Hi Sweet Friends,
I love you. I do. And one of my absolute favorite things is tending to the people I care about most. Making a scrumptious plant-happy dinner for close friends, Skyping with my sister, going for a long hike with my mischief-making pup and sending support to my colleagues, are just a few of my precious rituals. But sometimes, when I don’t give myself the same TLC, doing for others can be too much. Having a solid self care base is the only way I can maintain my health, my business, my love for my peeps, and my sanity. And I bet I’m not alone, which is why I created a self care planner for you. (Pssst … I think it will help us both!)
Over the Edge
You know the usual story: you over-commit. You say yes to everyone who asks you for something. You give, give, give. And before long, you fall flat on your cute face—an important deadline missed, a birthday forgotten or an email inbox so full that you break the internet. Worst of all, running ourselves ragged doesn’t just make us stressful, it invites illness. Overtaxed systems, little rest and scarce mental downtime are a perfect storm for health issues—hello, inflammation!
And then, the guilt kicks in. We kick ourselves for not doing things “right.” We deny ourselves the tools and time necessary to actually meet our goals. We try to treat our friends and family like the wonderful beings they are (yet we often fall short), but when it comes to ourselves, we judge, blame and end up in a downward spiral.
Here’s the good news, there’s a recipe for self-care success, and it’s not complicated. For me, it’s healthy serving of fresh air, sweat, clean food, and sleep. When I don’t get in three mind-clearing hikes per week, both my writer’s butt and brain feel very unhappy. My body starts to stiffen and mental molehills become mountains. If I stay up too late, I’m toast. If I eat too much toast because I’m too lazy to shop and make a healthy meal, I start to feel lethargic. But when I invest in myself, I feel strong and grounded. Ready and willing to take on the world.
I know we all have a lot on our plates—balancing kids, work, health pickles, partners, friends, you name it. That’s why it’s so important to carve out sacred, non-negotiable self-care time. Find something that works for you. Maybe it’s just ten minutes a day that are really, truly yours. Maybe it’s the simple act of noticing something lovely in your neighborhood as you go buy groceries. Maybe it’s just one mantra that you say to yourself to set a healthy, caring tone for your day. “Good morning, Kris! I love you” sure works for me. Whatever you can do that actually, really serves you, that’s perfect.
What Does Self Care Mean?
For me it’s simple. It means being a kind friend to myself. Listening to my needs, tending my wounds, creating boundaries so that I don’t get exhausted, fueling my body instead of draining it, and practicing the art of loving all parts of me. All parts. Even the ingrown hairs, scars, tumors, crooked teeth and age spots.
What self care looks like for me:
- Honoring the real Kris, not the Kris I think I should be
- Hiking three times per week (stretching too)
- Listening to guided meditations & uplifting spiritual talks (while soaking in a epsom salt + lavender bath)
- Nourishing my body with green juice, green smoothies and greens
- Lights out at 10pm, eyes open at 7am
- Accepting help from others
- Releasing resentment, anger and frustration (the top mental blocks that make me cranky)
- Connecting with my uber close circle of friends and family (and not feeling guilty if I can’t connect with everyone else)
- Watching movies that inspire me (while allowing Lola on the sofa—even though Brian doesn’t like that)
What self care is not:
- Forcing myself to stay awake to answer every single email, way past the point when my brain is capable of making cohesive sentences
- Saying yes to obligations I dread
- Hanging out with people who drain me
- Grudgingly slogging to the gym because women’s magazines tell me that my ass should be 3 inches higher
- Demolishing all of the cake when I’m sad (all of it)
- Having a harsher set of standards for myself than I have for others
- Drinking too much, too often
- Smoking. Period. Ever. End of story.
- Helping and serving others more than I help or serve myself
- Self-care is not selfish (it’s spiritual and loving)
Here’s a little exercise I use when I don’t know what to do: I think of Brian, my sweet hubby. I put him in the situation I’m facing, and think of what advice I’d give him. Say it’s 2pm, I have a few deadlines that I absolutely have to meet still to go, but I’m beat. There’s no gas left in the tank. If Brian told me this, I’d say, “take a 20-minute nap, and when you wake up I’ll make you some tea.” Voila, my action plan is born!
Plan, Act, Repeat
When it comes to long-term solutions, creating new habits is key. Guess what? I wasn’t born drinking green juice, but after years of practice it’s a daily do. When you want to embark on something new, especially something as important as self care, set yourself up for success. Make a do-able plan (not an epic novel!), and stick to it. Having a clear picture of what you’re going to do before you actually do it will make the changes much easier.
Planning my success is how I run my health and my business. CEO-a-go-go! Whether you’re committing to going for a quick run in the mornings, taking a ten-minute walk outside on your lunch break or accepting the fact that yoga is more your workout style than P90X, knowing your goal and how you’re going to fit it into your nutty schedule is important.