– Katie Reed

In “normal times” self-care is given a lot of lip service by many of us but have we really made it a part of our lives? In other words, is it integrated into our daily, weekly, monthly routines and habits? If it is, then we will be ready to roll with whatever life throws at us. If it isn’t, now would be the time to start.     

Before I talk about specific self-care practices, let’s review those routines and habits. You know that things go better in your child care day if you have a routine and stick to it. These routines are set up to teach kids positive habits and it makes them feel safe and secure no matter what else is going on around them. Same for you! Once habits and routines are established there is a whole lot of things you don’t have to give much thought to. For example, the night before our first day of working from home, I thought I didn’t need to lay out my clothes for the next day. That’s a before-bed routine that I’ve carried on since my mother taught it to me when I started school. The next morning my alarm didn’t go off because I set it wrong and then I couldn’t decide what to wear which seems really stupid because I was just going to my home office in my basement!!! But I was anxious about the change and how the day would go and between the alarm not going off and being indecisive about what to wear, the day did not get off to the best start because a couple of other small things went wrong too. I made a mess making my morning protein shake and I forgot my glasses upstairs so I was almost late for my first day of working from home! If I would have stuck to my normal routine, I feel sure the morning would have gotten off to a smoother start with less stress and mess for me!

What do you use to plan your day? A calendar, an app on your phone, a to-do list?  Whatever your preferred method, this is where you can start planning and tracking your self-care habits. I use Google Calendar and a paper calendar/journal too. My Google Calendar is where I keep all my work appointments, meetings and projects.  My paper calendar is for household organization, family events, activities with friends and hobbies. My paper calendar has monthly, weekly and daily pages. Anything from work that affects family/household organization like working out of town or evening meetings gets transferred to the paper calendar. This is just an example, you will have to find what works best for you. Before you start putting things in your planner, start making some lists: your morning routine, your evening routine, the things that you do every day, the things that you do weekly or multiple times a week (exercise, grocery shop, laundry, call your Mom, go to church) and things that you do once a month (lunch with a friend, book club meeting, Sunday dinner with your extended family). Add all of these to your planner. Just an additional note on family and household routines here: If you are old enough you may remember that your mom or grandmother had a specific day of the week for a major household task; “wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday, market on Thursday, clean on Friday, bake on Saturday, rest on Sunday”. There was a lot of wisdom in that. Setting up your own weekly routine with a focus on one of your major tasks each day can really be a game-changer for your organization and productivity. (If you are interested in learning more about planning and organizing I recommend the book “Side-Tracked Home Executives” by Pam Young and Peggy Jones).

This is going to be a series of articles on specific self-care practices that you can add to your planner. So grab yours and set up your daily and weekly routines and watch for the next self-care blog post.


Tags: self-care , routines , stress

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