How to “Treat Yo Self” when you can’t afford to “Treat Yo Self”

We live in such a fast paced world. There are so many tasks and responsibilities that all need to be taken care of by a certain time and sometimes, we run out of just that. Time.

To avoid missing out on the crucial things, we prioritize what needs to be done when. It can be a bit chaotic.

I live off of lists. I haven’t always been this way, but thanks to my own personal collection of due dates, appointments, social commitments and everything else, I have found that this just might be the best way to do it. Yes mom, you were right.

There is definitly a benefit to a list. It keeps you organized and accountable and shows you just how busy you are. If I take a quick look back at the list I have set up for this past week alone I can visually understand why I feel like I’m made of static electricity right now. I’ve had events to plan, things to order, people to contact and contact again, schedules to create, curriculums to write, weather to watch, weight to lose, tensions to ease, dinners to cook, laundry to wash, budgets to make, appointments to rearrange and a plethora of other things to get done before this week came to a close. My to-do list was packed. I was busy and now it’s over, done, and I’m spent. I don’t just mean tired. I mean spent in the sense that I have neglected my own personal needs in order to complete the list of things that so badly needed to be completed. We all do this. And it’s not always a bad thing. I think there are moments in life where you definitely need to lay down your physical needs for a moment and get stuff done (parent’s know what I’m talking about). But, the question is at what point do you flip the switch from mental exhaustion and become re-energized, and how? Not everyone can afford a weekend trip to the spa and recharge that way, so if you’re not made of money (or time because that’s kind of why we’re here in the first place), how in the world do I go about making myself feel human again without spending lots of (if any) money?

I am a firm believer in self-care, or treating yourself, in simple and inexpensive ways. The literal definition of self-care is; any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. The social work definition of self care is; activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short and long term health and wellbeing. Those activities and practices that we do could be anything from watching TV after work to binge eating popcorn to going to the gym. Some of those are obviously way healthier than others. Because my work life and social life tends to be pretty demanding, I rely heavily on certain self care practices to help me breathe and not live in that bubble of stress for too long. They are all pretty simple and I wanted to share them with you. Maybe you could give some of them a try to see how they work for you.

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  1. Hold the Bathroom Hostage – I get one day off a week, Friday. This means I work Monday through Thursday, take Friday off (from work) and Work Saturday and Sunday. Friday is my only day to take care of me without a time restraint. My household usually goes to work on Fridays (keyword: Usually) so I often get not only unrestricted time, but space to myself. It’s Heaven. This is the day I choose to do all of the bodily care things that I can only DREAM of doing during the work week. I deep condition my hair, maybe even do a hair mask, shave, exfoliate, apply a face mask, sing…loudly and do that foot scrubby stone thing that I still have no idea how to actually do (but I use it anyway because it makes me feel like a lady). The whole process takes me about 30 minutes and every time I exit feeling like a whole new woman, far removed from the ragged, cranky, frizzy haired lady I was the night before.153149-OU5TT7-955.jpg
  2. Nail’d It – I couldn’t resist. Sorry. Nail care is a quick task yet an important one. When my nails are too long, ragged looking, chipped, dirty or whatever else I  feel pretty gross. I dedicate a piece of my self-care day to doing my nails. An easy way to tell if I’m stressed by the way is by the condition of my nails. If my hands look like I work on a farm then it has been a bad week. This doesn’t mean you have to paint them, some people just don’t do nail polish, and that’s fine. You can still trim them up, file them down and even give them a little buffing. I guarantee those 5-10 minutes will help you to feel a little more human. 679.jpg
  3. Do Something Healthy – Whether this means you make a fruit/veggie smoothie, eat a salad for lunch, go for a run or brisk walk, go to the gym or have some detoxifying tea, you should do something that your insides will thank you for. It’s easy to think that on a self-care day where you’re caring for your mental state that you should be allowed to indulge in whatever cravings you have, but actually that’s not the case. Going overboard with relaxing and doing absolutely nothing or binge eating all of the salty, sugary snacks you have in your house won’t help you to feel better at all. In fact, at some point during the day you may find yourself regretting how you chose to spend your time. Of course you can relax in the couch in front of the TV and of course you can eat those chips you’ve been eyeing, but give yourself a cut off and balance it out with something healthy. Your body will thank you. 259546-P4JTDF-437.jpg
  4. Do Something Creative – My job is a beautiful blend of creativity and logistics. Even though I get my creative fix at work, I make sure to give time to my own personal craft. I paint, and I write. Finding inspiration can be difficult, especially when you’re already at that stress threshold. There is nothing more aggravating than having your brain go in 8 different directions while you’re staring at a blank canvas. Because of this, I usually do this activity after I do one or two other self-care activities. By then, I’m ready to get my creativity on.186657-OX6ZAO-334.jpg
  5. Clean It Up – If you have piles of laundry sitting around I have news for you. You are not going to feel any less stressed while those piles are staring at you reminding you that eventually you’ll need to wash them. Tidy up your space. You don’t have to get crazy with it, but pick a few places that could be bit neater and have at it. For me it’s always my laundry, it just makes my week coming up a lot easier when my clothes are fresh and clean.

Bonus Tip:

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Quiet Down – Take a minute to quiet your atmosphere. Find a peaceful quiet spot in your house and just sit in it. Block out those thoughts of all the things you did wrong this week or all of the things you still have left to do. Turn off your phone or leave it in another room. Just breathe. This can last 2 minutes, or this can last 30. It’s up to you. It takes practice though and out of all of these things this one for me is probably the hardest. After I get myself into a quiet head space I like to fill myself with something peaceful and uplifting. You can choose a book, music, anything that makes you feel good. I like to listen to music or do a devotional. It brings me back to a place where I remember that I don’t have to feel like I am in charge of the whole world. That brings me peace and gives me the strength to take on the rest of the day.

I hope you found this helpful. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a cure for busy, but there is definitely a way to make sure the busy doesn’t make us crazy. Taking care of yourself in the midst of the chaos happens to be the key.

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you to breathe easy at the end or in the middle of a busy week? If so I’d love to hear about them below.

Thanks for reading and as always Stay Lovely,

Nicole

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