I think the concept of self care goes to asking yourself one basic question: am I busy, or am I fruitful? “I’m busy” is the most popular catchphrase these days. Everybody’s busy, and they’re busy doing important stuff. Or are they? How do you feel about your day to day life? Do you go to bed at the end of the day happy with what you achieved? Have you taken steps toward progress and goals? Or do you collapse, working for the weekend and praying that you’ll win the lottery so you won’t have to suffer through to retirement? Be honest. You don’t have to tell us your answer. Just keep it in your heart as you read the rest of this entry.
Self care means you have to know yourself well enough to set your priorities right, and that you order your life based on them. Sure, things may occasionally happen that shake it up, but they should be temporary. What you can control should be controlled well, and based on what’s in your heart; not on what others want or expect from you. Do you want to get in better shape? Self care means you discipline yourself to eat a better diet and make time to exercise in your daily routine. You might have to give up watching some TV, or surfing online. Are you willing to make the sacrifice for a bigger goal? If you are, then it’s self care. It might not feel good, but you’ll feel satisfaction when you see the results.
People often ask me how I juggle a full time job with writing, and I tell them “I don’t watch much TV.” I see their faces scrunch up at that reply. And yet, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Binge watching on Friday and Saturday nights frees up a lot of time through the rest of the week to make progress toward my dream of being an indie author. I wasn’t willing to wait until retirement to pursue this goal. I started writing and publishing fiction right when the ebook trend came along, and I’m so glad I decided to make my dream a priority and a reality when the timing for it was right.
Sometimes self care hurts immediately, but it helps down the road. It’s girding myself up to write or revise another chapter after a busy day at work, so I can take Friday night off to watch a movie with Rick. It’s doing that workout when I really want to drop in the recliner. It’s cooking a healthy supper instead of stopping for burgers and fries. It’s cleaning the bird cages before trash dropoff day to help keep our schedule on track. It’s taking the time to wipe the kitchen and bathroom counters with a Clorox wipe once a week. It’s picking up out of place items and putting them away before I go to bed. And it stings, but it pays off later when my clothes fit better, the writing is done, the birds are happy, the home is clean, and I have time to sit down and read a book or watch TV because I disciplined myself along the way.
Sure, sometimes you do need to take a time out and spoil yourself, and that’s fine. But self care means acknowledging that you’ll balance work and play. I have a saying: it’s better to keep up than to catch up. You need a plan, but the plan needs to be flexible so it can be changed or rearranged for unexpected things or needs. For example, one night I was so exhausted that I skipped my workout, but I acknowledged that I’d need to do some light housework and a workout later in the week to make up for my night off to keep things on track.
It’s all about balance, and that’s hard in a world that’s pulling us in so many different directions. But we can do it, if we’re willing to take charge of our life and schedule, and put it in line with that’s right for us. So be bold, be courageous, and take charge. Then you might be busy, but at least it’s a busy that leads to right results and achievement that builds you up, instead of tearing you down.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.