These days, the demands of life seem greater than ever. The responsibilities of work, school, family life or caregiving, with the non-stop communication that comes with each, can leave you feeling overscheduled and stressed out. With so many other things to do, it might seem like taking time for quality self-care feels indulgent. How can you focus on yourself when there are so many other responsibilities competing for your time?
Remember: self-care isn’t selfish. To take care of the people you love and your many daily responsibilities, you must also take care of yourself.
- How can you do your best at work if you are feeling overwhelmed?
- How can you support the needs of your loved ones, when you haven’t recognized your own needs?
- How can you care for your family if you aren’t able to care for yourself?
Self-care is simply vital to your health and well-being — but even if you understand the importance of self-care, you might struggle with finding the time to focus on it. The best way to handle this challenge begins and ends with you.
Making YOU your first priority
What does it mean to put yourself at the top of your daily to-do list? It doesn’t mean you are going to ignore everything else around you. It just means that your own needs are reflected on your daily schedule too.
Here are four things you can do to fit self-care into your week, no matter how busy you are:
1. Schedule it. Make an appointment with yourself and put it on your schedule. That little ding in your pocket from your smart phone can become a great reminder that it’s time to focus on you — whether it’s for a workout, yoga, meditation or just sitting quietly.
2. A little goes a long way. If you’re busy and over-scheduled, finding two hours on your calendar in the middle of the day to focus on your needs probably isn’t realistic. To make “me time” work, choose what's realistic for you and commit to it. If you only have a ten-minute gap on Tuesday, that’s OK. You will make bigger gains practicing self-care a few minutes each day instead of focusing on it a couple of hours each month — or none.
3. Stick to it. Honor the time you schedule for yourself as some of the most important minutes in your day. Once you start making yourself a priority in your day, you will recognize how important it really is and how much better you feel because of it.
4. Rinse and repeat. The key to embracing self-care is consistency. Caring for yourself every day is so important, and the little things you do will add up to big changes over time.
Reviewed by Kaiser Permanente Clinical Ambassadors, including Mark Dreskin, MD, Sharon Smith, LPC, and/or David Kane, LCSW. September 2018.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, Summary Plan Description or other coverage documents. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.