you need) first and foremost. Also remember to be realistic.

I know that I need to make exercise a priority for me to feel my best, so I try to get some walking in each day over lunch. This is a total win since it helps break up my sedentary work day, plus the fresh air and sunlight is a huge mood/creativity booster. In case you need some inspiration, here are a few examples of other simple self-care activities that always make me really happy:

  • Taking a hot shower in the evening, putting on the comfiest sweats, and then giving myself a manicure/pedicure
  • Treating myself to a solo dinner date to one of my favorite fast casual spots 
  • Listening to a podcast while strolling around outside
  • Getting ice cream with my husband on a week night, just because
  • Making a time intensive home-cooked meal with some wine (the more chopping, the better)

It is so cliché - but you really can't pour from an empty cup. Making time for yourself will most certainly make you a better friend, spouse, co-worker, parent, etc... so it's important not to skip! I would love to hear about your tips for fitting in self-care when life gets busy, so tell me in the comments:

What is your favorite self-care activity and how do you make time for it?