If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Failure to plan is a plan for failure. However, you want to say it, the meaning remains. When we do not properly prepare, we falter. In school, work, relationships, home buying, finances, retirement and vacationing when we do not plan accordingly, the outcome is often not as good as it would be had we properly planned. The same is true for our mental health. When we do not plan time for self-care or self-improvement, we tend to struggle in those areas.
Let’s talk about two people, Jenny and Lisa. Jenny schedules herself some self-care time every Sunday. Every Sunday she takes a long shower where she gives herself a deep conditioning treatment and exfoliates, gives herself a manicure and pedicure, plans her outfits for the week and then cuddles up and reads her favorite book while sipping her favorite drink. She also incorporates intentional acts of kindness to herself throughout the week such as workouts, healthy meals and time with friends. She takes her self-improvement as seriously as her self- care. She is reading at least one book a month on self-improvement, has weekly therapy and is part of her religion group’s small groups where she gains community and accountability. She serves monthly at the local shelter to ensure she gives back to her community. Jenny still has rough days but because she has all of her self-care and self-improvement strategies planned out and scheduled in her week, she is able to move through the rough days fairly well.
Lisa, on the other hand, does not like structure and believes that if self-care is scheduled then it is not self-care but merely an action item on a to-do list. So, she has great intentions of working out regularly but because she does not put it on her schedule or have a plan for which days she works, looks up on Friday and realized she has not worked out yet this week, despite her fancy workout club membership. She is also really tired after her week because she did not properly fuel her body due to eating on the go and having quick meals in between her busy over booked schedule. She was out late with friends multiple nights and the other nights binge watched Netflix as “self-care”. She occasionally reads a helpful article or book on self-improvement and has great intentions to implement what she has learned but because she did not plan on how to implement what was learned, quickly forgets it and moves on to the next thing.
Let’s face it, most of us are like Lisa. We view our nightly Netflix binges as self-care and our nights out with friends as a way to rejuvenate. While those very well may be occasional acts of self-care, they may also be hindering us as well. Just think about it, do you feel more energized and ready to conquer life after your T.V. binge or more tired and lethargic? Do you feel excited to wake up the next day after a long night with friends or groggy and unmotivated? On the other hand, how do you feel after taking care of your body through a healthy meal and quality sleep? What about after a good therapy session (okay, maybe not right after…)?
What if we just change one aspect of our week to focus on fueling ourselves? Perhaps that is meal planning, planning our workouts, being intentional about small ways to nurture ourselves throughout the day or scheduling a therapy session. Today I challenge you to find one way to plan your self-care and self-improvement for the week. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
Jocelyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor and course creator who desires to help clients heal and grow into who God created them to be.