Last week, Reese shared with all of you the process she went through for reclaiming her time, setting boundaries and she shared several things about the necessity of self-care. To see what she said was necessary in her self-care process read her post.
Self-care is something we value greatly at the Thrifty Palace and we don’t think people talk about it enough. Self-care is just what it sounds like. It means doing whatever it is that makes you feel loved, fulfilled and well cared for. For the Thrifty Chicks that means starting the day with some quiet time and taking more of that quiet time as needed throughout the day. When we skip that step, there is a 75 percent chance that the day is going to go off the rails.
Self-care for us also means not taking on too much — a very hard task. Reese is writing a dissertation; working a part-time job in Baltimore; one-half of this blogging operation; collaborating with partners in food justice around the country; the chief architect in the thrifty travels; and the first person on the life-line list of many of the people who love her dearly. I am an entrepreneur; freelance writer; the other half of this blogging duo and chief finance coordinator for my mother who has Alzheimer’s. We’re both also active in our church and always looking for opportunities to be active in our community. We’ve clearly got a lot on our plates. We have mile-long To-Do lists just like you.
But somewhere along the way we discovered that we can’t do it all and, in fact, we don’t want to do it all. Sure we make lists, and then we break them into bite size portions so that they are more manageable and accomplishable. We ask ourselves, “What can be accomplished this week?” We even go so far to say, “What do I want to accomplish today?” The Huffington Post’s 12 Things Successful Women Do Differently has a really good point about the To-Do list and 11 other helpful ideas.
We live in a society that values busyness. If you don’t fill every waking second — at work or at play — with some THING, you aren’t doing this THING we call LIFE, right. You’re not productive. You’re not an asset. You’re not adding value to your life or the lives of others.
We beg to differ.
One of our favorite seasoned saints at our church, Ms. Carolyn A., gave some valuable words of wisdom to a young man who is headed off to conservatory this fall. Reese and I were fortunate enough to be around when she was sharing and were blessed mightily by what she had to say. I share this adaption of what she said with you in hopes that her points will bless you real good. Here is my adaptation of Ms. Carolyn’s prescription for success at conservatory (and in life):
1) Find allies for your success. It is an act of self-care to ask for help. Whether it is help with your children, your finances, your parents, your education — whatever situation, circumstance or relationship that is stressing you out and making you crazy — find some allies. Allies help you weather the storms of life. Allies give you breathing room. Allies make your life work. You need them. Stop pretending you don’t.
2) Be nice, but firm. If there is something you need don’t be dissuaded, or even talk yourself out of asking for it. Need time alone? Be nice, but firm. Need a minute to cool off? Be nice, but firm. Need to have a difficult heart-to-heart talk with someone? Be nice, but firm. You see how this works?
3) Schedule your time. Some days 24 hours does not seem like enough time, but how many of us really think about how we spend our time? In “The Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a De-Cluttered Life,” author/blogger Lorilee Lippincott of lovingsimpleliving.com challenges readers to track how they spend their time. And if every second is jammed with stuff it is time to look for ways to simplify. Ms. Carolyn put it this way, “Schedule your time to sleep, to have fun, to study, etc.” Put you on your To-Do list and then don’t miss your appointments with yourself.
4) Know when to say “no.” This is another tough one, but it is the ultimate gateway to self-care. You are one person. The life that you are living right now is the only life you know that you have to give. If you believe in some form of reincarnation, would you want to come back to a life that is filled with demands? Do you want to come back to a life where every day you feel drained? Where you feel that everyone else’s needs come before yours? That is a recipe for resentment. Sometimes you need to say “no” to others and yourself. And if you’re a recovering “yes” addict, start by saying, “not now.” Not now to picking up the phone, when you don’t want to talk. Not now to answering email that can wait. Not now, when you are exhausted and can’t give your best.
There is one last self-care value at the Thrifty Palace and it’s pretty important: Make time to laugh and play. Silliness is a Too Thrifty Chick ministry. Seriously. We crack ourselves up constantly. Reese rollerblades even though she still can’t figure out how to stop because it makes her laugh. I dance across the kitchen floor in my socks like James Brown because I can’t help myself. We hang out with little kids because seeing life through a child’s eyes is the most fun you’ll ever have. We encourage you to make time for whatever you think is fun and makes you feel like a kid again. Laughter and fun is one of the best acts of self-care you can ever practice.