ultimate self care take a julie-day

The Ultimate in Self-Care: Take a Julie-Day

Have you ever taken an entire day to do just what you want to do?  I know, the idea seems impossible.  But, my sister, Julie, has managed to make this a staple in her life.  This designated, restorative time has been key to keeping her healthy and happy, especially in the most difficult times of her life.  So, if you want and need the ultimate in self-care: take a Julie-day.

How It All Started

Julie is my youngest sibling.  Most people think I am her mother when we’re together. Julie-days started when she was in high school.  She loved The Tyra Banks Show and would watch it every afternoon to wind down.  On one particularly difficult day, she needed more.  “It started when I texted mom to ask her to put two diet Cokes in the fridge for me,” Julie explained.  Diet Coke was a treat in our house, so my mom immediately knew something was amiss; Julie needed extra space that day. 

Julie came home from school, turned off her phone, and drank those two diet cokes while she watched Tyra in solitude.  She didn’t have to talk to anyone or explain why she had a bad day.  She just had some time alone to decompress paired with a little treat.  Julie (and my parents) recognized that this time helped her cope with life’s stress in a productive and manageable way.  Through the years, that short hour morphed from ‘Julie-time’ to the ‘Julie-day’: a block of time designated to being kind to oneself, doing only what that person wants to do.

What does a Julie-day mean to you?

For Julie, disconnecting from her phone is the key component.  “I don’t force myself to respond to anyone…I feel no pressure to answer calls or text messages.  It’s only about what I want to do.”  She explains further, “I indulge in doing whatever I want.  If I want to start a book, I do it.  If I want to play video games for 12 hours, I do it.”

Another key is to shed any feelings of guilt.  If you decide to go to a movie and have the popcorn you would normally never allow yourself, so be it.  There’s no time for guilty feelings on a Julie-day…only pleasure.

“Only doing what you want to do” is going to be different for everyone.  For some, it could mean taking a long, quiet walk in the forest.  For others, it is a lively day of shopping with their best friends.  A Julie-day is about knowing yourself, identifying your needs and caring for them. 

A Julie-day is about knowing yourself, identifying your needs and caring for them.

Don’t Have Time for This?

If you don’t have time for a day off, then you need it more than ever.  I had an ah-ha moment when Julie explained how she decides when to book herself a day: “I look at my calendar, and if I see that I’m going to be really busy, I schedule one.”  

Completely counterintuitive to me, her thought process is sound.  The busier your life gets, the more stressed you get.  That’s when it’s most important to take care of yourself.  Julie continued, “A Julie-day doesn’t have to be an entire day.  It can even be a few hours.”  The critical element is scheduling some time to be kind to yourself.  It will re-energize you, giving you the needed strength to deal with life.

Finding Support for Your Julie-Day

For Julie, she doesn’t have to explain to the people in her life why she’s disconnecting for a Julie-day.  “Now, it’s totally part of my routine.  So, people who know me, they know about this.”  But gaining support for your self-care time might seem like an unsurmountable hurdle for you.

Here’s the solution: help others create time for their own day off.  Everyone needs to take time to be kind to oneself.  If you want to have an afternoon off, suggest that your partner take one first.  The magic of the Julie-day is that you don’t have to go to great lengths to organize it.  It doesn’t rely on others being able to participate.  So, it’s easy to plan and execute.

A Signal that Extra Care is Needed

Julie-days provide an easy way to express that you need some extra space without having to explain yourself.  I think it’s common that we feel overwhelmed with life.  It’s not always necessary to discuss why and search for solutions.  Sometimes it is just a matter of finding some peace, some uninterrupted joy.  Discuss the Julie-day with your friends and family.  You can help each other take time for the ultimate in self-care, a Julie-day.

Design the Perfect Julie-Day

  1. Schedule a Julie-day (or a block of Julie-time).
  2. Inform necessary people of the Julie-day to minimize interruptions.
  3. Do ONLY what you want to do.
  4. No guilt. Only pleasure.
  5. Help others have a Julie-day – we all need them.
Having a Julie-Day with Julie on my 50th

“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”
- Christopher K. Germer

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