And so my definition -- or one of my definitions-- of self-love is planning for the future.
Now I don't mean planning for the next 10 years. Yes, that's important to think about too, but to be honest I'm not quite there yet. I'm referring to planning for this week, or a trip I want to take in the next few months. What do I want to eat for dinner before I run to class after work? What do I want to eat and will be yummy and make me feel good after I eat it? What trip would really serve me well right now? What am I thirsting for emotionally and mentally? Yes, I'd love to do 5 things right now, but what does my mind and body need the most right now, if I had to pick one?
Planning takes time and-- by definition-- needs to be advanced planning. And it may not be something you're used to. When we're young, our day and time is planned for us. We often do not get to choose, unless you're very lucky. Someone often tells you what you're going to wear, to eat, to do all day.
Some of us may not have had great role models of planning when growing up either. That certainly was not a course they offered at my college. I love planning now. OK, I might even be a bit obsessed with it when I get the time. I make time during my commute if I have the energy, or on weekends when I have more clarity. I also like to think during my swims when I just let my mind wander. If, over the course of a week, an idea keeps coming back to me, then I know it’s likely important to me and I should probably make it happen.
1. It's The Small Things
It might seem like what you grab to eat tonight is not important in the scheme of things, but add up 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month, that's 84 things per month that are seemingly not-so-important. What is more important than your health? And what's wrong with treating yourself? I did not grow up with an attitude that treating myself was a good thing. So that's still a hard trend for me to buck. But that just means I have to be aware of it and remember--- what would 'I' like to eat today? What sounds good to me? (My mind and my body?)
2. Plan Your Week
Assuming you work a full-time job like me, and commute, it may feel like you don't have much free time left just for you. But you do! There's the morning before work, and evenings. Have you noticed, when you don't plan your time, it just disappears? Whether it's TV, snoozing your alarm clock, time just flies by! That's totally fine, we all get some slack after a long day at work. But after a few days of this, you might be getting tired of just being tired. And so...
It really does give you energy, as tired as you may be while you're dragging your a-- there. And that includes me. What kind of exercise do you enjoy doing? What is not too hard on your body? Where is it? When works well for you? Before work or after work? How many times a week would you like to go? Or do it at home? How can you set it up so that it's convenient and easy, so that you'll actually do it? Don't start with an overly ambitious goal! Your heart is in the right place, but I have learned that slow and steady is always best. "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon" a wise person told me. (All good things to journal about, by the way, see my note down below!)
Almost all of us are more tired in the morning. Sure, we're tired after a full day at work too. But in the morning you'll be sleepy, hazy, dazed, "huh?" Better to set up as much as you can the night before. Systems! I love systems. Whether it's having a small jewelry bag to bring to the gym with me, so I can put them on while sipping tea in the cafe, or things I lay out on the dining table so I know to grab it in the morning. It even means laying out not just your outfit, but tights, socks, undergarments, jewelry, the night before. My time is of the essence to me in the mornings. You may have more flexibility. Systems are a way for you to make things routine for yourself so that in the moment, you can grab 'n go. You don't have to think. Figure out what is important to you and set up systems around it.
5. Plan Your Evenings
I've been thinking a lot about values, goals, priorities. First of all, they're different which I didn't realize up until very recently. Values are your foundation. They are your core beliefs as to what is most important to you. To figure out how best to spend your time, think about what are your values first. Mine I've realized are Connections, Freedom, and Growth. If you're considering your plans for Thursday night, think about if they fit in into any of your top values. It's best to narrow down to 3 or 5 at most, so you get really clear on what they are. They can always include sub-categories as well. You might think this is getting a bit particular, and sometimes it's totally fine to do something that's a splurge or junk-time. But if you're planning a trip. let's say then it can be a useful exercise.
6. Plan a Self-Getaway
When you're in a couple, this is especially important. Yes, couple time is important certainly. But your own private space and quiet time is just as important. (This is also the perfect time to journal or crack into any of your other favorite creative activities!) As a single person, a different setting can make a huge difference in relaxing your mind or doing some deep reflecting.
Many times I read self-help articles, and I think great! And I go off and forget all about them. How about delving into one of the above and actually put it to practice IRL (in real life)? I am a huge believer of journaling as a way of processing.
First, pick one of the tips above you'd like to delve into. Next, go to my website at www.shiuanbutler.com. Scroll down to the box below and add your name and email. You will then receive a welcome email, welcoming you to a 5 day online journaling course, titled ME TIME: a Journaling Sisters course.
It's a free online course with daily, small, creative activities to practice spending time with yourself. You may get to know yourself better or gain a sense of lightness. Mostly it's to add some creativity and fun in your week!
Sign up at: www.shiuanbutler.com