Today was one of those days. I woke up feeling out of sorts, tired, mentally fatigued, and unmotivated.

It happens to all of us. Even when we have a toolbox full of tools, even when we have a plan and think we’re on track, even when life has good things happening…we still can have a day (or days) where we need to focus in on taking extra good CARE of ourselves.

We talk a lot about self-care, how important it is and all the ways we can do that. To a lot of people this seems more like a luxury, something selfish, or just plain impossible.

The truth is, when we don’t stop to take CARE of ourselves, we will get to a point where we won’t be able to fulfill our mission in life because we are empty, exhausted, stuck and often hopeless.

So on a day like today, what do I do to give myself the CARE I need? Do I just “check out” and hope the feeling goes away? Do I go through my day irritable and out-of-sorts?

No. I have to give myself priority. That looks different for everyone because everyone has different circumstances and responsibilities.

Here are four key ideas to help you make a plan for yourself when you have one of those days where nothing seems to be going right and your body/mind/soul needs extra CARE:

C – Calming: do something to bring calm and internal quiet to your body/mind/soul. Today, I took some time to pray/meditate while listening to some healing music. What works to calm you?

A – Accept: accept that today is not going as originally planned and be willing to pivot. For me that meant missing some things on my calendar that I had planned to do. You know what? When I am not my best self, it’s hard for me to bring or receive true value. There are some things that you won’t be able to miss, but figure out what you can miss or reschedule and prioritize your health and wellness. Are you willing to accept where you are today and pivot?

R – Refresh: choose an activity(ies) that you know is refreshing for you personally. Today, I did a workout on my rowing machine while watching part of a recording of “The Voice.” For me, that show provides some comic relief and movement helps to boost my mood. What works for you?

E – Empathize: choose to empathize with yourself and lean into what is weighing on you while being kind to yourself. Today I thought about all the things I am currently responsible for or being challenged by. Instead of avoiding the thoughts, I named those things and told myself instead of trying to numb the pain I was going to lean in. I also reminded myself that I am not the only person who has days like this — this is just part of life and it’s all in how I choose to view it. Lastly, I chose to be kind to myself by taking myself to a movie — something I enjoy and it helps me to get out of the mind space I am in. So it was a no make-up, hat, go to a movie by myself in the middle of the day kind of day!

Now, some of you may be thinking, “Well, that’s really nice she can do that, but there is no way I can do those kinds of things with my responsibilities!” Maybe that is true, but what CAN you do for yourself? What things CAN you let go of for today? What ways CAN you implement these four key ideas of CARE for yourself today?

I didn’t start with where I am today. It took me a long time to learn how to prioritize and take CARE of myself without major guilt. Not every day do I have the flexibility I had today, but no matter what the circumstances, when I implement the principles of CARE on days where I am not feeling my best, I find ways to support my health and wellbeing.

You know who benefits from that? Me and everyone I love and am connected to! You see, me being able to be there for someone else means I have to be there for myself… I cannot be for others what I refuse to be for myself!

As you start to practice truly caring for yourself, you and those around you will see what a difference it makes in caring for them!