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Ep 38. 5 Steps to Make Self-Care a Priority

I'm Ashley!

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I’ll be honest with you, self-care hasn’t always been a priority for me. In fact, it’s something that I’ve recently been working on and making strides in. It’s something that is a daily practice and it’s not something that you are just going to magically become great at overnight. It’s about small steps and it’s about progress.

Now picture your life right now and I want you to picture your family. Think about your day-to-day interactions with your children, how about those interactions with your spouse? Are you living a hurried life rushing through the day to day to do lists, just checking things off and rarely taking the time to stop and actually enjoy your life. When you actually start to prioritize your self-care, you’ll begin to notice what a hurried life you’ve been living. You start to realize what you truly want out of life.

I really want you to think about your life and how it will look like three years from now, if you continue to have the same hurried life that you’re living. Are you going to have any tinge of regret? Are you going to wish that you had taken the time to get to know your kids, to stay connected with your spouse? Remember, neglecting your self-care just doesn’t impact you, it impacts everyone. If we don’t take care of ourselves so that we can be the best version of ourselves, I guarantee you we are going to live with regret.

I have Rachel Macy Stafford with Hands Free Mama to thank for opening my eyes and showing me what a hurried life I was living. She has saved me from immense regret that would have been present, had I not made changes in my life. Here’s an excerpt from her book, “Hands-Free Life” which puts things into perspective:

“Today, I will not put that which is urgent in front of that which is important today. I will look for opportunities staring me in the face with big brown or blue or green eyes. And when I get a chance to love, listen, sing, dance, laugh, or rest, I will seize it. This day could be checked off or it could be lived. I choose to use these hands, this heart, and these eyes to let it live.”
Self-care is a mindset and a practice. It’s intentionally evaluating what your needs are and what to do to meet those needs. Let this sink in for a minute, if you don’t have enough time to take care of yourself, then your schedule is too full.

So today, I want to walk you through how to prioritize your self-care and some simple steps to take so that you can actually implement it into your daily routine. Mama, I really hope that you are ready for this. So, let’s get started!

Step #1: Decide What to Focus on First

When we think of self-care, we think of all the things that we are doing wrong or all the areas in which we could improve on. However, if we look at all the areas in which we’re lacking or could do better in, it leads to overwhelm and then overwhelm often leads us to paralysis and we’re stuck! And what do you do when you feel paralyzed? You typically do nothing. I recommend you focus on just a couple of areas at a time and as you slowly start to get into a routine, then you can add more.
But there should always be something you’re working on improving when it comes to your self-care.

Step # 2: Start Small

I don’t want you to overwhelm yourself with jumping headfirst into an activity. Let’s say for instance you haven’t been working out regularly, I don’t want you to jump into exercising three times a day for 60 minutes. You want to work up to that and maybe start with three times a day for only 10 minutes. So even just a little bit of progress is going to make you feel successful. You don’t want to set goals that are unattainable, so start small.

Step # 3: Schedule the Time

Time is just not going to become magically available to you, we have to intentionally schedule it in. I recommend at minimum, having a daily reflection time where you can just write down what’s going on in your head. I talk about this a lot on the podcast and in my Efficient Mompreneur Course, but it’s this idea of input versus output. We have an abundance of input from the TV, social media, podcast and people around us. But how often are we spending time with output, which is journaling or having conversations about things that are going on in our life. The reason we feel overwhelmed is that we are taking in so much information and we aren’t spending the time to actually output the information.

Step # 4: Stay on Track

So anytime you start implementing something new, you’re going to have to really be intentional about how you hold yourself accountable. A new habit takes 21 days to form and using a reminder, like an alarm on your phone helps to retrain your brain and develop the habit. I also want you to post these habits or these areas in which you are working on all over your house, whether on your bathroom mirror, your fridge or in your office. This is just going to constantly remind your brain what it is that you’re working on and how to stay on track.

Also get an accountability partner, somebody who can check in on you and how are you doing with your progress. Whatever it is that your self-care goal is, I want you to have someone hold you accountable.

Step #5 Celebrate your Progress

It’s just so easy for us to be down on ourselves for not doing enough and not celebrating the little bit of progress that we have made. I know for me in the area of time, I get really flustered sometimes and I am quick to say that I never have enough time. Now, I stop myself and I reflect on what I have accomplished in the time that I had and celebrate the little successes instead of focusing on everything that wasn’t completed. So, once I switch my mindset and I change my perspective, that makes me feel like I’m making progress.

Different Areas of Self-Care

So, there are five different areas of self-care that I’m to talk about. Hopefully, they will spark some light bulb moments where you will be able to identify the changes you need to make and develop some new habits.

Physical Self-Care
These are going to be activities that are going to promote your wellbeing. Things like your nutrition, exercise and sleep needs and ensuring that your body addresses these needs adequately. What about your routine exams?

Are you actually going to the doctor and doing your annual checkups and physical exams? I know that I am guilty of not staying up to date with that but that is a part of physical self-care.

What about sex? I know this one is somewhat obvious, but I think a lot of people just don’t think about it. Sex is a crucial part of physical self-care and this is something that is not only crucial to your physical self-care, but also to your emotional self-care with your spouse.

Emotional Self-Care
These are activities that actually help you connect and process and reflect on a full range of emotions and this could be something like journaling or speaking with a counselor. Journaling is absolutely one of my favorite, most crucial areas of self-care for me and I feel very overwhelmed and flustered if I don’t get a chance to journal at least every other day. Journaling allows me to process my thoughts and it allows me to just seek clarity on a deeper level.

Seeing a counselor is another area of emotional self-care where their sole primary goal is to help you process through those emotional blocks and things that are holding you back. Lastly there is also the emotional relationship with your spouse. Being able to connect with your spouse on a deeper level is another way of emotional self-care. It’s a way of getting to know what the other one is struggling with and walking together with them with whatever they’re experiencing.

Social Self-Care
So, this is socializing with friends, making those meaningful connections and conversations. Maybe this is just going on a date with your spouse and just casually socializing there. Maybe it’s calling your friends and your family just to regularly chat and catch up.

A quick tip I want to share with you is to set aside 10 minutes a day to have a face to face conversation with your spouse. It just always seems like we are always doing things side by side, whether we’re getting stuff done in the house or getting the kids settled. But if we can turn and face each other and talk to each other for just 10 minutes a day, I have noticed a huge change in our relationship and the level of connection and intimacy that we do have.

Spiritual Self-Care
Things like studying the Bible, prayer or meditation. What are those areas in which you need to focus on spiritual self-care? I personally use a good chunk of my morning routine in this spiritual self-care realm. This is very important to me as you guys know, my faith is extremely, extremely important. And so, when I have time in the quiet to study and to pray and to journal, it is extremely beneficial to me and I look forward to it every morning.

Practical Self-Care
And the last area that I want to chat about is practical self-care. Now, these are tasks that you complete that fulfill your core aspects of your life in order to prevent stressful situations. So, these are things like money management, home organization, scheduling, really taking control of your calendar and not letting it control you. I mean our time is so valuable, we need to spend it wisely. Just like we need to be thoughtful about budgeting our money, we have to be thoughtful about budgeting our time.

Now, before I end today, I want to leave you with another excerpt from the “Hands-Free Life” book:

“Although I may fall short and make mistakes today, I can do one thing well, I can listen. I can look up when she walks in the room, I can focus on the color of his eyes when he speaks. I can look into his eyes before he gets out of the car. I can listen in a nonjudgmental and supportive way by nodding and smiling. I may not have all the answers, but I can listen. Because when it comes to building up a human being, unconditional attention is just as important. Today, I will be at peace with who I once was and feel hopeful for the person I am becoming. I will not view the mistakes of yesterday as failures, but instead as steppingstones to the lovingly imperfect grace-filled life, I’ve always wanted to live. Who I’m becoming now is more important than who I was then.”

Sweet mama, I care so deeply about you and your family. I hope that this post has been impactful and that you’ve enjoyed it. And if so, I would love for you to share it with other mamas so that they too will not live with regret.

As always mama I’m here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.

Resources:
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Complimentary Episodes:
• Episode 37: It’s Not About the Bubble Bath + Other Self-Care Myths
• Episode 34: Plan, Prep and Protect your Nutrition
• Episode 32: What to Outsource in Your Home
• Episode 21: Save Your Sanity and Avoid Overwhelm

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mams experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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