Want to make self-care a priority? It’s as easy as 15-1-1.

The 15-1-1 Rule for taking better care of yourself

A few years ago, a fellow holistic health coach by the name of Vanessa Broers wrote a guest post on the Propelle blog around self-care for women entrepreneurs. And even though the target audience of that post was pretty specific, the information contained within the post was (and is) invaluable for anyone who feels guilty for taking time for themselves OR doesn’t even know where to begin.

The technique she shared has stuck with me over the years and helped me put self-care back into my life at a time when I thought it would be near impossible. Whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed, I remember what she shared and how doable self-care is no matter what else is going on. 

So what is this technique, exactly?

It’s called the 15-1-1 rule and it breaks down like this:

  • 15 minutes a day
  • 1 hour a week
  • 1 day a month

In other words, you spend 15 minutes a day, 1 hour a week, and 1 day a month devoted solely to doing things that feel inspiring, restorative, nourishing, nurturing, and enjoyable.

That’s it.

Want to make self-care a priority? It's as easy as 15-1-1.

How it works

The 15-1-1 rule breaks down self-care into bite-size components that make it easier for us to begin incorporating the practice into our daily lives. And if you’re anything like me, it gives some much-needed structure to the whole concept of self-care, making it more likely that it will actually get scheduled in and done.

Here’s how Vanessa breaks down the 15-1-1 rule (in her words):

15 minutes every day

Every day, spend 15 minutes doing something small for you. I recommend starting your day this way to take charge of your energy, space and time from the minute your feet hit the floor. Stretch, meditate, breathe, hot towel scrub or sit on your porch and drink tea and read. There’s no rule here and it doesn’t have to be the same every day. Do whatever helps you feel connected, centered, and positive.

1 Hour Weekly

Each week, spend an hour doing something a little bigger. Get a massage, take a long walk, sit and watch clouds, whatever you need to feed your soul. It’s incredible what having an hour a week just for you can do for your energy, health, and stamina to push through when things get rough. Hitting the reset button once a week supercharges your productivity and coping skills.

1 Day Monthly

Each month, spend one day to create the abundance mindset by living as if you were already where you want to be. Do something extravagant, take a DAYcation, go to a full day spa, save up your indulgent purchases and pack them all into one fabulous day each month (not a bad way to reign in the impulse purchases either). Dream, believe and LIVE that day as if you have already arrived where you want to be. By fully embracing the abundant lifestyle that you’re working to create every day, you shift your vibration to allow you to receive all of the goodness that you dream of and deserve instead of struggling with the “I’ll have it someday” mentality that keeps your dream stuck in “someday.” Live your dream to live your dream.

Pulling it all together

So now that you know what each section of the 15-1-1 rule entails, Vanessa recommends blocking out your time for each component on your calendar to help you commit more fully to taking that time for yourself. She also recommends treating this time as non-negotiable, so make sure to pick a time of day that you won’t feel compelled to schedule something over it or push it off because you’re tired, hungry, or in the busiest part of your day.

Pro-tip: When it comes to creating new habits, it helps to anchor them around pre-existing habits like brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, or sitting down at your desk to work.

The biggest thing I noticed when I began implementing this approach into my days was how much more centered and less resentful I felt in my life because my needs were being met on a daily basis. It also helped me realize that taking time for myself is as important as, if not more than, eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

At the end of the day, when you start making time for yourself on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, you open the door to cultivating more happiness, relaxation, fun, creativity, and abundance in your life.

Here’s to making time for and cultivating the habit of self-care!

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

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