Self-Care Sunday: Tackle Your To-Do's
Happy Self-Care Sunday, Daily Life fam!
I love my self-care rituals, and I like to think that I am great at self-care. But the self-care that I’m great at isn’t always the self-care I actually need.
So, here’s my (potentially) unpopular opinion:
Sometimes, Self-Care Means Doing Stuff That Sucks
To put it bluntly: You’re a grown-up. You have to take responsibility for taking care of yourself, and a lot of times that means doing things you don’t want to do. All the bubble baths, face-masks, naps, massages, and glasses of wine in the world aren’t going to solve your problems. You have to do that.
Part of nourishing your relationship with yourself is learning to kick your own butt when you’ve been putting off a chore for too long or when you’ve just found yourself sinking into laziness and apathy.
For me, dealing with depression and anxiety often makes my days seem slow, long, blurry, and heavy. But, if I can find the energy to tackle at least one or two to-do’s (however tiny) on my very worst days, I’ve proven myself a lot stronger and more capable a person than I thought I was just minutes before I pulled up my bootstraps and got the thing done.
It’s the little victories that count on the tough days. So, here are 5 little victories you can claim for your Self-Care Sunday this week:
1. Make Your Bed
Think of making your bed as a little self-love Act of Service that you’re doing for yourself later in the day. It’ll take you less than 2 minutes and improves the energy of your bedroom. Also, open up those curtains! Let some sunlight into your space.
If you have the extra time, change your bedsheets and throw them into the wash. There are few things that feel better than climbing into a freshly clean and made bed at the end of the day. Trust me.
2. Do Your Laundry
Laundry is great because you have to do it in steps - which means you can take breaks! On a day off, make time to get your laundry done. Throwing everything in the wash will take you no more than 5 minutes and then you can go take a Netflix break if you really want to for like an hour until it’s time for the dryer. And then you can take another break!
When it’s time to fold and hang your clothes (definitely my least favourite part), throw on a podcast to listen to. It’ll make the process go by faster and you’ll probably get to laugh and learn something. Or, if you’re a Virgo, challenge yourself to the Konmari method. Whatever gets the job done.
3. Prepare & Eat a Meal
It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be 3 courses. It doesn’t have to be the picture of perfect nutrition. But you have to eat, and the cooking process doesn’t have to be a draining experience (and it shouldn’t be).
I have many friends who have found cooking to be a very effective self-care method. One friend described cooking for himself as an “indulgent” experience; the act of devoting time to making a nourishing meal just for himself is an important part of how he cares for himself.
So many people, including myself, have a complicated relationship with food and eating. Especially for people who struggle with mental illness or eating disorders, nutrition is often something that gets ignored or mistreated, deliberately or accidentally.
Try to set aside even just half an hour to prepare a dish you really love. For me, that’s making breakfast for dinner. If you’re stumped, think about the comfort foods you loved as a child and go from there.
4. Try the 10-Minute Tidy
This is a routine I do every single day - it’s become a habit for me. Every evening right before bed, I set a timer for 10 minutes. For those 10 minutes, I tidy something. There’s always at least one thing you can clean up quickly and it’s a great little productive note to end your day on.
Take out the garbage. Load and start the dishwasher. When 10 minutes is up, pat yourself on the back and head for bed. You’ll sleep easier and you’ll wake up to a much less cluttered space the next day.
5. Mindful Walking or Meditating
I’ll say it: I don’t like meditating. I don’t do it that often. I feel unproductive, and I’m not about trying to force myself into self-care that doesn’t work for me.
But, what I have learned is that it is possible to achieve something similar to a meditative state by practicing “mindful walking,” something I learned about from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames.
At least once a day when I’m walking somewhere (even a short distance), I try to practice walking mindfully. This means dropping all other thoughts and focusing my full attention on walking, just for the length of time it’ll take me to get where I’m going. I focus on the feeling of my feet against the ground, my breathing, how each toe feels as it hits the floor, how heavily I’m walking, my pace. I don’t try to alter anything about what I’m doing, I just become totally sensorily absorbed in the experience of walking and let my mind rest for a few minutes. Doing this throughout the day a few times means I get the mental benefits of meditation without having to feel like I’m slamming on the breaks of my own life.
The Most Important Thing is to Start
I once read that everything seems impossible until it’s done. It’s true! You can and will make progress - you just have to start.
One little step forward is more than enough. If taking one step zaps all the energy you have today, great work! Take a break and get back at it again tomorrow. But, you just might find that one step generates a lot more forward-momentum than you expected.
Related Article: Self-Care Sunday: How to Start the Week Anxiety-Free