priority /prʌɪˈɒrɪti/ noun
Life in the twenty-first century is busy and demanding. It feels as if the world never stops and that no matter how hard one tries, one will always miss out on something. Often, it feels as if we are being pulled in hundreds of directions all at once. There are so many tasks that demand our attention, and demand it now. It is the age of immediate action and instant gratification.
The reality is, there is only so much you can do. You are one person, with one brain and two hands. You simply cannot do everything. This doesn’t mean you are weak or inadequate. It simply means you are human. So please, don’t be disheartened by this. In fact, the earlier you realise this, the better for you, and those you interact with. Something I’ve had to learnt the hard way is that it is better to do fewer things, and to do them really well. Quality over quantity, my friends.
So, next time you start feeling overwhelmed by the many tasks you seem to be drowning in, might I suggest you try something new. Take a step back, get out some paper and make a good old-fashioned list or “brain-dump”. Seeing the contents of your mind on paper may surprise you, particularly when you see how many tasks aren’t quite as urgent as they may feel.
Your time and energy are your most precious commodities. Don’t underestimate the value of them, and don’t give of them too freely. Also, make sure you leave enough of them for yourself. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Self-care is an integral part of living a more intentional life. Its not all about eating chocolate cake or spending a small fortune at the spa (although those things can be a lovely treat too). Its about carving out time once a day, or once a week to care for yourself – its important to keep your well-being on track. Its easy to slip into a daily routine of chaos with little room for unwinding. Going to bed late, waking up early, eating food that doesn’t nourish us and not resting and exercising enough can leave us feeling exhausted, sort of like a bicycle tyre with a slow puncture. At some point, we need to wake up, and realize that if we don’t take some time to patch it up, we’ll be left feeling completely deflated.
Having some time each day or even just once a week to practice self-care isn’t all that hard. It doesn’t have to be long, complicated or expensive. Just something that gives you a little lift. Its an intentional action of caring for yourself. Here are a few of my favourite ways to practice self-care.
- Listen to your body. Some days, you’ll be full of energy. Other days, not so much. I find that on days when I feel completely fatigued, doing a high intensity workout leaves me feeling dizzy and ill rather than refreshed and happy. On those days, rather do some stretching and low intensity exercising. And remember, rest days are just as important.
- Sleep in. No amount of exercise and healthy eating can replace the healing, restorative properties of a good night’s sleep, so make sure you’re getting enough of it, and have a sleep-in day when you get the chance. Try switching your phone off before bed too. You’ll be surprised by how much more refreshed you feel in the morning.
- Try a face mask. Or a foot soak. Anything you enjoy that gives you some zen time to just breathe and let your sole task (no pun intended) be relaxing.
- Quiet time. Relating back to the previous point, introvert or not, anyone can benefit from a little quiet time spent alone reading, meditating, painting or even sipping some tea, with a lovely candle lit. Heard of hygge? Its a vibe.
- Digital Detox. Its good for your eyes, and your soul. Try it and see how free you’ll feel.
I hope you take some time this year to prioritize your well-being and practice some self-care. And as a little visual reminder, I’ve created art print that you can download and print out for your wall, or set as your phone lockscreen.
PS: Curious about minimalism, self-care and slow, intentional living? Here are some pieces I’ve written on these topics:
Lately 04 / Minimalism
Slow: What’s The Rush?
Zen / Morning Rituals
5 Ways to Live a Little Lighter This Year
Slow Living / Bedtime Rituals
Summer Break / Rest + Heal