Why I Schedule Self-care and Why You Should too

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Before I had children, self-care wasn’t something I thought about. If my nails looked ragged, I got a manicure or pedicure. If my upper lip hair was transforming into a mustache, I got it waxed. If I was having a rough day and didn’t feel like cooking, I didn’t cook, and we ordered in. I had weekly drinks or dinner with friends and colleagues. I worked past 6PM on some nights. I didn’t even know there was a definition for taking care of myself. It was just something I did.

Naturally, that all changed when I became a mother. When I became a parent, my schedule evolved around my daughter’s schedule. In the beginning, I had a hard time finding time for any of the self-care activities I used to do on a whim. Seven years later with much trial and error (and a second child), I have figured out how to fit in self-care activities: I schedule it, and you can too.

Initially, I groaned at this notion of scheduling self-care or “me-time” activities. Why should I schedule or calendar yet another thing?  Scheduling self-care seemed frivolous. I always told myself that I would “get to it later.” “Later” turned into months. I prioritized other activities, like taking care of the home or taking on a work project, over myself. Sound familiar? 

After a few years of asking permission for time and feeling a little resentful for not being able to make those self-care activities fit into my life, I began to wonder if there was a better way to fit time for me. Why should I wait until my schedule is absolutely clear to do something for me? If I can schedule work trips, play dates, and doctor’s appointments, I can schedule time for me. It was my eureka moment!

The first step I took in scheduling my self-care time was to look at my schedule, really look at it, even the weekends. And guess what? I found time. I had the time all along. I just didn’t think to use any of it for me.  As mothers or parents, we don’t think to. For me, the reason was guilt-related; I’ve always dealt with some form of guilt: “mom guilt,” “adult- child guilt,” and “adult-sister guilt.” The guilt was paralyzing at times, because it prevented me from taking care of my own needs.

A task/issue for someone else took precedence over anything I had for myself. In doing so, I resented the time I didn’t have for me. So, I started small, with scheduling a daily walk to get lunch and booking my first bikini wax. When those appointment reminders popped up on my computer screen or phone, I took those appointments as I did any other appointment. It took a few appointments for the scheduling to not feel weird. But it felt so GOOD to schedule something for me and get it done.

The next step I took was to stop asking permission to do self-care activities. Rather than ask for permission to do an activity (Would it be okay…), I now say, “I need to do …how does my schedule look”? I ask my husband for help if the appointment affects our joint schedules. Changing the wording around scheduling my own self-care helped me prioritize that time like I do everything else. 

The last step was to keep at it and make self-care a habit. Having self-care time shouldn’t be an occasional activity. It should be a daily one. When we take care of ourselves, we take better care of those around us. This year, with the encouragement of my boss, my spouse, and some fabulous moms, I made my biggest self-care commitment to date: I changed my diet and started running. I completed my first 10K race a few weeks ago, and I am thinking about signing up for another one. 

Scheduling and prioritizing self-care has helped me be the best at what I do in all the hats I wear. I champion scheduling self-care with all my mom-friends, because they need to know it can be done. Just as we prioritize our work, our families, and our spouse, we should prioritize ourselves. After all, as the L’Oréal commercial goes, “[we’re] worth it.”

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Jeanne is a married, full-time working mom with an MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University and BA in Communications from San Francisco State University. She is an Associate Director of Sales for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and loves that her career enables her to promote the city she loves. Jeanne and her husband Daniel live in San Francisco with their two daughters, Ilse and Alice. When Jeanne is not working, writing, or volunteering at Ilse's school, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and cooking from her collection of cookbooks (70 and growing) while sipping Hudson Bay Bourbon. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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