Being 'boring' creates space
Being a self-care advocate and committing to a month-long awareness campaign has made me think long and hard about what my most important self-care behaviour is. It felt like a tough call to work it out. I do lots of things to care for my emotional and physical wellbeing and they’re all important. And then - a few weeks ago - it hit me. And...I hate to admit it...it’s ‘boring’. But it really is fundamental to my life running smoothly and my mind being at peace.
So, what is this thing that’s so important?...
Planning and organising. See...I told you it was boring! Nothing glamorous or pampering about that.
I just can’t bear the chaos of a disorganised life. I’m a mum, wife, business woman and employee which is a lot to juggle. When I don’t know where I’m going, what time I need to be there, who I’m seeing, what my family’s plans are and what what we are eating this week my life feels exhausting and impossible. And I feel chaotic, out or sorts and out of control. I’m worried that I’m going to miss something really, really important. This isn’t a healthy place for me to be. As a counsellor, I want to be fully present for my clients because they deserve nothing less than that from me. And that’s hard to do if my head is full of clutter!
I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person who finds all this stuff so important. I feel like other people are far more relaxed about
these things than I am. But my self-care depends on knowing what my weeks look like. So I make time to work that out. Once a week (usually a Friday or Saturday) I sit down with a coffee and sort myself out for the following week.
I have various tools that I use to organise myself and my life. They’re not fancy or complicated, but they do the job. And they save my sanity on a regular basis!
I couldn’t function without my diary. It’s a paper diary, even though I’m a pretty online person for other things. I have *one* and I use it for every part of my life - work stuff, personal stuff, notes, reminders, questions I need to remember to ask...it all goes in the same place. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this is the epicentre of my life! Without it, managing everything would be impossible.
This is something I use to keep track of where everyone is and what they’re doing. This also helps remind everyone of what they need and where they need to be (sports kit, haircuts, school trips, packed lunches etc). Of course, the rest of my household aren’t always as enthusiastic about documenting their plans as I am, so this isn’t always foolproof!
This exercise helps my self-care in so many ways. Not only does if help to work out what we’re eating, it also helps us eat more healthily and decide who’s cooking every night. I do it after checking my commitments for the week to see what’s realistic in terms of time and looking to see what we have in the cupboards/fridge/freezer to see what’s already there. So it can also be good for saving some money on shopping. Coming in below the shopping budget is a bonus!
Online shopping account
I’ve decided my life is too short to spend traipsing around a supermarket at the weekend. So for a long time I have been doing my food shopping online. It saves time and money in the long run and definitely feels less stressful than supermarket queues, dodgy trolleys and car parks. My shopping comes to me, usually delivered with a smile and a chat with the delivery driver, and all I have to do is put it away. I’ve worked out this must save me about two hours a week.
Social media scheduling
I enjoy using social media and Tranquillo Counselling’s Facebook page, Twitter feed and LinkedIn page get a lot of engagement (well...for a wee one-woman private practice, anyway). But it can feel like a bit of a pressure to keep up with regular posts, so I’ve just recently taken the advice of the social media marketing experts and started using a scheduling app. This means I can focus on my social media accounts for a concentrated period, taking the daily pressure off thinking about what to post. And that can only be a positive step for my self-care.
So, there they are...my five self-care tools for an uncomplicated life. What are your self-care saviours? Why not share them with me during Selfcare September on:
On Twitter - @me_tranquillo
On LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/toniahiggins