Putting self-care on your To-Do list

The end of the year is nigh! And with it comes a lot of busy work—some fun, some not so fun. Whether it’s personal or professional, the end of the year is about finishing up, taking stock, and making plans. And that’s all before we get into the crush of the holidays. Our To-Do lists can be very long this time of year.

What we often leave off our list is taking time for ourselves. Yet, the crazier life becomes, the more we need to give ourselves space to just be. We need to spend time on our self-care.

You have probably heard the term self-care tossed around, but what is it exactly? It is any activity that we deliberately do to take care of ourselves—mentally, emotionally, and physically. Self-care is time or an activity that builds us up rather than takes away our energy. It is a way to recenter body and mind when we feel scattered and overwhelmed.

When we take the time to be present in ourselves, when we take time for self-care, we can reconnect to the world in a Higher Self way.

Susan wrote, “Centering helps us feel fulfilled. When we are constantly focused on externals, cannot centered. In fact, we are pulled out of our center. We are not focusing on our real points of power and love. We are not aligned—body, mind, and Higher Self.”

How many of us put ourselves at the bottom of our To-Do lists? How many of us think, “When I have the time, then I’ll take care of me”?

Self-care allows us to acknowledge our needs. Making sure we actually do it is a hard thing to do at any time of the year, but December seems to always make it harder. It’s easy to get pulled out of center when there is so much going on.

So how do you find the time? How do you carve out the space? How do you make it part of your routine?

First, revisit your Whole Life Grid, as described in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. At different times of the year, and different times of our lives, we need to review our Grid to make sure that it accounts for the parts of our lives that we are living now. Self-care can be its own square or achieved as part of the Leisure square or Alone Time square if you go by Susan’s suggestions.

The important thing is to fit self-care into your Grid and then commit to it 100%, like each of the other squares.

So how do you do it? What are ways that you can find time for yourself? It can be anything that helps to quiet your mind, that helps to center you, that offers you the chance to connect with your Higher Self and then to the Universe. Does that sound daunting? It shouldn’t. It’s just getting back to the place we should always be living from.

A lot of us have trouble committing to self-care because we find it hard to focus on ourselves when there is so much to be doing every day. When our minds are busy making lists and we’re constantly on the run to do the next thing, it can be hard to give ourselves the space to care for ourselves. In Embracing Uncertainty, Susan created an exercise to help quiet the mind during busy times so we will be able to really be present.

She wrote, “My head was a swirl of clutter, which included thoughts of contracts, deadlines, decisions to be made, and on and on and on. Thankfully, I became conscious of how overloaded my head was. It felt as though there was clutter totally filling my brain, preventing me from seeing, hearing, or doing anything with clarity.”

She then began to think of her head as a snow globe that has been shaken up with all the little flakes swirling around making the scene inside opaque and hard to see. Then she wondered what it would be like if she let her thoughts settle down. “I imagined the swirling clutter as ‘snow’ settling down until my head was totally clear…totally empty. I imagined myself having an empty glass head. Relief, indeed!”

Another way to begin your self-care routine is to schedule a “holihour” into your day. Who has the time to take a whole day—let alone a week—to take care of your mental and physical health? Susan was a self-confessed workaholic and found it hard to take time for herself. “To help myself out, I’ve created the concept of the holihour, a shortened version of the holiday,” she said. “I allow myself at least an hour each day to relax totally. It could mean reading magazines, walking on the beach, or shopping in my favorite mall. This helps greatly in keeping me refreshed in my work. Very often I get some of my best ideas during leisure time, when my mind is not so cluttered.”

What are things that you like to do that make you feel rejuvenated, make you feel centered? What activities make you feel that you are in the present and connected to the whole world? Everyone of us will have a different answer. It might be something active, like taking a walk or going to a gym class, or it might be something quieter, such as meditation, drawing a picture, or watching cat videos. Journaling can be a wonderful way to settle your mind and recenter yourself as well.

Whatever it is that you do to take care of your own mental and physical health, the most important thing is to do it. Putting ourselves second—or even last!—is no way to live a fulfilling, whole life.


  1. Thank You! Taking care of a husband with Cancer and have NOT been taking care of me. Result – got sick. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Susan Jeffers was and still a great inspiration.
    This article just comes in time!
    Thank you very much for being committed, devoted to her legacy..

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