I was recently reminded how important it is to take time for yourself. I’m big into wellness and self care, but sometimes I’m too focused on other things to think about what I truly need for myself. Sometimes I’m just too busy to take a day and do what I need to do for myself.

Self care and wellness isn’t always glamorous. I think the self care industry has really taken advantage of people, women especially, and has turned self care into something very commercialized. It encourages people to splurge on some luxurious item — new shoes, face cream, lavender scented pillow sprays — because all of those things will bring you happiness and will rebalance your world.

I’ve found it much more helpful when I use my self care time to do things I’ve been putting off. I pick up a prescription, I drop some things off at the post office, I get groceries. Of course there are times when a face mask will bring me joy — who doesn’t enjoy sitting around in a comfy bathrobe with blue goop all over their face? — but it usually comes after I’ve had a productive day of finishing my random to do list.

The past few weeks I’ve been making it a point to carve out some time for myself as often as I can. One thing I think has helped me a lot is cooking for myself more often, rather than buying frozen meals. This past weekend, I spent an entire day deep cleaning my apartment. A few weeks ago, I got my flu shot. It’s the little things that I needed to do, but I kept putting off. Once it was done, a little weight was lifted off my shoulders.

I understand when there is free time, the last thing most people want to do is tackle the sink of dirty dishes. It’s so easy to talk yourself into putting on comfy clothes, making a cup of sleepytime tea and spending the rest of the evening watching reruns of Friends. I fall captive to this often. To avoid it, I’ve been trying to do all the chores I’ve let pile up on Fridays. That way I know once I have all of these mundane tasks done, I can enjoy my weekend and relax the way I want to.

It might sound silly, but I look at all these things — groceries, laundry, mail — as self care, because these things would get out of hand if I didn’t regularly take care of them. I feel so much better when they are done, but they’re things I put off the most. I do, like anyone else, still buy into the idea that a new pair of shoes will turn my life around. New shoes haven’t necessarily made things better, but they certainly never made them worse.

In the coming weeks, especially as we get into the busy holiday season, I really encourage you to take time for yourself. Even if it’s just a short walk outside to get some fresh air or leaving work a little early to pick up a prescription, it will make a difference in your mental health. And if you do buy new shoes, I won’t tell anyone.

Halie Kines is the reporter for the Potter Leader-Enterprise. Email her at hkines@tiogapublishing.com.