We always aim for the best and try to get everything done to live our best lives. Here is the thing, though - in life… life happens. Things get thrown our way, and we have to adapt. That's ok, and that's what makes life exciting. So, whatever happens during the day or the week, here are my six non-negotiable, do-at-all-cost self-care practices. I schedule them, so I am sure to get them done (usually before anyone is awake.)
I know that without proper sleep, I cannot function. I cannot think, I cannot move, I cannot focus nor be present. Therefore, when I don't prioritize my sleep, everything else goes to the toilet. As a new parent, this has been somewhat of a challenge, but you must find ways to make it work. Going to bed earlier, for example, matching your child's rhythm. Something else I have been doing is taking daily naps instead of lunch breaks. "But I have so many things to do!" Well, sleep is your number one productivity hack. Do you want to get things done better in less time? You need your sleep. Did you know that getting in anything below 7 hours of sleep per day is the equivalent of being constantly a little bit drunk? You cannot be your best as a person, leader, parent, or friend if you are constantly off the wall. Get your Zs in!
You can call it meditation and practice any fancy technique you'd like. What's essential for me is to take a bit of time a couple of times each day, to sit in Peace and look inward. To remind me that I am not my thoughts, to observe my ego, and to find stillness. To realize each day as a brand new discovery, that the self is just but an illusion. I breathe, I experience, and I listen. If you are new to meditation and want to give it a go, I post many meditations on my youtube channel, my podcast, and daily on Patreon.
Every day, I put in a bit of exercise. This is not to have a perfect beach body, but it is something that I need to do to be my best self. I vary my exercises, but I try to combine cardio workouts (running, swimming, rowing, cycling) with some strength training. I also make sure that I stretch twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening when I go to bed. This can be in the form of yoga, or freestyle stretching, with and without props. I have found that stretching every day gives me a new level of comprehension of myself, my body, and, by extension, my soul. It makes me feel connected. Bonus points if you can do any of the above surrounded by nature.
Even if it is just one paragraph while on the toilet, I make it a point to read a little something every day; this feeds my mind and soul. Philosophy is an ever-ending practice and experience. So every morning, I have a set of quotes and reminders that I read to myself and tick as "read." Books that are always on my desk are these:
The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu - Get your copy here
Letters from a Stoic by Seneca - Get your copy here
Discourses and selected writings by Epictetus - Get your copy here
The art of Peace- Get your copy here
Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)- Get your copy here
Coach Wooden's pyramid of success- Get your copy here
These six books are with me at all times on my kindle and my phone, and I have some of them in paper format.
Writing is super important for me, and I write every day. I don't necessarily write publishable content daily, but I do on most days. I write first and foremost for myself and my mental well-being. Sometimes, I find elements in my writing that I feel are worth sharing, so I write in one of my blogs or newsletters. Most of all, writing helps me clarify what I need to do and how I need to prioritize. I am the kind of person that needs to get it down on paper. Every single thing I do, eat, think, and every single idea goes into writing. I have different tools and techniques I won't get into now, but I will write about them another day. Try it for a few days. Write everything down. Someone once said that if your life is worth living, it is worth recording. As a content creator, I feel that if your life is worth living, it's worth sharing, so I write here and there. You don't need to know what to write. Nobody has to read it. You can just start putting your thoughts on a page and see where it takes you.
I have put this last because it is my most important non-negotiable daily self-care practice. It is not only about self-care for myself; in this context, it is vital for me to spend at least a few hours completely present with my wife and my son. Every day, I put time blocks in my calendar that automatically reject any other activity. It helps me tap into new, fresh energy. It is a reminder of why I am on earth. It reminds me of why I do what I do, why I work hard, and why I need to stay healthy and energized. Spending time with them is the most precious thing I have on this earth. Nobody and nothing can get in the way of that.