"When we finally learn that self-care begins and ends with ourselves, we no longer demand sustenance and happiness from others."
-Jennifer Louden, author
This week I started back on something that I did not do for a while. I didn't stop doing it because it was something I didn't enjoy. I didn't stop because it was hard. To be honest, I stopped because things got in the way, and it was easier to push it to the side. Never the less, I always had the intention of starting it back up again. That something was yoga.
I have to say walking into that first yoga class I felt really excited. While in class I was very aware that this was something I didn't want to lose again. As anyone who does yoga knows, it's great for the mind and body.
I think many people can relate to starting things, feeling good about it but life getting in the way, and having to move it to the back burner. But as the saying goes, you live and you learn. The important thing is that you learn to not let the same thing happen again.
Either it be with exercise, maintaining relationships, or making time for yourself- anything that is considered an extra bonus in your life (as I like to refer to it as) is easy to forget about because we think other things are more important. It's easy to say that a yoga class can wait if you remember you have to take care of some errands, or pay some bills at the bank. Even though the intention is always there to get back to the things that are good for you, you may always find something else that takes priority at the time. And after a while, you completely forget about your extra bonuses.
The extra bonuses in life are essentially self care. The more you engage in it the more you can give in other aspects of your life. It's like recharging yourself. The longer you go without self care, the closer you get to burn out. Self care is like paying yourself first. You need to pay yourself before you can put energy toward other things, which may take more of your energy i.e. work responsibilities, chores/ errands etc.
So how can you stick to the extra bonuses in your life, or even get back to them?
- Find a time that you can engage in your activity. You are more likely to engage in it if you work it into your schedule. Block off time in your calendar if you need to. Make sure not to be lax with these times and schedule other things in these slots. It's not MAYBE you will go for a run today at 7PM, it's more like you HAVE TO.
Have A Motivator
- Find someone to motivate you in your life, someone who will keep you accountable when you stop doing what you are doing. Do the activity together if that helps you engage in it more.
Hold Yourself Accountable
- Every time you catch yourself making excuses on why you shouldn't be engaging in your activities, think about the end result. You are letting yourself down by not paying yourself first
Its Good Medicine
- Think about your activity as a routine dose of medicine, which you need to stay healthy. If you don't take time for yourself, then you are slowly working yourself toward burnout.
Reflect On How It Makes You Feel
- Recognizing how the activity made you feel physically and mentally will help motivate you. The next time you put a self care activity off to the side remember how the activity made you feel. It's probably a feeling you want to get back to.