Basic Self Care

It’s easy to neglect yourself under the deadline pressure of a busy semester and writing deadlines. So during a recent presentation on delightful work/life integration for a group of graduate students, I stressed the importance of self care to support creativity and stamina in the academic life. And that’s when one of the students asked,

“What counts as basic self care?”

I answered, “all the stuff your parents had to do for you when you were a small child.” (Really.  The Wikipedia entry on Activities of Daily Living has more details, but that’s pretty much what it boils down to).

For a refresher course on self care, consider FlyLady provides an excellent DIY support community around the Activities of Daily Living. FlyLady offers an extensive website of resources to explore, and the opportunity to sign up (free) for a deluge of emails offering support, encouragement, and creative ideas for every step of the way. It’s pretty comprehensive: support around meal planning, laundry, cleaning, home organization, routines (including bedtime), self-pampering, emergency planning, exercise, and more.

The most delightful thing about FlyLady’s structure is the sense of being part of a community. What’s more inherently boring or isolating than cleaning one’s toilet? But to wipe the floor around the toilet in response to a FlyLady prompt is to know that thousands of “Flybabies” around the world are also wiping the floor around their toilets, too. Suddenly, housework feels like joining a community, instead of exile.

That said, the writing style is breezy and sometimes repetitious, and there are occasional religious references (clearly labeled). They send about 15 new email messages per day. Email filters can be helpful here, to avoid overwhelm (FlyLady does send out periodic reminders to delete all past messages–they’re meant to be support on the daily routine, not permanent reminders cluttering inboxes).

IMHO, FlyLady can be a useful support when wanting more external structure to set up routines or take housework skills to the next level. As with any support, adapt what helps to fit your circumstances, and ignore what doesn’t.

If FlyLady is not a good fit for you, or if you’d like in person help, then consider my services. 🙂