Be deliberate and make time for self-care

At a recent workshop, I led a group of women through an exercise where they reflected on how often they were able to make time for self-care.  One woman realised she had been leaving her self-care to fate: “I’ve just been floating” she told us .  She had retired from her job over 12 months earlier in order to take a break and have time for herself. Yet in that 12 months, she hadn’t consciously or deliberately begun caring for herself or taking the time to do those things she had been longing to do. She had simply been floating along.

Before you ask ‘What’s wrong with floating along?” And before you cry “I’d love to float along, I just don’t have the time!” I’ve got to say the idea of floating along sounds quite lovely to me too and I think we would all benefit from enjoying some floating time now and then. In fact, I think we should make sure to float along from time to time.

If we don’t make time for self-care it won’t happen

The lovely lady at the workshop was onto something; if we leave everything to fate, or the universe or, if we leave it until ‘later’, until we do ‘just one more thing’ or until we have more time, if we simply float along like a leaf in the breeze, we may one day realise we are no closer to where we wish to be. We might even find that we have been going around in circles and have not really moved anywhere at all.

The Cheshire Cat, of Alice in Wonderland fame, had his own wisdom on this topic and counselled Alice: “If you don’t know where you’re going, anywhere will do”.

Given the way our world currently works, it’s rare that we don’t know where we are going, what time we will arrive, how long it will take us to get there and how long we can spend there before we must move on to our next destination.  Pace, structure, time management, forward planning and organisation are all necessary skills to help us navigate the demands of modern life.

We yearn to set our own pace

I’ve got the time management skills for modern living and I bet you do too. I’m also willing to bet that just like me, your soul yearns for the freedom of setting your own pace, following your heart and ending up wherever it leads you.  So how do we float and yet be organised? How do we plan ahead yet  go-with-the-flow? How can we follow our hearts yet also be efficient and on time? And how do we make time for self-care?

The best answer I have is to work on our balance

Some days, balance will mean lots of self-care and the absolute minimum of other tasks (think of days when you are feeling unwell). On other days balance might mean grabbing little moments of self-care whenever possible (think of stopping to eat lunch or drink your coffee instead of doing it on the run) and dedicating most of your time to other demands

You will know what balance you need and are capable of each day.

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Mindful balancing

  1. When you choose to have some ‘floating’ time  be fully present and enjoy the experience, without guilt or feeling idle or selfish
  2. When you are in forward motion and on purpose be fully present to that state and enjoy the experience it offers

Go ahead! Work on your balancing act – float, focus, follow your heart, play,  meet your responsibilities, pursue your vision. THRIVE!

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