Updated: Jan 2
Sometimes taking care of ourselves feels like an afterthought, when burnout has set in and you say, "I need to (fill-in the blank)" just to recover. Or, sometimes it feels like a game, trying to escape the real world to go into your world of bliss. Does this equal stress? BINGO!
Question: What if we filled our self-care bank on a daily basis to stave off burnout, at least as much as possible? It is totally possible!
In Ayurveda, the 5000 year-old sister science to yoga, this lifestyle method has a name: dinacharya, which means, "daily routine." Just like we made a point to learn how to brush our teeth everyday to take care of the one set of teeth we get in this life, we can make a point to practice self care daily to take care of the one mind, body, spirit we get in this life.
I approach self care in a very practical way so I can KEEP DOING IT. Self care can seem so unattainable when we're rushing around taking care of everyone, doing things for work, and more. Truth! That's why it takes discipline, or tapas (one of the niyamas, our personal commitments) to keep showing up for ourselves. In the long run, when you're good, you're good for others, too.
Self care doesn't need to mean booking a weekly massage (which can get costly). Self-care is also making a point to express gratitude, which has a ton of health benefits, too! (Read: How to Find Gratitude Everyday!) The key is to create your list of totally do-able practices, and then commit to adding one a day. You can build from there!
Here's a list of other habits you can categorize as self-care:
2 minutes of meditation
listen to your gut or intuition
ask for help
set a boundary
give someone a huge hug
acknowledge someone in your life
recite a positive affirmation or mantra
turn off your phone for an hour
pour your favorite cup of tea and just be quiet without any screens
There are so many more!
Go through what you have in your life already, then move toward what you can integrate. From there, you will have created your own toolkit of self-care, with tools are do-able for a personal dinacharya.
When all is said and done, burnout will happen less, and self-care will sustain. Trust me, I've been there! Daily maintenance is the key to keep you running smoothly and shine like your best self. And, if you fall off the practice momentarily, just start again. Your toolkit is will always be there. Time to build yours!