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Pay Yourself First

Ten tips to "replenish your well" amid pandemic fatigue.

Pay Yourself First is a phrase most commonly heard rolling out of the mouths of financial advisors, and is certainly some sound advice. For those of us experiencing pandemic fatigue, however, this has taken on a new meaning.

Photo by Tom Leishman/Pexels
Source: Photo by Tom Leishman/Pexels

Even those of us who consider ourselves somewhat good with self-care, have found that the Rona has thrown a wrench into our wheel of motivation. It has gotten tougher just to get dressed in the morning, never mind keeping up with Fitbits and building our core. Some of us have resorted to those 15-minute yoga cyber-workouts, though without the comradery of being in an actual class this has sadly faded . . . leaving us with that residual feeling of workout-failure, much like the after-taste of a diet soda.

Though the beginning of the pandemic brought with it some positives, such as trying out new recipes and creative cooking, now many of us have slid into a cooking rut. We do what we know, what’s quick and easy. Default cooking.

Also, many of our simple pleasures have been temporarily removed from the shelf, such as going out to restaurants (safely), as well as going to the movies, unless you’re okay with paying 12 bucks to see Shrek.

The walks outside have certainly been good for a mental health boost. We enjoyed a nice, hot summer which worked well for quarantine, where backyard BBQs would have been the norm anyway. Then, a mild fall with brilliant foliage in many parts of the northern hemisphere. Now winter has reminded us that she is right around the corner, the dominant season who very graciously allows the other seasons to have their time. Our walks have slowed down as the impending chill in the air picks up.

Now what? How do we jump-start ourselves to get back on the self-care track?

  1. First, tell yourself that is ok to take care of you. You count, too. Self-care is not selfish. This can be especially difficult for mothers due to centuries of societal messages.
  2. Realize what a “Yes hangover” is and learn to say No. No is a small word with big power. Boundaries are a good thing.
  3. Learn to manage your time. Our life minutes are of the greatest value. Spend them as if they were cash. Begin by hacking away at the inessentials of your day. This will free up loads of time.
  4. Do like Ben Franklin and wake up early. This gives us a jump on our day and we can often get three times more done during the early hours, leaving us more time later in the day for leisure. Plus, the rest of the house is often asleep and this can be wonderfully peaceful.
  5. Declutter your home. Start with one room or corner at a time. Set yourself up for success with doable goals. Realize that clutter outside of our heads causes clutter on the inside.
  6. Carve out some alone time in solitude. Even card-carrying extroverts will benefit from a little quiet. Solitude enhances self-esteem, creativity, and overall well-being. Solitude replenishes what the hustle-bustle of the world depletes us of.
  7. Get a plant. Bringing some nature indoors as it gets colder can lift one’s spirit and remind us that we are surrounded by life. And, spring will eventually make its way back into the rotation.
  8. Spend at least five minutes being mindful each day. This does not mean sitting in a lotus position as if you were a Tibetan monk on a mountain top. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. That’s it. Cook, do the dishes, read to a child, sip some hot tea, or whatever while being fully present in the moment.
  9. Buy freshly cut flowers at the grocery store for you. Then place them in a highly visible spot to enjoy. These will add some fabulous color that will lighten up the room. And, tell yourself you deserve these flowers. They are a gift from you to you.
  10. Find your “Power Song.” This is discovered, not chosen. Kind of like the wand in Harry Potter. The power song chooses the person. Mine is “Think” by Aretha Franklin, with a close second being “Respect.” Once you uncover your own power song find a way to play this, by yourself, and don’t hold back. Dance on top of a coffee table with a serving spoon for a mic and let yourself go!
    Photo by Oleg Magni/Pexels
    Source: Photo by Oleg Magni/Pexels
Photo by Oleg Magni/Pexels
Source: Photo by Oleg Magni/Pexels


Lindley, J. (2020). The delicate art of saying no. Real Simple. New York, NY: Meredith Corporation.

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