Forget “self care.” Instead, put yourself first.

background-board-book-733854It only take a few minutes on Instagram to realize that “self care” is a thing. Typically espoused by women, and often involving candles, crystals, and/or bath products, it’s the latest concept meant to save us from modern stress and anxiety. Take a break for yourself, it says. Smudge some sage, howl at the moon, dry brush your skin. Spend some time on you.

Sure, self care is a way of taking a break and reminding yourself that you matter. It’s a means to compensate for the pressures we face every day, whether they are societal, familial, or entirely self-imposed. (Hollah if you’re three for three!)

The only problem is that self care is indeed restorative, but it is not curative. It’s a temporary fix. You’re still stuck in the game, day in and day out, always playing catch-up with yourself.

Instead of self care, I’m taking a different approach – something that is more akin to the “pay yourself first” theory of personal finance. I have a few things that seem to keep me sane, happy(ish), and healthy: exercise, stream of consciousness writing, and meditation. These are not particularly earth shattering practices. I didn’t invent them, nor are they very difficult to do. They are, however, easy to talk yourself out of at the end of a workday when all you want to do is curl up under a blanket and binge watch Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Here’s the trick I’ve found: it’s harder to talk yourself out of something if it’s at the top of your list. So I tackle my “personal wellbeing list” as soon as I get up in the morning (but after coffee – I mean, I am human after all).  That way, no matter how crazy my day gets, no matter what dumb thing happens at work, I know I’m not sacrificing the things that really matter to me. I have literally put myself first and invested my most precious commodity – my time – in myself before anything else. So when all the bullshit comes down, which it inevitably does, I receive it with a bit more fortitude.

Try it and let me know what you think! What are the things that keep you sane?

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