Self-care is a big topic of conversation in 2020. Stress levels are high for pretty much everyone these days and taking good care of ourselves has gone from something that’s nice to have, to something that is a necessity.
With things opening up again, and many people going back to work, it can feel like the rush of our old lives is back. We have busy schedules and activities and work. And even though our routines may be feeling a little more normal, we have a heightened level of underlying stress due to the pandemic, as well as other things going on in the world like the election coming up and the state of our environment, etc.
So how can we manage this higher stress level when it feels like we are back to our super busy lives? I have a tip that you probably haven’t tried before that has really worked for me.
A lot of us feel like we just don’t have time for self-care. Time is interesting because our perception of it can shift and change. You might have noticed this during lockdown, but when we feel like we don’t have a schedule or routine and time is endless, we don’t end up actually doing more with our time. We actually start doing less with our time. Also, when we don’t pay attention to time, we might scroll through our phones or watch TV and not even notice that several hours have gone by. What you do with your time is heavily influenced by your perception of it. So here’s my tip for finding the time to take great care of yourself: track your time.
What you’ll do for at least a week is log your time by every 15 or 30 minutes and write down what you are doing. You can also use a free app like Toggl. What this does is it helps you look at time in a more mindful way. Instead of mindlessly watching TV or scrolling on your phone or doing something else that doesn’t actually make you feel great, you’ll start being much more aware of how you are spending your time because you are checking in every 15 minutes or so. Mindlessly using up our time is a big reason why we think that we have a lot less time for self-care than we actually do.
Also, by breaking up your day into 15 minute chunks, it can add a bit of structure if your daily routine is not very structured either due to the pandemic or other reasons. If you feel like you have all day long to get something done, you’re much less likely to get it done. If you are tracking your time every 15 minutes and you realize that you don’t really have much to do for the next 15 minutes, you can easily decide to use those 15 minutes toward self-care. The 15 minute intervals are like little reminders that there is another chance to do something that makes you feel great.
To add on to this, you can log what you are feeling when you log your time. This can help you prioritize what things you do in your day that make you feel great and what things you do just because they are distracting and mindless and they don’t actually make you feel rested or energized afterwards.
Contributed by Melanie Maxwell, R.H.N.