When your heart is not in the work you’re doing, it’s even more important to create a self care plan.
If you loved your job, you could imagine more easily floating through your day and having the free time to do what you want and need to do to take care of yourself and the details that come with your life.
But too often, work you don’t want to do comes with a schedule that doesn’t allow for your real life to fit into it. Which means your life gets crammed into about 2 square inches.
If you’re strung out – not getting enough sleep, not eating well, living on stress, and feeling uninspired most of the time, then you’re in desperate need of self care.
Right now, there’s nothing positive that’s sustaining you. Instead, what’s keeping you going is artificial, – stress, adrenaline, and caffeine – and you know it can’t last forever. When your health or willpower gives out, you’ll have to re-evaluate how you’re going about doing things just to avoid a major medical or emotional crisis.
Or, you could start your self care sooner and avoid all that.
But it’s easy to think you’ve got time to do it later. . .
I know it’s much easier to imagine yourself getting up and going for a walk before work when you have that super-flexible work schedule and the salary that makes living on the beach a possibility. . .when you don’t have stressful deadlines or terrible rush hour traffic to face. . .but I promise, it’s true what they say that “nothing changes until you do.”
You have to start making your self care plan now.
How To Practice Self Care
Self care isn’t just about having more self discipline. It’s about considering many aspects of your life including your health, your stress levels, and your levels of fun, joy and inspiration.
It’s not so much about cracking down on yourself and vowing to do better, as it is allowing yourself to let go and do what you’re really motivated to do for yourself, not what you have to do because you’re told to.
Here’s a simple test you can perform to decide if you’re really taking care of yourself in a certain area in your life.
1. Look at that area of your life. For this example, let’s say it’s growth and learning.
2. Next, ask yourself, “Do I feel like I’m blooming or wilting in the area of growth and learning?”
3. If you feel like you’re blooming, great! You must be doing a good job at self care. You’ve probably got a lot of things going on in that area and you make sure you feed that area of your life with new things that interest you and keep you going, even if you come up against obstacles that might get in your way.
But if you feel like you’re wilting, it’s time to break out that self care plan.
Maybe you haven’t thought about growing or learning anything new and interesting for a long time. Maybe it’s all you can do to drag yourself home and watch some mindless TV. Maybe even if you want to do something in that area, you just never find the time because you’ve always got too many other things to do.
So now maybe it IS time to read a new book, take an online course, meet some new people or travel abroad. Whatever is going to make you feel like you’ve been cared for in this area.
It may seem obvious, but the bloom/wilt test can help you figure out if you’ve been neglecting something or not. When we get really busy (and who isn’t?!) we can forget about whole areas of our lives. Until we really stop to examine what’s going on with these areas we don’t know what’s happening – and we just plow forward with what’s right in front of us.
Permission for Self Care
A huge stumbling block for self care is not allowing yourself permission to do it. Sound familiar? I know you say you’re going to do it, but when the time really comes – when the deadline hits, when the boss calls, when your family member needs something – do you actually say no because you had that massage scheduled?
I didn’t think so.
But you have to, because your life depends on it.
Something bad might not be the very next thing that happens because of you neglecting your self care, but it will happen sooner or later. That’s the truth. I don’t have to cite a million medical journals here for you to believe that stress and getting run over by life will cause bad things to happen to you. So take control now and slow that process down.
Make room for your self care by saying no.
I promise you, that tiny word (no) isn’t going to hurt anybody.
The consequences of saying no won’t be disastrous, but the consequences of saying yes too often and to the wrong things will be. . .
So give yourself permission to live and not just work. (Don’t know how to say no? Read this article on The Art of Saying No.)
A Self Care Plan For When You Don’t Like Your Job
Do you imagine a future where your job is perfect and you’ll get to do what you want all day? You can go for a walk, get a massage, paint, play music, or whatever works best for you? In other words your work fits around your life, and not the other way around?
It’s possible, but it’s not a destination. It’s a reality you create partially through creating a work situation you love, and partially through making conscious choices about how to spend your time and how to treat yourself. You can’t put off living well until you get there.
It’s about making room in your own life for YOU. Are you that important? I think so.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make room in your life for yourself today! What do you need to do to start making room for you in your life now?