How often are you told by a wellness professional that you need to give yourself time to take care of yourself? Now, think about how much time you actually spend taking care of yourself.

Not very often, right?

Our lives are incredibly busy, a fact that is strongly encouraged by our western society. We work long hours (a requirement to survive); if we have kids, most of our time is devoted to their well-being; and what about your elderly parents? If they have any needs, it’s pretty likely that you’ll be doing the heavy lifting.


warning: Oversimplified to make a point

Throughout human history, these needs used to be covered by people in our community. Grandparents and neighbors would take care of kids and in-house tasks while younger adults would use their ample energy to collect food (a very arduous process). This is how our bodies worked for the vast majority of human history, and only in the most recent sliver has our lifestyle begun to deviate from our body’s design.

These days, each of us is expected to take care of the needs of our children, parents, and selves, in addition to work and household responsibilities. This leaves almost no time to take care of yourself. 

This has become a very real problem. 

It seems like the whole world is running on people who are gradually “breaking down,” people who are then set aside and left to suffer so someone “healthy” can take their place and keep productivity up.

When society at large is encouraging us to just “suck it up and deal with it,” you’re left with a huge obstacle to actually getting better. Taking care of yourself is not truly encouraged by the system we live in, but it is critically important to our lifespan, and our healthspan. 

If you truly want to get yourself out of pain, and back to the life you love, you need to actively and intentionally take care of yourself. You need to practice radical self-care.

Our working definition of radical will be, “characterized by independence or departure from tradition; innovative or unorthodox. We can consider it the opposite of the stodgy, overworking, status quo.  

You might visualize a spa, enjoying yourself in the lap of luxury. That’s totally fine, because that is self-care, but it is by no means radical. I’d encourage you to start thinking about self-care in the context of things you can do right now, not things that you’d like to do later. Radical self-care requires changing your life circumstances to give yourself time to take care of yourself. It could mean changing jobs, long conversations with people about how they can support you, and likely less screen time.

True self-care includes professionals taking care of you, but it mostly involves you performing tasks that provide a positive input in your life.  It involves building and maintaining habits that add up to the person you want to be, or the circumstances you want to have. You may need to creatively engineer tasks into your day, combining as you can and need to in order to fit everything in. You will certainly have to prioritize, and choose what is most important to you.

Incidentally, this can be almost impossible. Some jobs create so much repetitive and often harmful movement in the body, that to offset it involves incredible effort. This is possibly one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, and sometimes you need to do the best you can for yourself. 

Your body has many needs to be met throughout any given day. You need adequate fuel, movement, sleep, protection from the elements, relationships, a sense of purpose, and a thriving community, just to name a few. These needs can be met in so many different ways. That’s probably the most hopeful and important point I can get across in this article. 

Changes in the way you feel can occur from changes to any of these factors. If you have back pain, it can be made worse by stress, certain movements or positions, inadequate or mismatched nutrition, inadequate sleep, and so on. Because of this, you can focus on changing only one of these factors in order to experience a positive health benefit. This makes such a difference when you’re trying to make changes, because you can focus on one habit at a time. 

Mindset is possibly the most important factor. You really need to care about yourself in order to commit to the work of change. 

There are physical, mental, and emotional obstacles to overcome every time you need to make a change. What’s more, you are often your biggest obstacle, because you may have been convinced that there is just no point in trying to take care of yourself. 

“There’s no time to make any real impact, so why bother?”

“There’s no way I can get enough sleep, because I just have too many things on my mind at night.” 

“There are just too many tasks to do at work to change my hours.”

“There’s no one to take care of the household tasks but me. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done, so I don’t have time for myself.”

The easiest thing you can do for yourself is first to believe that you are worth the effort of changing your life. Start by identifying areas where you can consistently give yourself 20 minutes. Maybe two per day, in order to build yourself a self-care routine. It’s up to you what this consists of. It could be mindful stretching, walking in the neighborhood or in the woods, or sitting for 10 minutes and breathing intentionally. 

Once you have been working on this one factor for AT MINIMUM two months, it should be close to being ingrained as a habit, making it a bit easier to continue doing it. That’s the key, right there. You need to be consistently taking actions to take care of yourself. That is self-care. If it’s not consistent, the body won’t respond consistently. 

The body reacts specifically to the demands we impose upon it, so if we create a consistent demand, the body will respond with an adaptation to that demand. The body will get better at receiving the care you give to it. 

The benefits to this method of routine-building will compound over time. It will be very challenging initially, but gradually get easier. As you improve one aspect of your life, you will have more energy and vitality to give to the next area you’d like to change. Keep the momentum going and you could even experience a snowball effect, which could be truly life-changing.  

Remember you are worth the effort you need to put in to make lasting changes in your life. Stick to one routine at a time to prevent overwhelm, but stick to it consistently. 

If you need any assistance in figuring out what will create the biggest impact in your life, click the button below and we can give you a little guidance.