Why You Should Create a Self Care Schedule
Hey! Hi there! How’s your week going? I intended to get this post up much earlier (yesterday morning, yikes!) but, as life is now, I’m just sitting down to wrap it up tonight. It’s not that this post was hard to write; I’m really excited to share my little experiment with you because it’s working. I love when I get to write about things I’m trying that actually work. However, somehow the days just get away from me.
Who knew that a whole day could go by and nothing gets done besides running around with a four month old baby?!? Most days right now are just so filled with life, from baby duty to blogging to everything in between. It’s not unusual for me to look up at the clock at 11pm and realize its already past my preferred bedtime. I don’t feel like I’m hustling; my days are filled with joy and creativity and exciting challenges that don’t feel like work. But I can’t deny that I’m busy.
After having Violet, I got so used to just doing the minimum, whatever I could do to get by. Some days making sure I brushed my teeth and ate whatever I could find for lunch. If I was being really luxurious, it was a hot shower lasting longer than five minutes. I’m always the first one to tell you, “Take time to take care of yourself!” but I wasn’t saying the same thing to myself.
About two weeks ago I decided to experiment with making a self care schedule. I’m a big fan of having routines (always, always a type A organized teacher). Knowing that something needs to get done or what’s coming next is my cup of tea. When I realized I wasn’t making time to take of myself, a schedule seemed like the obvious answer.
Here’s what my schedule looks like:
Monday - take a nice, long hot shower using all the best bath products
Who else loves a really long shower? It’s where I do my best thinking if we’re being honest. I just find it so calming. That’s why I decided it was the perfect way to start off my weekly self care. Throw in some nice bath products and it might as well be the spa.
Tuesday - a face mask
You know I love my face masks if you ever watched my Friday instagram stories. #facemaskfriday is slowly making a return! Because I love face masks so much and my skin is craving a little extra care nowadays, Tuesday seemed like a good day to take a break and put on a face mask. My face mask was usually accompanied by watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Reality TV watching is just another way I like to enhance my self care.
Wednesday - ice roller and a hot green tea or big glass of water
I recently picked up this ice roller on Amazon, thanks to Grace Atwood’s recommendations. Seriously, if you’re looking for good wellness products, Grace always has the best recommendations. The roller helps to de-puff your face and tighten your pores. It’s really soothing and even helped alleviate a headache. I like to accompany it with a green tea or water to hydrate and relax. I mean, welcome to my self care spa!
Thursday - 30 minutes of reading
I didn’t want all of my self care schedule to be beauty rituals. To me, self care isn’t only taking care of your physical self but also your mental and emotional sides too. Reading is one of my favorite things, but when we changed up Violet’s bedtime, I found I wasn’t doing it as much as I used to. Grabbing a book and getting lost in it for half an hour felt so peaceful.
Friday - face mask and newsletter reading
You guys, I love email newsletters. Not all email newsletters though; really good email newsletters that share fascinating reads or share stories that have me nodding along. Friday evenings really are my favorite. Nick and I make a pizza together, we wind down our week, and talk about the upcoming weekend. So naturally I had to add two of my favorite things to kick it up a notch.
After two plus weeks following a weekly self care schedule, I have some thoughts.
Do it when you can.
I used to think self care had to look perfect. Like a face mask had to be applied with a full window of 20 minutes to sit and relax like I’m at a spa. Nope, not going to work. Sometimes I slapped it on in the morning once I knew Violet was down for nap. Most days I got it in just under the wire, around 10pm when I was fully exhausted from the day.
Even though it wasn’t always this perfectly presented time frame, I always feel better when it gets done. You can’t wait for the perfect moment to take care of yourself because some days those moments don’t exist. The schedule reminds me that I should do it, even if the time doesn’t seem to be there. And yes, there’s almost always an opportunity to take some time for you.
Self care shouldn’t be a reward.
Putting acts of care on my schedule made it a part of my day and not just a reward for completing tasks. I’m guilty of telling myself, “Get through this many papers and then you can do it” or “Cross off this many things on the to-do list and then you can do it”. Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be a reward for doing work; it should go hand-in-hand with your work.
Now I try to catch myself when I get in that “hustle and work” mode. Instead of trying to do enough things to justify a face mask or reading time, I tell myself that I need to do those things just as much as I need to get my work done. You don’t need to put in a certain amount of work to justify your self care time.
It kept me on track with my other schedules and to-do lists.
Like I said above, I realized that self care shouldn’t be a reward for doing work. But when you’re busy, it can be hard to stop and do something on your to-do list. Knowing that there had to be time in my day that was just “me time” and not work time meant that I needed to get things done.
Just because I was reserving time to relax and unwind didn’t mean that it was untouchable. I definitely put in a load of laundry while enjoying a face mask. I also split my reading time with some baby cuddles and diaper changes. But my time management was improved when I knew I wanted to fit in quality time for myself.
If you’re not making time to take care of yourself, it’s probably time to create your own schedule.
You might not realize you need a self care schedule until you create it. I honestly thought I was doing okay with making time to calm down and reset. Once I started prioritizing small acts of care in my schedule, there was a shift in my emotional and physical well-being.
Start by asking yourself what you need. Do you need simple things where you can just get 10, 15, 30 minutes of relaxation? Maybe that’s all you can do right now, but that’s okay. Or you might need something more. Don’t forget that you could need more like a therapy session or want more social interaction like a book club.
Once you know what you need, take a long, hard look at your schedule. Where do you have room for your self care practice? Where can you make room? Sometimes it’s not about having the room but instead saying, this is important to me so I’m going to add it to my day. Most days I still have to remind myself that those acts of self care are important and can’t just be shoved aside. But also be realistic: if you know that Mondays are always busy and you’re running around and just want to be home by 5pm, don’t schedule an appointment that you can’t make.
Then simply create a schedule for your week of little or big self care rituals you’ll do every day. I keep mine on a note in Google Keep because, even after two weeks, I forget what I promised to do for myself. And that’s just what the self care schedule is: a promise to do something for yourself every day no matter how small.