As much as I enjoy the more impractical and enjoyable parts of self care, the larger more important part is parenting yourself. Doing for yourself what your parents and teachers used to do, everything we grumbled about and cursed them for. Now we get to grumble and curse ourselves because it is necessary and healthy and we are better people for it. These are things we have to do.
If we’re being honest I often struggle to parent myself and do the things I know are necessary. To do the things I don’t enjoy but know will help me in the long run. Things like exercise, cleaning and eating healthy. I would much rather take endless baths and soak in the sun! The easiest way I have found to better parent myself and ensure I am doing the self care things that matter is to remind myself that if I do it now, my future self will thank me. It will give me more free time in the future and ease anxiety, lower stress and just make things better overall if I do it now rather than later. If I follow through and do the things I don’t enjoy as much now, so that there is less later.
The self care you should be parenting yourself on:
Exercise: Getting into exercise is never easy, and don’t believe anyone when they say you can form the habit. I have exercised religiously off and on for years. Most recently having to start from scratch. Don’t give up trying, it’s never easy, but it’s worth it.
Cleaning: Making sure you live in a clean and clutter free area is important. Split it up throughout the week, and clean as you go. Doing the dishes right after making food or after you eat means not having to do them when all you want to do is crawl into bed!
Eating Healthy: Most important and usually the toughest. Try and cook more often, or (begrudgingly) pick the healthier option when you’re out. you’ll feel better for it! One veggie per meal is my rule, even if it’s pizza with broccoli on it (which I actually love) for “cheat night.”
Saving Money: This one can be tough depending on your financial situation. Treat it like an allowance. When I was young we didn’t have much money, so my allowance was $2 a month. It still adds up! I do this even now when I can’t put away as much as I want to. I also collect my loose change, it makes a difference!
Declutter: This goes along with keeping a clean living area. Organize and declutter. If you struggle like I do to let things go, try thanking it. It sounds silly but works for me, most of the time. Thank the object and visualize the good times or how it helped you. Then throw it out and donate it. You got your worth.
Cutting out Toxic People: This can be friends, but can also be family… In person and on social media. It’s never easy. Start with cleaning your news feeds, then do the in person ones. Find someone you trust to be your support and help you through it all.
Unplug: Set yourself a time limit. My mum used to give us each an hour on the computer outside of time for homework, after that it was helping around the house, doing chores, playing outside, finishing pen and paper homework etc. I now parent myself and have set the same rule!
Finding a New Job: A huge self love/self care move. Get out of your toxic job, it’s not worth the money. Just because its in your field, or pays more, whatever the reason. If it is causing you stress, get out. Sit down and redo your resume on the regular, keep it up to date. Browse jobs regularly so that it is not a desperate dash when you can no longer handle your job. Just how you had to search as a teenager? Do it all again, you’ll thank yourself.
Going to the Dentist or Doctor: This is the one I struggle with the most, and is still self care! If you can’t afford it and don’t have insurance (me too!) search around. You’d be surprised how many local offices will be willing to put in the work for less money if it is all you can afford. A lot of places also do payment plans, just ask!
After all the not so fun but necessary self care is the time to pamper yourself, to do the self care that we enjoy and still very much need in our lives, dance it out, take a bath, moisturize and eat that piece of dessert! It’s all about balance.