“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” Katie Reed  

You’ll probably have heard the phrase ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ and it is so true .  When you start taking proper care of yourself, you’ll feel better and it will shine through from the inside to the outside, so you’ll look better too.  You’ll also feel so much stronger, and it’ll be easier to  look after your loved ones and tackle that to do list.  It all starts with YOU.

We live in such a crazy busy world with full schedules – juggling work, family and social lives, and there can be days when it just feels so overwhelming!  If you’ve seen the second Sex and the City movie, you’ll remember when Charlotte had to shut herself in the cupboard for 5 minutes to have a little cry, and get herself together.  Hands up who has been there?!

We can get so hectic managing long to-do lists, and looking after everyone else, that one of the first things that often falls down the list of priorities is our own self-care, and more often than not, it can drop right off the list altogether. We tell ourselves we’ll start talking better care of ourselves tomorrow, or next week.  

But what if you promise to make time for yourself today, and more importantly you keep that promise?

I want to set you a small challenge;  for the next  30 days, I want you to make time and space for yourself every single day.  Even if it is just 30 minutes – and those are broken into 2 x 15 minute slots throughout the day. I want you to do something that will bring you joy and re-energise you so that you feel much more ready to take on the world – or at least that to-do list!  Grab a pen and paper, or use the notes in your phone – whatever works for you – and make a list of at least  5 things you LOVE to do.  These should be things that make you happy and soothe your soul, where you can put down your phone and forget the world for just a moment in time.  It can be something really simple such as curling up with a book, a lovely hot bath, sitting out in the garden peacefully enjoying  a cup of tea or glass of wine, or going for a walk either on your own or with a friend. You could listen to a podcast, watch some Netflix , get your nails or hair done, take a class or do a workout.  It’s always good to catch-up with a friend – especially one that is guaranteed to make you laugh and helps brings sunshine to your life.  Make your list and then see how you could incorporate these activities into your day/week/month.  And some days, perhaps you can even manage to  get 2 x 30 minutes of ‘you’ time slots during the day. 

Why not make a playlist of songs you love that are guaranteed to get you dancing around the living room, or that make doing housework more fun (though admittedly when I do this, the housework takes twice as long !) Just moving your body will help you feel so much better physically and mentally!

For the past 9 years I have been building my health and fitness  business, and a lot of this was alongside a full-time job, so life was pretty hectic juggling the two with very little time off. Last November I launched my business full-time which was pretty scary, but I made a promise to myself to make sure to enjoy a little down time every week.  It’s not always easy, my days can be long, and I’m always on the move. But I try as much as possible to switch-off each night.  I make the effort to read every day because I really do love that little escape – even if it’s just as I have a cup of tea during the day, or before I go to sleep at night.  It’s something I love to do, so I make it part of my routine.  If it’s important to you, you will find a way.  

One of the main things I hear from my clients who are mums, is the guilt they feel for taking the time for themselves .  However in order to look after everyone else, it really does all start with taking care of yourself, so please don’t see it as being ‘selfish’; it’s necessary so that you can be the best mum, wife, friend, daughter etc you can  be!  My classes are filled with women just like you, constantly juggling so many plates, but once they see how much better they feel taking the time  to come to class, they realise it’s actually like a form of therapy for them, and go home feeling so much better.  Our Pilates classes always end with a relaxation section, and I think some people like this bit the best – the 5 minute nap in peace!

Check out my Little Mis-Fit Self-care Checklist to see how many you can tick off each day over this next month, and realise how much better you feel after the 30 days.  Hopefully by then it has become a habit and something you will continue with.

I would love to hear how you get on – so come say Hi over on Instagram @littlemisfitjojo  or Facebook @lilmisfit1.

Joanne is a fitness and Pilates instructor who loves reading, chocolate buttons and make-up. She took a leap of faith and followed her passion, to spread a little sunshine, and help others find calm amidst the chaos of life.