Self care is something I’ll harp on to anyone about. Love yourself! Cuddle yourself! Buy yourself presents and throw yourself a party! But self care is, I guess, a little bit more boring than all that. In order for it to be effective every day, we need to practice it every day.
If you’re like me, that thought scares you: You already have way too much to fit into a day that by the time you’re done figuring out how to fit all that in, you don’t want to think about how to look after yourself. But when you put yourself at the bottom of your priorities, all other priorities suffer.
So there are times when I have a lot to do, and I start to sacrifice the parts of my day that make me happy, for the parts of my day that make me productive. You’ve been there too, right? I think I’m being some kind of superhero badass because I skipped breakfast, zoomed straight into working at 8am and I’ve barely stopped since. But suddenly, my stomach has these stabbing pains, a migraine kicks in, I feel emotional, and an anxiety attack is coming on. I can’t concentrate, I realise that the past two hours of work have been sub par at best and I end up calling my husband, in tears, overwhelmed. His answer is always the same: Stop what you’re doing, have a drink and something to eat, and take a break.
And he’s always right, of course. So I found a way to work these things into my day, before my day has even really started. My morning routine is pretty sacred to me, so I wanted to share it. I find it really works wonders. As the day begins, I feel refreshed, calm, and ready. I have enough energy to concentrate,and I don’t get burned out by lunch.
For me, the first thing is always coffee. Duh. And because I love coffee, I make sure that each morning, I get to have a nice cup of coffee. Because I want to be excited about crawling to the kitchen, not depressed by a lukewarm mug of below average caffeine. I use caramel syrup with my coffee machine, and it’s (kind of unhealthy but) so good. I also make sure I eat breakfast: At the moment it’s just cereal and a banana, sometimes it’s toast and an apple, sometimes it’s scrambled egg and strawberries. But it’s always filling and not junk food. I used to eat sugary, junky breakfasts and I used to have a crash by 9am. And with breakfast, I always always take my meds. Anti-depressants, contraceptives and vitamins. Stuff that makes my life easier.
Sitting down to eat this is a really nice part of my day. It’s quiet, it’s early, and I can slowly wake up. Of course, I can’t forget my furbaby, Niles. He gets a fresh bowl of food and a hot water bottle. Cuddling him is also a great way to start things off for the day.
Then I shower. And I don’t just hop in the shower like it’s a necessity, because I am obsessed with shampoo, shower gel, cleansers and all things cosmetic. I have a lifelong love affair with Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, if only because it’s the nicest, most calming way of cleaning your face. I light a candle (I know- extravagant), and enjoy whatever potions and lotions I’m using right now. Again – this is a pleasant thing to do. Not a chore, but a way to treat myself.
Once I’ve gotten ready, put on makeup, put on clothes and made my bed (every person on the internet who raves about how making your bed is vital every day is, weirdly, correct. It makes stuff about 10,000x better), I can move on to other things. Slightly boring, chore shaped things. I load the washing machine, put away the clean dishes from last night, and have a tidy up. This morning, though, I needed to visit the postbox and pick up some food, so I had a beautiful morning walk. Because –and I’m really beating you over the head with this– even small everyday things like trips to the supermarket can be opportunities to take care of yourself. Take it slow, take it easy, take a deep breath and take in your surroundings. My walk was barely even 5 minutes each way, but it cleared my head and woke me up.
By 9:30am, I was ready to sit at my desk and start a day of work.
I’m not saying every morning is like this – sometimes I need to be out of the door before 7am. Sometimes I feel like shit and can barely get out of my bed. But since making sure that I have some kind of a routine in place to actually take care of myself, I’ve noticed that waking up and getting up are a lot easier, and a lot more appealing.
Want to schedule in your own self care? Check out the free free printable right here! It’s built around you fitting little treats into your day and getting enough breaks/food/self care. Start by listing all of the things you need to remember to do each morning, and then, try and write down as many things you want to do each morning – whether it’s reading a few pages of a book, having a nice coffee or going for a walk. Then, try and tick every item off for a week. You don’t have to get it all done, every day, but having the reminder to include self care in your morning routine can really help.