How much time do you allot for self-care in a week? In a month? There’s so much going on in your universe, let alone the world around you, that time often slips away, and when it does, reserving even an hour to yourself can feel almost impossible. Maybe it even feels a little selfish. But finding time for yourself can be as easy as visualizing it, which is why Kristen Bell uses a calendar to maintain balance in her life, according to the actor's recent interview with Shape.
For the record, Kristen Bell may have starred in Bad Moms, but I think you and I can agree that this mama of two is the linear definition of a great mom. On top of that, the 38-year-old actor has built quite the resume: She's an award-winning performer, a comedic genius, not to mention an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and mental health. One would assume Bell must have some sort of superhuman powers to do it all, and do it all well. But, as it turns out, Bell's secret to success is time management, organization, and a highly detailed calendar.
Bell told Shape that she and her husband, Dax Shepard, operate around their family's calendar in the same way you would a daily planner. "I always want to make sure that everyone is represented on that calendar, whether that's date night with my husband or taking the girls to practice after school," Bell told the outlet.
Abiding by events on a calendar sounds like a pretty standard "mom" thing to do, right? This way, Bell knows when it’s her turn to drop the kids off at a playdate, she can make sure her and Shepard’s work schedules don’t conflict, etc. But here’s where Bell’s balancing strategy proves to be less stereotypical, and more genius: Not only does the The Good Place actor rely on a calendar so that she can keep track of everyone’s schedules, she’s also diligently taking note of what isn’t represented on the calendar, too — say, for instance, a lack of self-care.
"My husband and I know that we need to work out not just for our physical well-being but for our mental well-being," Bell told Shape. "So once on the weekends, my husband will say, 'I'll take the kids to brunch, why don't you go to a class?' and whenever I have a 45-minute gap in my week, I make working out a priority."
Clearly Bell seems to have found a method to tame the madness, one that also holds her accountable to make self-care a priority, even if it doesn’t feel like one in that moment. On that note, there's also something to be said about how Shepard's gotten on board with this strategy, too. It's refreshing to see that the actor and podcast host is also able to recognize when Bell needs a mental health break, especially considering these two are both not only navigating the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but they're also juggling two very hectic Hollywood schedules, the pressures of fame, and, above all else, parenthood.
“I tend to have the instinct to take care of everyone else and after that weight is lifted off my shoulders, I think I'll have time for me," Bell told Shape. "But it's totally the opposite."
Personally, I’m a huge fan of planners that come with 12 monthly calendars, as well as individual pages dedicated to each day, with enough space to flesh out my daily to-do lists. Needless to say, I am all for Bell using a calendar to balance everyday life. If you’re not a paper and pen kind of person, no worries; that’s what smartphones and desktop calendars are for. Even the Notes app on your phone would suffice.
Really, any tool that can help you map out your day-to-day schedule, so that any free time you can reserve for R&R is right there in front of you, can be super helpful. Maybe for you, that’s a white board with colorful markers, a wall calendar, or push notifications. At this point in your life, unlike Bell, you might not have a partner or kids to prioritize, but you do have yourself, and no matter what, self-care should always fit into your schedule.
"Everyone needs a tough-love reminder that if you're not taking care of yourself, you're no good to take care of anyone else,” Bell told Shape. “When you can fully digest that, it kind of snaps you to attention and makes you realize that you're just as important as those around you."