4 Steps to Creating a Regular Refreshing Self-Care Plan
If there is one thing I’ve learned about mothers, besides:
- Our tremendous ability to love
- Our enormous sacrificial tendencies
- Our totally awesome entrepreneurial drive
- And our amazing giving hearts
It’s that in spite of our complete and utter greatness, we suck - absolutely suck - at taking care of ourselves.
For some reason, it is like second nature for us to make sure everyone around us is OK.
We go without new clothes, beauty products, regular skin and hair care, sleep, healthy food, and consistent exercise because we just don’t have the time and/or bandwidth to fit those things in our busy lives.
I’ve heard the phrase, “self-care is a luxury” over and over again in my questionnaires and polls with the moms I serve. And I get it. Life, family, and business bring with them so many outside demands for our time, our skills, our emotions, our abilities, that we don’t readily see the margin available in our schedule to fit in times to take care of ourselves.
But here’s what I submit to you: If we don’t figure out how to make ourselves a priority, we are setting ourselves up to eventually crash and burn. We can’t be whom our family and business needs us to be if we are not well.
Listen, I’ve unfortunately had the “crash and burn” experience. And let me tell you, when I crashed, just about every ball I was trying to keep in the air burned to the ground.
- My business shut down.
- I gave up homeschooling, which was a tremendous priority for my family.
- I lost touch with my husband.
- I wasn’t spending regular time in meditation and prayer.
- I was overweight.
I completely forgot who ‘Deanna” was - what gave her life, what brought her joy, what she was supposed to be doing, what was important to her. I became pretty much oblivious to what I needed because I had spent years and years making sure everyone else got what they needed. I had lost my way big time.
So please, allow me to be your poster child of what NOT to do. You don’t have to go down my road if you don’t wanna. But, just in case you are occupying that space right now, like in this very moment, I’ve outlined 4 key areas for you to focus on as you take yourself on a journey of self-rediscovery and gradually fold regular self-care back into your life.
This is basically my personal blueprint of the start of my personal self-care journey back to loving and caring for myself.
I’ve also created a quick 4-Step Self-Care Blueprint Cheat Sheet and Assessment Pack for you to download for free. The assessment tools are just a resource for you to use to identify areas where you may need to focus on, and the cheat sheet will take you through a step-by-step process of creating a care plan for yourself. You can grab it below.
1. Get Comfortable with Self-Care - Decide it is necessary, not an option
Self-care is really “a thing.” It’s a very important thing. I really want you to embrace and believe this.
In health care, self-care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated, and includes all health decisions people (as individuals or consumers) make for themselves and their families to ensure they are physically and mentally fit.1
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.2
Some words that stand out to me when I consider these definitions are:
- Under individual control
- Mental health
- Emotional health
- Physical health
Read that list again. Now read it one more time.
Did you catch where the responsibility lies in executing our own self-care? It lies with us.
And, did you also notice why our self-care is so dang important? It’s important because our mental, emotional and physical health depend on it.
It’s important because YOU are important, and you so very much deserve to be cared for.
2. Spend Some Time Getting to Know Yourself
When we don’t make the initial time investment to deeply understand who we are, we risk damaging all areas of our emotional (and physical) wellness when our lives make significant shifts. The good news is that Refreshed Moms was created to equip you with self-care tools that can be employed at any life season, current or otherwise, in order to create an individualized care plan that is guaranteed to work for you. THIS should make you extremely ecstatic! I’m here for you.
My “Get to Know Yourself Better” Exercise
In the 4-Step Self-Care Blueprint Cheat Sheet and Assessment Pack I include questions you can ask yourself about yourself in order to get to know yourself better. You’ll want to grab a pen, writing pad or a personal journal (and if you’re like me, a cup of coffee), and get somewhere quiet where you can focus and spend quality time thinking and praying about these answers. Most of us can’t go down this list quickly (or entirely), and this exercise is not designed to be sped through. It may take more than one day or one period of alone time to get through it all, and that is perfectly OK!
Ponder. Think. Meditate. Mull it over. This time is for YOU. Make it really count.
3. Create Your Personal Self-Care Toolbox
So now, you’ve spent quiet time alone journaling about your likes, dislikes and preferences. In the exercise, you should have also identified the different ways you’d like to spend your time or ways you currently spend your time that help refresh and revitalize you emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
The next step is to craft your self-care toolbox - your very own self-care arsenal. Think of it as an individualized tool kit that you will use every day to incorporate self-care into your regular routine.
Your toolbox should include ways for you to rest and refresh in three categories:
Quick Tools - things you can insert in emergency situations
Daily Tools - things you do on a daily, consistent basis
Weekly Tools - things you do once a week
4. Schedule Time for Your Self-Care
Now you’re ready to do some forecasting to see exactly where you can fit in some of your tools identified in the step above.
This may be one of the hardest steps for you if you already feel like your time is maxed out. But, remember, that is why we are going through this process in the first place. We want to create a habit of putting ourselves first before we commit our time to things that may not be as important as we thought they were.
The main things I want you to do at this stage are the following:
Identify what is currently on your schedule for the week. What commitments are already made? This could be things like your work schedule, regular appointments, your children’s activities, or meetings.
Identify what could possibly be eliminated from your schedule this week. Are there activities on your schedule that can be taken off? Ask yourself what is not absolutely necessary. Can you eliminate an activity your child is involved in? Can you take a break from volunteering? Do you really have to be at the meeting you committed to?
Eliminate what isn’t absolutely necessary. Remember, we are doing a overhaul on your self-care plan right now, so pressing pause on a few things may be just what the doctor ordered. And believe me, your kids will be OK to sit something out for a semester or two if it’s going to make mommy a nicer person to be around!
In the 4-Step Self-Care Blueprint Cheat Sheet and Assessment Pack, I’ve included my Weekly Workflow Planner Spreadsheet with a video tutorial on how I use it every single week to plan my work and self-care.
This blueprint is a great place to start in order to begin creating regular rhythms for your self-care. You don’t have to strive for perfection with this, but I do want you to be intentional about it. Why? Because you are so worthy of the time and effort it takes in making it a habit to prioritize yourself.
Do you mind doing one more thing for me? Let me know if any of this was helpful to you. Can you leave a comment below and just share about one thing that helped you move forward in creating a consistent self-care routine?