One of my favorite topics to read and write about is self-care, and I think it’s because I’m not very good at it and want to do it better.
Today I’m on Day 5 of a five-day holiday weekend, and I’m feeling pretty good.
Every weekend is a three day weekend for me, since I don’t work Fridays, but I often find that when Monday comes, I don’t feel refreshed and ready for the week. That seems really silly to me. Many people are able to get recharged and refreshed with only a two day weekend. And maybe there are reasons for that – maybe they’re not parents with young kids, or maybe they have better self-care instincts. Or maybe (this is what I’m hoping) they have learned ways to be intentional about their weekends so that those days off from work include activities that are rejuvenating.
Lately, I am almost always feeling burnt out halfway through the day on Monday. This is in part due to the structure of my current job. I’m in the car a lot, driving around to meet clients at various locations, and it gets exhausting and irritating real fast. And, since I’m not that crazy about my current job, I get the Sunday blues bad, and I get cranky on Mondays quickly.
So, my work week can get exhausting and stressful really quickly. And it doesn’t help that I do not have the best self-care instincts. For as much as I love thinking about self-care, and writing about self-care – when it comes to actually taking care of my body, my mind, and my soul when things get stressful, my instincts are terrible. I instantly reach for junk food, caffeine, and candy, which causes me to feel exhausted and cranky.
HOW DO I KEEP THIS FROM HAPPENING?
The only things that come to mind are these:
- Plan ahead.
- Be intentional.
That’s ALL I got! So they better work.
For planning ahead, the most important habit I want to cultivate is having a date with my planner. I do this sometimes, but not often enough. It’s helpful for me to take a few minutes in the evening or early in the morning to actually think about what I have going on during the work day; maybe I will notice things I need to move around, or times when I’m going to have long breaks. Maybe I’ll be able to plan ahead for troublesome circumstances, like when I have back-to-back clients straight through my normal lunch time.
The second thing that I KNOW I need to do but can never manage to accomplish is to pack everything I need for the day. I don’t like packing my lunch at all. I prefer to decide what I am going to eat when I am about to eat it. But maybe an action item for me can be deciding on some good snacky/lunchy foods to have in the house for work lunches.
And then, there’s everything else that needs to get packed up – my travel charger, phone, work keys, wallet, cash for tolls, water bottle (almost always forgotten), bullet journal – SO MUCH STUFF. I feel overwhelmed by how much I need to take, which sometimes means I walk out the door with none of these things and then feel aggravated later in the day because I don’t have the things I need.
I think another action item for me might be waking up earlier. This is a little funny , to me, because I’m a natural early bird – it’s not that unusual for me to set my alarm for 4 a.m. so that I can go to the gym early. So resolving to get up early isn’t usually a problem for me. EXCEPT THAT PARENTING IS EXHAUSTING, and sometimes I stay up a little later to either do some housecleaning or to get some writing done, and then I find myself hitting snooze until 6 a.m., which is really the latest I can get up and still do everything I need to do to get myself and Edgar out the door for school drop-off and work. But the nice thing about being an early riser is that I can resolve to get up earlier and I know I can do it. This might be a good strategy for getting more writing time, too, now that it’s summer and I’m getting exercise in the afternoons and evenings.
I don’t know! Sometimes, I think the answer to my stress level is finding a new job. But, in general, I want to be better at self-care – I want to know that even when circumstances suck, I can do the things I need to do to feel healthy and well.
So – plan ahead and be intentional. Let’s give it a try. And if you have other ideas, PLEASE share!