“If you feel ‘burnout’ setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.” ~Dalai Lama
Have you found yourself feeling overwhelmed and busy as restrictions have lessened and you have returned back to a more normal life? Have you felt stressed out by all the things you have to do and all the activities you are now involved in? The past 18 months helped teach you to look inward and meet your own needs, but it is getting harder and harder to keep practicing those ways of self-care as things continue to get busier. How can you take care of yourself when you are busy?
International Self-care Day is swiftly approaching on July 24th. Although COVID-19 allowed and even forced you and I to focus on self-care, I want to urge you, my readers, to continue making yourselves a priority as you transition back to your normal, busy life. Here are some reminders of how you can make sure you continue to take care of yourself:
- Say no. It is okay to say no when you are busy, burdened, overwhelmed, anxious, or even if you simply do not want to do something. Saying no does not make you an unkind person, but instead means you are aware of and respect your own boundaries. It means you know your limits. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and self-control and regulation. As you go back to working in the office and having sporting events and extraneous gatherings, remember you can say no if you want/need to. It is okay!
- Manage your time. Let me tell you, one of the fastest ways for me to start feeling out of control is to stop planning and managing my time. Managing your time and your needs is certainly a form of self-care as it helps you to not feel frazzled. If you are feeling this way, invest in a planner or use any of a million apps to keep track of and plan the things you need to do. This will help you manage stress and allow you to feel more in control of the things you can control.
- Slow down. If you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off, consider slowing down. This goes hand-in-hand with step number one of saying no. Instead of cluttering your life, say no or slow down. Schedule less things. Make time for peace and quiet (like yoga, meditation, journaling, or a nice long bath) or things that truly fill your cup (like simply being more selective about the people with whom you spend your time).
- Treat yo’self. I have referenced Donna from Parks and Rec multiple times on this blog because she is so good at treating herself. Follow her advice and pamper yourself on occasion! Let yourself buy something nice, eat something delicious, or wear something fancy. Or maybe it is as simple as letting yourself go to bed early, reading a book that is entertaining instead of work-related, soaking in the bathtub, or spending some of your precious time doing nothing with your friends. Whatever “treat yo’self” looks like to you…do it! And make sure you are being consistent.
- Practice gratitude. When in doubt, be grateful. Yes, I bring up gratitude often on my blog–only because it is powerful. When you are feeling resentful about all you have to do, or tired from running from one thing to the next, remind yourself that this time last year you were holed up in your home with no toilet paper and little contact with the outside world. I know that I am so grateful to be free to go outside, free to go shopping, free to not wear a mask, and free to associate with people as I please. This paradigm shift from overworked to grateful will take your busyness woes away in one second!
I have been busier than ever in my personal and professional life since COVID. I have had to challenge myself to say no, to schedule my time wisely, to slow down, to treat myself, and to practice gratitude. While you and I may be thankful that this summer is much different than last summer, it is still important to keep implementing self-care. I recommend and urge you to keep these five simple steps in mind as your calendar fills up with activities and responsibilities. Put yourself first, take care of yourself, and stay safe and happy this summer. Please contact me if you have any questions. If speaking with a therapist is your idea of self-care, please click here to schedule a session. My door is always open and I would love to see you!
Melissa Cluff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.
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- The Positivity Blog: “71 Self Care Quotes to Help You to Take Care of Yourself”