Life can be busy, stressful, chaotic, and can feel like a roller coaster. Between work, school, family, friends, kids, significant others or some combination of them or all of the above, it can be hard to find time for yourself. When it feels like life is moving too fast, to stop in smell the roses, it might actually be time to slow things down. In graduate school, one thing I was taught over and over was the importance of self-care. Life and work can be stressful, and being able to take care of yourself isn't just good practice, it's necessary. Unfortunately, self care is not a priority for a lot of people and the busy and stressful nature of life can make it easy to neglect and forget the importance of self-care, but it is in these times I believe we need self-care the most. And with the beautiful Seattle summer behind us and cold wet Seattle gray upon us, self-care is more important than ever during the time when seasonal depression starts to kick in. So whether you're battling seasonal depression or just neglecting your own needs, here are three things you can do to implement self-care into your life to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
Make Time Every day
You are a priority, and you should treat yourself as such. Start carving out time every day to do something you get enjoyment out of. It doesn't have to be the same thing, or at the same time. Just find time every day to do something that brings joy or fulfillment to your life. Whether that is reading, exercising, spending time with friends, or literally stopping to smell the roses, make sure you make yourself a priority. This might seem like a no-brainer, but at the end of a busy day when the lights go out, you would be surprised how many people look back on their day without finding any enjoyment in it.
Ice Cream for the Rocky Road
When you have a really bad day, be sure to do something special for yourself. Maybe work was a nightmare, or you received bad news from family or friends, whatever it is, make sure you take extra care of yourself. I personally treat myself to ice cream when I find myself in an emotionally heavy day. For you, it might be an extra long run, happy hour with friends, or just cuddle time on the couch with your partner. Whatever it is, be sure to set aside the time to treat yourself accordingly.
Have Something on the Horizon
Have something you are looking forward too. I can't stress this enough. If you don't have something to look forward to then what's the point of living? Looking forward to something can be as big as a trip to Europe, or as small as meeting up with friends over the weekend. Whatever it is you should have something on the calendar or on your mind for the future. Without having something you are looking forward to it can be easy to feel exhausted and burnt out. Looking forward to something can also be a source of hope when things feel dim.
Self-care should be a priority for everyone. So make yourself a priority by doing something for yourself every day, treat yourself when you have a rough day and have something you are looking forward to in your future. Life might still feel like a roller coaster, but by taking care of yourself, you will have a lot better chance to enjoy the ride.