How I Learned That Self-Care is a Discipline


The year 2022 taught me that self-care is a discipline. Not just a manicure and pedicure. I went through some big changes over the past couple of years — including having a baby at the height of the pandemic in April 2020 — and starting a new job in January 2022 after a long tenure at my previous employer. Long story short: I lost focus on what made ME feel good consistently. My main goal was to adjust to my new job with increased responsibilities and longer hours. It was expected and I welcomed it. However, I did not have a grasp on how taking care of myself would take a backseat to everything and everyone in my life. 

Realizing Something Had to Change

Throughout 2022, I found that I often felt overwhelmed and disorganized. I’m sure this was all compounded by the fact that I stopped breastfeeding my youngest in June. Hormones are the devil. Some weeks I felt more in control, and then the next couple weeks were the exact opposite. I was tired, would stay up too late more often than not (revenge bedtime procrastination) and then in the morning there was a rush to get my two kids out the door to school and daycare.

I would then immediately boot up my laptop and get to work. The work day would fly by, the kids would then come home—and as many of you reading this know—the race to get dinner on the table, bath, books, and bed took over. I would then often sign back on to work some more late into the night. I felt like I had no time to myself.

I started books but never finished them. Wrote in my journal sporadically. Exercised randomly and didn’t see consistent progress. Staying up late was the only time I got some quiet time.

I found that I was not doing the things I loved:

  • Reading a book for pleasure
  • Journaling
  • Riding my exercise bike as much as I wanted
  • Writing articles for this site
  • Having quiet time to myself to think
  • Using my paper planner with pretty pens to plan my week

Taking Care of Myself is Priority #1

I sincerely believe that taking care of myself makes me a better mom, wife, friend, sister, and daughter. It is easy to give yourself to other people, but forget about yourself at the same time. This is how I felt a lot of last year. By the end of 2022, I knew I could not take this same “schedule” into 2023, so I wrote down some goals:

  • Wake up at 6 am 5 days per week 
  • Exercise 3 times per week
  • Journal 2-3 times per week
  • Read 5 books this year
  • Write a post every month for this site

Did I think it would happen all at once? Nope. But, it has been going WELL thus far. To encourage getting up at 6, my friend and I started scheduling our workouts together on our popular exercise bike twice per week. We’re in a 20-30 minute ride with one of our faves by 6:15, and then we complete a strength workout. We’re done no later than 7 am. We check in on each other. On the days I don’t work out, I get up to read a book, use my planner, journal or have some quiet time with a cup of tea.

Self-care is a discipline and practicing it has been revolutionary.

Since my kids usually wake up around 7:30 or later, I’m getting an hour and a half of quiet time before I do anything else and it’s made my days increasingly manageable. I’m calm and grounded. I’ve set intentions for the day. I can even make my kid’s school lunch in peace and prepare breakfast before they get up. 

A Permanent Change

This small shift in my schedule, which requires the discipline to get up at 6 five days per week, has changed everything. There are many mornings where I just want to turn my alarm off and roll over, but instead, I push through. I go to bed no later than 11 pm. I set out my workout clothes near my workout room. I put my journal and daily planner on my desk with my favorite pens. I try to make the transition as smooth as possible. I commit. I institute discipline consistently.

There are many “successful” folks who get up early. It took me a while to accept that I should at least try it to find out whether it could also work for me. And it did.

Toward the end of January, I started to get up prior to 6 without an alarm on several occasions. While I’m just a few months into my new self-care routine, I have confidence that I can do this. There will always be setbacks, but it’s made such a big shift in my life that I know these new habits are here to stay.

Self-care is a discipline. How do you practice it?