The term “self-care” is very buzzy right now, and for some reason the whole idea really turned me off at firstI mean, it can sound a little…pretentious? A little too consumer-y? It seemed like a great marketing ploy to get us all to buy expensive night creams.

But then, I started looking around my own life and I realized I was definitely already practicing self-care! It just didn’t look the way it did on Instagram.

Sure, sometimes my self-care means face masks and bubble baths. Sometimes it means a long walk with Millie.

But increasingly, it means ticking nagging to-do’s off my list, showing up to that exercise class I don’t feel like going to, or saying no to an event because I really truly need a night in to do nothing.

These things aren’t what people typically imagine when talking about self-care, but sometimes nothing makes me feel better than finally finishing a project I’ve been putting off so I can free up that space in my brain.  Even if that project is deep cleaning the fridge.

Unglamorous Self-Care

Alisha Ramos talks about the unglamorous self-care list in this article and it inspired me to share my own. Here’s what’s on it today:

  •  Organize under bathroom sink: It’s like the wild west down there right now, stuff is just all over the place and it stresses me out every time I have to dig out my curling wand or a q-tip.
  • Read before bed: Argh I feel SO. MUCH. BETTER. when I read before bed instead of scrolling through Instagram or watching the Daily Show. But for whatever reason it sometimes feels impossible to pick up a book at the end of the day
  •  Meal prep lunches for work: This can be a total pain.I don’t like spending any part of my weekend thinking about work, but I still meal prep on Sundays because I don’t want to be stressed about figuring out a healthy lunch option everyday.
  •  Go to four jazzercise classes a week: I love jazzercise and I always feel great after a class, but does that mean I always want to go to one? Nope! Still, I remember how good I’ll feel once that hour is over and that’s enough to get my butt out the door.

What do these things have in common?

They are all ways I take care of my future self. And for me, taking care of my future self is the number one self care thing I do.

Self-Care For My Future Self

 I want Future Sascha to not be annoyed with the chaos under the bathroom sink. I want her to have a nice wind down before going to sleep and healthy lunches so she can feel her best. I want her to experience the joy that a fun workout brings and I want her to stay in good shape so she can have a long healthy life.

When I reframe tasks like working out or decluttering as self-care rather than yet another thing on my to-do list, there’s a much higher chance I’ll get them done.

I often think about Gretchen Rubin’s quote: “Just because something is fun for other people doesn’t mean it’s fun for me, and vice versa”.  Sure, cleaning out that weird space under the bathroom sink doesn’t sound fun, but I sure will feel happy when it’s finally off my to-do list and that happiness will be replenished every time I have to get something out of there.

There’s a place for the more traditional types of self care: massages, long bubble baths, fancy candles-but there’s also a benefit in expanding self-care to encompass more mundane everyday tasks. The kind that pop into your mind and drive you nuts when you’re just trying to read Abbi Jacobson’s new book in the tub.

By loving yourself enough to tackle those annoying little tasks, you’re giving your future self the opportunity to REALLY relax. The opportunity to live a happier and healthier life.

So what are those little nagging to do’s, the boring habits you want to nail down? What can you take care of today that your future self will thank you for?

(Somewhat) Unglamorous Self-Care Resources

Forever 35 Podcast– Not unglamorous at all. One of my favorite podcasts ever, it’s like hanging out with your two new best friends. 

Trello– for organizing your life

Plan To Eat – the shopping list and meal planner I’ve used for years

Tally – I use this to track my habits and to-do’s, like reading before bed, taking my vitamins, or drinking water

YNAB (You Need A Budget): Love yourself enough to get your money life together. I’ve used this program for over five years and it has given me such a major sense of peace around my finances

Planners: Along with Google calendar, I use a few other physical planners to keep track of my days and other miscellaneous stuff. I still like writing things down and get a lot of satisfaction from checking off my to-do’s on paper rather than just in deleting them from an app.

  • This day planner from Moleskine
  • One of these notebooks which I attach to the back of my planner with a binder clip and treat sort of like a bullet journal.
  • This Productivity Planner by Intelligent Change. I just started using this but so far really like it. I’ll do a more in depth post on my experience after it’s been in the rotation for a few more weeks.