Making Time for Self-Care Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury
Making time for self-care is necessary, although it has never been at the top of my list of priorities. I'm a wife and mom, I run my own small business, and I'm often so consumed by things like potty training or launching a new product that taking time for self-care sounds ridiculous. Why would I take the time to do my skincare routine at night when I could get an extra three minutes of sleep? Why would I exercise for half an hour when I could be using that time to catch up on emails? For a long time, self-care has lived at the bottom of my to-do list, constantly shuffled around and ignored.
Making Time for Self-Care Is Necessary for Mental Illness Recovery
Even though I've been in recovery from mental illness for years, I consistently saw self-care as something to add to my life when there was time rather than an essential part of every day. But that has changed recently because my therapist and I have agreed to start doing trauma work. This is intense work, and my therapist has made it clear that self-care has to become a bigger priority for me if we are going to do this work.
And that's why self-care is so necessary. It's the only way we can make progress in our recovery safely. Without self-care, we can't do the demanding work required of recovery, like trauma work, challenging our thoughts, or soothing our nervous system. When we take time for self-care, we are telling ourselves that we matter outside of our productivity, and that is a huge boost to our self-worth. Every time you slow down and take care of yourself, you are supporting your recovery in incredible ways.
How I'm Making Time for Self-Care
Self-care looks different for everyone, but here are the top 4 ways I'm making time for necessary self-care in my life right now:
- Cleaning -- When I'm not taking care of myself, I have a bad habit of letting the house fall into disarray. Important papers everywhere, toys not picked up at night, dishes in the sink, laundry left in the dryer for days, the list goes on. So now that I'm trying to take care of myself better, I am making cleaning my living space a priority. My husband and I just swept and mopped the floors last night, and it felt amazing.
- Exercising -- I'll be honest, I hate exercise. I hate sweating; I hate running; I don't like any of it, really. But I feel so much better when I do it. Exercise gives me energy, and it's a way to tell myself that I'm important, that I want to take care of my body.
- Journaling -- I used to journal all the time when my mental health was really bad. But now that I'm in recovery and doing better, I journal less and less. The problem is, this sends my brain the message that my life is only interesting and worth writing about when I'm suffering, which is obviously not the narrative I want to believe. So now I'm making an effort to journal several times a week, even if nothing is really going on and I'm in a good mood.
- Hygiene -- Sometimes, I get so caught up in taking care of my son or picking up messes, or writing blog posts that I forget to take care of myself on a basic level. I stop washing my face or brushing my teeth; I avoid showering because it takes too much time, and I generally don't treat myself like I matter. So I'm changing things. I'm prioritizing my hygiene, from skincare to haircare to brushing my teeth.
Are you making time for necessary self-care in your life? How are you telling yourself that you love yourself every single day? Let's talk about it in the comments below.
Griffith, M. (2021, March 30). Making Time for Self-Care Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2021/3/making-time-for-self-care-is-a-necessity-not-a-luxury
Author: Megan Griffith
I love your suggestions for how you make time for self-care. Not only do we need to change the conversation around self-care, seeing it as a necessity and not a luxury (so important!) it also feels important to talk about what self-care is. Can it be chocolate and bubble baths? Yes, but it is also so much more than that and as you point out it can often be small daily acts.
Exactly! Sometimes self-care feels luxurious, and sometimes it's the little things throughout your day.