We all experience times in life when things get busier than usual. Some examples include:
- Buying or selling a house, moving
- Having a baby (or babies, as in the case of my friends!)
- A new job, change in an existing job, quarter or year-end, etc.
- A change in a family member’s health that requires special care taking
- Travel (vacations, personal, or business-related)
In these busy times it can be easy to rationalize how taking back the 30 minutes or hour one spends on self-care could help make life easier. How many things you could do in that time! Things you could cross off your “to-do” list to make you feel less stressed out or anxious. There will always be a part of your mind that tells you to skip your yoga class, that you don’t have time to meditate, that you don’t have the luxury of taking a walk or a nap. And, there is likely the part of your mind (or even your body!) that reminds you just how good you feel when you do your self-care activity consistently.
Which Voice Wins?
I recently picked up Michael Singer’s “The Untethered Soul” again. In it, he describes the voices in our heads: specifically, how they are often in an argument with each other. When external, conflicting information is difficult enough (e.g. one diet says to eat something and another says don’t). When the conflict is inside ourselves, how do you know which voice to trust? They’re both you!
Well, it’s simple: neither of the voices are ACTUALLY you–even the one you think (or feel) is truly correct. “You” are the one who has the capacity to watch all these voices inside argue back and forth.
Stop Listening, Start Doing
As such, it does no good to listen to any of the voices that argue about where your time is better spent. When you know you’re about to hit on a busy period, devote yourself more fully to your rest and self-care activities. Preserve the time on your calendar like you’d keep your child’s doctor’s appointment. Honor this time as you would helping a family member in need.
The Importance of Doubling-Down
If the voice that’s encouraging you to spend your self-care time in other ways is strong and you can’t seem to recognize it as something you should ignore (because hey, we all get caught up in our self-talk from time to time), here are 4 reasons why being more committed to yourself will help you:
- You’ll maintain or build your stress resilience–hopefully I don’t need to reiterate all the negative health consequences of chronic stress! However, one of the unique side-effects of feeling stressed is that we can perceive that time as moving faster than it actually is! Feel like there isn’t enough time in a day? Induce a relaxation response and more time may seem to magically open up!
- You’ll encourage refreshing sleep–it’s easier to fall and stay asleep when you have downshifted your energy at some point throughout the day. You need your sleep to be efficient so that you can be sharp during the day.
- Your body may recover better from increased (or decreased) physical activity–When we’re busy, we’re typically less mindful about how we’re holding or using our bodies. Traveling requires sitting in closed quarters; in working long hours at the computer, we’re likely to forget our posture; preparing for a move can require unusual feats of strength with boxes, etc. If you suffer from a chronic illness or injury, self-care can mean the difference between a flare up (or not), as well as the intensity and duration of it.
- Maintain mental clarity & make better decisions–Without adequate rest breaks, busy times leave us feeling scattered, panicked, pulled in 50 different directions at once. We’re often making many decisions throughout the day, and we may not have the time we’d like to properly think them through. From choosing what to eat for dinner to negotiating contract terms, you want have a calm AND alert mind!
A Word About Self-Care Activities
Self-care activities need not take up hours or require you to be still! Not sure what you can do in 5-15 minutes windows? That’s my specialty! Sign up for the next Self-Care Challenge and get lots of ideas and support as you practice! Or, schedule your complimentary conversation to learn more about coaching.