Balancing Self-care with Responsibility

I think I’ve taken on too much.

Adult me wants to throw a tantrum. I want to just sit in my bed and do mindless things like catch up on Elementary*. Or maybe even read a non-fiction book.

Sometimes I get this way when there are so many things going on in my life at one time. It feels like too many changes happening and there are so many decisions I have to make.

It just so happens that I’m updating this blog at the same time my boyfriend and I are looking for a new place to live. And I’m also getting ready (or attempting to get ready) for this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. I’ve recently changed my work schedule and have signed up for several writing workshops in the next couple months.

And not to mention I was involved in a car accident this past Friday as I was leaving work which only added to my stress.

It’s moments like these when I remember how important self-care is to my sanity. But it’s also important that I continue to push forward to accomplish my dreams and goals. So, how do I find balance between taking care of my mental state and my responsibilities? And is there really such a thing as balance?

I’m learning that I don’t have to do it all in a day; there are some things that can wait. I’m also learning how to mitigate the impact of feeling stressed out and frazzled. Self-care for you may be different than self-care to me, but there are 3 essential things I feel I need to do to maintain my sanity while also moving forward.

The first form of self-care that has been a tremendous help to me is writing things down. My planner (pictured below) has recently become my best friend. I write things down so that I don’t forget and also so I’m not constantly asking myself, “What did I need to do again?” If you’re wondering how writing things down is me practicing self-care, it allows me to not have my mind filled with so much junk, thereby helping me with maintaining a calmer mental state.

Actual pages from my planner

It’s extremely helpful for me to see what I haven’t done yet and then I can determine if it’s something I have to do immediately, something I want to get done but can’t get done yet, or if it can wait until the more pressing things are done.

For instance, with moving there are many things I can’t do yet such as transferring the electric, updating my mailing address, or selling our washing machine and dryer because we haven’t yet solidified a place and we still need to wash our clothes.

And because there are things that I can’t do yet, it allows me to breathe and take that extra time to focus on what actually needs to get done now instead of stressing over things that need to get done eventually.

A second essential for me is meditation. My morning routine consists of getting up when the alarm rings (no snoozing), using the bathroom, then opening my Insight Timer app to meditate. The app is great for beginners and allows me to have an option of guided meditations, music, ambiance, or just a timer with an ending bell. This time in the morning is me taking time for me before I give my time to other things or people. In as little as 5 minutes, I am able to start my day off with gratitude and become focused on my intentions for the day before I go galavanting off into the wild.

The last form of self-care, unfortunately, is one that I too often stop doing when I’m feeling stressed: exercise. I know that I feel better when I do it and that I am honoring my body, but it can be too easy to tell myself that I’m too tired and not do it. And, honestly, wanting to put off working out is one of the first signs that I need to stop and take a look at what’s going on in my life. And like meditation, working out for a short time, just 10 minutes, gives me those feel-good chemicals that help combat a hectic life.

Self-care doesn’t have to be bubble baths and massages (although those things are amazing). Self-care can be the little things that you do for your health and sanity, on a consistent basis, even with the crazy world swirling around you.

So maybe it’s not quite a balance. Maybe it’s finding calm when the waves come crashing in.

*As of this writing, I’m all caught up.


Today’s featured song is one of my favorite early 2000 feel-good songs:

“New Shoes” by Paolo Nutini

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