The Self Care Salad Bar

Self care. So important, yet so easy to forget. When life gets in the way, the weeks fly by and all of a sudden you wonder why you feel so burned out. This can be due to lack of proper self care.

In this article I will go through a simple trick that you can implement in your planning and daily routine, and I call it the Self Care Salad Bar.

The idea is that you book a self care session every week in your calendar so that you don’t get to say you didn’t have time.

If you are an introvert over thinker like me, you probably need two sessions a week to help you take care of yourself and clear your mind space. We introverts tend to take on other people’s feelings and judgements way too much, so self care is crucial for us. But it is necessary for everybody.

So how do you create a “self care salad bar”, as suggested above?

Here’s the three step process that I used:

1. Write a list of things you enjoy.

The first thing you want to do is write a list of everything that you enjoy. Examine what you enjoy the most. Your result might differ from mine or anyone else’s.

Write a list of things that you really enjoy. It can be the smallest things like the smell of coffee in the morning. Try to come up with as many items on the list that you can think of.

Try to go back to your childhood. What did you enjoy when you were eight years old? Maybe you loved painting, but never can seem to find the time to paint now. Put that on the list. Maybe you liked to climb trees when you were a child. Put that on the list.

We are so conditioned to believe that self care has to be a certain way. And it sure has to cost a lot of money, otherwise it can’t be self care, right? Wrong. There are so many enjoyable things you can do that doesn’t cost you anything. Enjoying the sun. Take a walk. Those things.

There are other things that might cost a bit of money but are crucial for your wellbeing. Dinner with friends, work out at the gym, buying a scented candle, yoga class. Things like that. Write them down on the list as well.

It is important that you write a list of things that you really enjoy for yourself, not what you think you should want or what other’s expect you to enjoy. Many mothers fall into this trap since they don’t want to prioritize their own self care over their children’s needs.

This is an illusion though. If you aren’t able to put yourself first sometimes, your kids will suffer nonetheless. So it’s important that you listen to what you want when you write this list.

2. Put the items in categories.

When you’ve written your list, see if you can to put the items in different categories. For example:

  • Body care
  • Health & fitness
  • Mental
  • Spiritual / existential
  • Creative
  • Clear out cluttered space
  • Reading / writing

etc. You get the idea.

You now have a “menu” of items that you can pick from. Take a look at the list again. Maybe you can think of further items to add to the list once you’ve jotted down the categories.

3. Schedule time in your calendar to execute 1-2 menu items each week.

Now it’s time to schedule self care into your calendar. This is not negotiable. It has to go into your calendar every week.

I would suggest at least 1-2 hours a week, but preferably more. Our lives are very different from each other, and what works for one person doesn’t work for someone else. But try to schedule at least 1-2 hours every week for pure self care.

The beauty of this is that now you have a long list of items, a menu, or a “Self care salad bar” to pick from every week. Try to vary the items from week to week so that you can try it all eventually and see what really does it for your wellbeing in the long run.

My top three tips for self care:

These are my all time high top three self care items that I do every day as a part of my morning routine:

  1. Keep a daily journal
  2. Meditate
  3. Do something creative

Ok, so to sum this up:

  1. Write a bulleted list of everything you can think of that sparks joy.
  2. Put the items in loose categories (optional)
  3. Schedule at least 1-2 sessions a week and pick 1-2 items of your choice from your list.

Related articles:

How the morning pages changed my life
How to take care of your mind garden

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