Self-care has never been a strength of mine. I love helping everyone else and advising them that they take care of themselves, but I always seem to overlook my own self-care. Until recently.
Self-care does not come naturally for someone like me. First I had to learn that I am worthy of care and love, even from myself. I still struggle with that often, by often I mean daily. But I’m learning.
Second, I had to gain an awareness of how often I was responsible for my bad days/moods. Then I had to learn how to be accountable for it. I often times check myself when I find I’m irritated with others for no good reason. Driving has always been a source of frustration. I always seem to be in a hurry to get to where I’m going. I’ve realized that 1) If I’m running late, it’s my fault, poor time management and 2) where I am rushing to get to isn’t going anywhere, it’ll still be there regardless of slow drivers. I still struggle with this too, but having an awareness of it now helps me to rethink my frustration towards others. If I’m tired and crabby, it’s on me. No one made me stay at work until 2am talking with a co-worker. No one made me stay up until 4am watching YouTube videos or a movie. I did that to myself.
Third, I am being treated for clinical depression, ADHD (without the H), C-PTSD, and a touch of anxiety (a little more than a touch when it comes to certain things). This does not mean I always have to feel depressed. I get to have good days, I get to be happy. These disorders are part of who I am, but they do not define me. With that said, these are disorders I can’t usually control. When it hits, it hits hard. Not everyday is a hard hitting day though. But I can certainly make everyday a hard day. I don’t need to do that though. I don’t have to let these things define me.
Fourth, I had to do something. I needed to create a change in my routine. I had all of these things I wanted to do in a day, but never seem to have time. And I wanted to feel good. I’m so tired of being so tired all of the time. So I downloaded an app on my phone that I could literally account for every minute of my day and it has notifications to remind me that I’ve spent enough time doing this and now it’s time to do that. I started this last night.
Now I get a notification at 12:25am telling me I have 5 minutes until I have to leave. I’ve set a boundary for myself that I cannot stay and chat with coworker passed 12:30am.
I have until 2am to cook, eat, and unwind. I get a notification at 1:45am letting me know to take my sleep med and that bed is in 15 minutes.
I wake up at 10:30am, giving me between 8-8.5 hours of sleep
10:35am, 20 minute meditation followed by 15-30 minutes of yoga.
1:45pm get ready for work
2:30-3:20pm is free-time. Then I go to work and start all over again.
Nearing the end of the first 24 hours, I’ve done pretty well. I accomplished everything on my new daily routine.
This is the foundation of my day and my self-care. There is, of course, flexibility if something comes up, but I can no longer use “I’m tired” or “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I just don’t want to” as an excuse to not follow this routine. These are my bare minimum boundaries I’ve set for myself.
This is where my self-care begins, because I matter too.