I know that you have heard a lot about self-care. And we all love the special things in life, be it a bath at home or a spa day out.
But today I’d like to speak to you about an intentional and easily-overlooked step of self-care: The Check-In.
How often do you find yourself busy, busy, busy….going to work, paying the bills, feeding the cat, taking the kids to dance school, and then…all of a sudden, you can’t remember the last time you did something nice for yourself?
Or perhaps you find yourself in a rut. Maybe you do some things to take care of yourself so that you don’t burn out, or get fully overwhelmed, but it’s just…same old, same old. Maybe you need a refresh. Some new ideas.
Let’s talk today about The Check-In! The Check-In is the step in self-care where you just get intentional about evaluating your self-care. What do you do to refuel, refresh, and care for your soul?
After all, how can you love others if you don’t even love yourself?
In this article, I’ll be referring to times of self-care as “down time”; not as in, mentally down and out, or sadness, but literally if work and productivity is “standing up” then “down time” is the relaxation, the breath, the ability to let go and rest.
The Check-In portion of the process is taking inventory of your self-care: how do you value it? How do you protect it? And how do you grow it?
Value Your Down Time
We care for what we value. Do you value yourself?
I know this can be a hard truth to delve into, and I’m not asking you to go into a deep place of reformatting. Today, let’s just start with a less painful place: how we care for ourselves.
I certainly hope you practice basic hygiene! But what about the more optional ways to value yourself? We tend to spend time and money on what we value. Where do you spend your time and your money? Is it hard to spend either for yourself?
My friend, you are just as valuable as anyone you spend either time or money on. If you don’t value your own self, who will do it for you? It’s time to step up and spend your down time well.
I suggest you inventory the ways you spend your own resources on others, and then make a list for yourself. Is there a way that you could do for yourself what you don’t invest in for you, but always do for others? For example, maybe you take a set of coffees or treats in to work or your child’s classroom once a month. Yet, you don’t buy one for yourself, or you skip it when offered other’s contributions. Why? Good health is one reason, but why not do one you can?
If you are a dog owner, you know you take your dog for a walk. But if your dog didn’t beg you for their daily exercise, would you do it for yourself? Shouldn’t you do for you what you’d do for a pet?
If you continue to struggle with this question, you may need a book, therapist, or honest conversation with a trusted friend or spouse about why this is a difficulty, and what it might look like to value your own well-being.
You are worth it.
Protect Your Down Time
We protect what is valuable to us. Do you protect your self-care?
Now, I’m not talking about excuses. If you’ve known me very long-or my team- you know that I am a hard worker, and I am all about being productive, making sacrifices, and putting others before self.
Today we are talking about when you’re not living a selfish lifestyle, but do you have trouble protecting your own personal down time? If you’re having trouble with protecting it, that means that you’re having trouble prioritizing it.
Which means it’s time now, today, to daily prioritize your down time!
That may mean communicating with others. It may mean a new accountability app, person, or even a journal log that has a daily date at the top.
Whatever you choose, it’s worth t
Grow Your Down Time
If, like some of my clients, you never take time for yourself, you may need to start small. Take five minutes to just pause.
But after you have built a habit of five minutes, you can grow your self-care habit. I coach overworked, overstressed, and overanxious women to live their lives more wholly and fully. And I have seen a client go from barely taking five minutes a day for herself to planning whole afternoons!
You can do this too.
If your volume of downtime is maxed out already, you can also grow it in quality.
We all have seasons of change. Sometimes we are into one hobby, then we try a new one. As we get older, we may pick up again an activity we’d done or a book we’d read a long time ago. These are simple ways to grow your downtime and pour back into your empty-feeling self.
I encourage you to take time to inventory yourself this week. How do you value your self-care time? How do you protect it? And how can you grow it?
For the month of February, don’t miss my free Love Challenge! I give you a daily step to take to practice new or forgotten methods of self-care, and in 2024, it includes 29 steps for the leap year! Join us on Facebook or Instagram with #februarylovechallengewithhannah and let’s start a new month of not just a day for romantic love, but a day to learn to love ourselves so that we can give love more freely from a full place of self-acceptance, healthy protection, and increasing growth for the future.