We’ve spent the last couple of weeks focusing on setting goals and thinking about how to achieve them so we can all be primed for success in 2024. Now it’s time to look at one of the most important elements of making your goals a reality: self-care.

It is true that in order to do a good job at anything, you need to put in time and energy. Most of us have multiple commitments that require us to show up—family, work, school, doula clients. Working to fit everything in can turn us into masters of time management without even noticing. (As long as we learn to choose our priorities and not let the priorities choose themselves!) 

When we really need to make sure something is taken care of, we find the time for it. But where do we find the energy? 

If you’re used to a daily routine with a fairly set pattern, you probably know subconsciously how much energy that is going to take and you know how to pace yourself to make sure you can do everything you need to get done. But how much time is left at the end of your day, to let you relax and wind down before bedtime? How much energy do you have left to really enjoy that time? When you wake up in the morning, do you feel refreshed and recharged, or is it a challenge just to get yourself out of bed and back on the rails for another busy day?

As always, everybody’s needs are going to be different. Some people need to make sure they get a good breakfast. Some folks just can’t function without a good eight hours of sleep. Some of us require a nice quiet workspace in order to get into a productive mindset, others need some social interaction to connect with the world and feel ready to go get things done.

And of course, everybody also needs to give themselves a break once in a while to recharge. Even people who thrive by keeping busy every moment can benefit from changing up what they’re busy with—put the work down for an hour and go for a hike, or keep your brain active by solving a crossword puzzle. The important thing is to break out of your routine and give yourself a little time to de-stress. 

This might be an especially important reminder for doulas. We love what we do and we love helping our clients, and it does fulfill us in a lot of ways. If you really love what you’re doing, you may think you don’t need a break. Take one anyway, even just a few minutes every day. This work will fill your heart, but it will deplete your energy. And getting away for a little while lets you come back with new energy and fresh eyes, allowing you to be even more effective at what you need to do.

Whether your favorite way to relax is by taking a bubble bath, listening to your favorite music, or getting a good workout, be sure to make time for it. Taking good care of yourself is how you ensure that you’re bringing your very best when it’s time to meet your commitments to others.

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