Updated on December 8, 2019 from October 2019
Too Busy For My Own Self Care
I’ve been too busy. We all get too busy.
In the past few months, I’ve started this blog, quit my job, said goodbye to my dear best friend, and opened my own private practice. My amount of busy might be more or less than yours, but busy is busy, and let’s just say that life has been just that. There have been early mornings, late nights, missed dinners, and more take-out than I’ve had in my entire life.
The thing is, I’m an Intuitive Eating dietitian who focuses largely on a lifestyle that requires self-care. There are days I forget to shower and I can’t remember if I’ve brushed my teeth. My groceries are rotting in my fridge as I speak, and I’ve cancelled my two personal trainer sessions this week because I couldn’t find the time in my day.
This is a pretty common story though, right? You hear of self-care gurus (and I’m far from that) preaching to the masses while working too hard to care for themselves. I like to imagine they have assistants to prep meals, trainers who come to their houses, and write their blogs while taking bubble baths.
I’m not complaining, to be clear. I’ve had the privilege and means to follow my dreams, and I am happily hustling to make them happen. I’m busy in a way that makes my heart flutter, and I would be horrible if I didn’t mention my partner who supports and cheers me on every step of the way. So, I’m not complaining. I’m telling you all of this because…
I’m an Intuitive Eating, self-care dietitian who is neglecting all of it. And, I’m starting to feel the twinge of the fantasy coming back, as I feel the tightening in the waistband of my jeans ever so slightly or the softening of my belly in the mirror. That dieting fantasy where if I just restricted what I ate and worked out a little harder for, like, a month I could get back to the regular body I’ve been neglecting no one would know that I’ve been shoving whatever was convenient into my mouth and skipping workouts.
It is so seductive, right? Society says that thinness is beauty and I want to be a product of what I’m selling. I want to be a face of what Intuitive Eating and self-care can do for you. If I were just a bit thinner…
My Self Care Checklist
I remember the days I used to stick to my trusty self care checklist. It consisted of a few things:
- Going to bed at a reasonable hour
- Morning breathing/meditation
- Reading or journaling
- Yoga or other exercise
- Morning shower/getting dressed (easy to skip when working from home!)
- Nourishing breakfast (I love a hearty breakfast to fuel my morning – no skipping for me!)
- Sometimes, an afternoon walk with an audiobook or podcast
Those were the pillars. My daily self care checklist prepared me for the day, and helped to remind me who I was. It slowed me down just long enough to help me set my daily intentions and goals. For Intuitive Eating, this can he helpful as well. It creates an intentional and mindful mindset to make choices that are best for your body.
What Self Care Is and Isn’t
According to Psych Central self care is an act we do to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can help to improve our mood and even reduce our anxiety. As noted on Psych Central, self care shouldn’t be something that is forced or something we don’t enjoy. We should choose activities that refuel us, and that we enjoy. For example, yoga brings me great joy, but if you hate it – please don’t do it!
Many of us think of self care as selfish. It’s not. Not only is self care a way of using our inner caregiver to help improve our own physical, mental and emotional health, it can actually help our relationship with others as well as our ability to be a caregiver to others. So, if you can’t create that self care checklist for yourself, do it for someone you love.
Creating Your Own Self Care Checklist
Creating time for self care doesn’t actually have to take a lot of time. And I have to remember that myself. I have to remember that just because there are seasons when I have neglected my own self care, I can start back again. And then I remember those thoughts I had about skipping over everything we talked about and instead worrying about that expanding waistline.
And here I catch myself. I remember. I’m not society. Thinness isn’t beauty. I’m just having uncomfortable feelings about my body. I remember that dieting doesn’t even work. I remember that dieting serves to help us gain more weight and put us at a higher health risk. And, I remember that I don’t want to be the kind of dietitian that diets.
Intuitive Eating doesn’t look like anyone’s physical appearance anyway. It looks like becoming aware of your habits, and taking good care of yourself with the principles as a guiding base. I know that I feel my best when I am taking care of myself.
So when we create our self care routines:
- Choose items you want to do. Things that will bring you joy instead of dread; that will refuel your tank.
- Be flexible. Know that you won’t check off every item on your list every day. Your self care checklist is really just a guide; a list of options.
- Consider items such as getting enough sleep, eating foods that fuels your body, moving your body, getting proper healthcare, and enjoying pleasurable daily activities when creating your list.
- Check out this list of self care activities if you need ideas.
Here I Go Again
So here I go again. I know that balance is just a dream, but that I can begin with my check list and add to it with some goals like:
- Stopping work at a reasonable time
- Cooking actual meals at least a few times per week
- Sit down to eat with my partner instead of eating while working
“Intuitive Eating doesn’t look like anyone’s physical appearance anyway. It looks like becoming aware of your habits, and taking good care of yourself with the principles as a guiding base. “
Life isn’t perfect. It will get too busy again, I am sure of it. But, I know that I will always have my self care checklist to go back to whenever I need it.
Niki is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of New Frontier Nutrition LLC. Niki works to help clients create a diet-free life with Intuitive Eating strategies. She lives at home with her partner, two dogs, and three cats.