Who would have thought that having a self care routine in place can be the key to a more healthier lifestyle. Self care is not a priority for most people, when all they are trying to achieve is getting through the rat race of life everyday. But with a little planning, you can incorporate some self care into your daily routine.Self care is any activity done in order to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Taking care of yourself is a necessity. Spending some time each day devoted to self care helps improve mood, reduces stress and anxiety.
Self care also improves the quality of your relations with others. A common saying goes, you cannot give from an empty cup. Once you feel rejuvenated you are more inclined to participate and do more for others in your life. That is why it is so important to build a self care routine alongside your daily activities.
How To Start
Maintaining a journal or planner is an important practice, to begin with. Start with jotting down everything that’s going on in your life.
How does your day look like? What are you feeling currently? What area of your life would you like to see improvements in? Etc. Once you have brain dumped everything in your journal, start narrowing down to specific areas and concerns.
Examples of questions to ask yourself:
What do I want to change right now? – Bad habits? Repetitive and futile emotions consuming your life? Sometimes it’s people in your life that are causing stress and anxiety.
Are there old self care routines that I would love to start again?
Am I getting enough sleep?
What do I like?
Create a list of focus areas to target once you have identified and named the things you want to change or incorporate.
Having good health is key to feeling and looking good. Eating foods high in nutrition coupled with exercise can make a world of a difference to your well being.
ACTION STEPS TO HELP BUILD A SELF CARE ROUTINE
Change in mindset – Once you have identified the key areas in your life that need work, create an action plan to tackle these. Adding in time for self care requires a conscious effort on your part. Don’t look at self care as a “reward system”. It should be looked at as a part of the process of building a healthy lifestyle. If you look at it as a reward, you will tend to push it further away in the day and maybe skip it all together.
You don’t deserve self care as a reward for some kind of hard work. Its an essential part of being a healthy human being; physically, emotionally and mentally. We need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others.
Avoid situations or people that make you unhappy.These have no place in your life right now. Focus on yourself first.
Some activities like browsing through social media at night or checking on emails first thing in the morning are known to cause disturbed sleep and anxiety. These are better avoided. Decide on a calming and peaceful bedtime routine and morning rituals.
Build the self care routine around your current life situation. Plan your day adding in your favorite activities to suitable time slots. Maybe you have half an hour in the morning or at night before bedtime. Maybe you have an afternoon a week just for yourself. Fill out a weekly plan with time slots dedicated to you. Maintaining a weekly planner can come in handy. When you designate time for yourself in the planner, you are more likely to actually implement it.
A self care routine can be anything from 5 minutes to 30 minutes a day. Even adding such little time to self care into your routine will leave you more rejuvenated to do other tasks.
Self care is not just about the physical things you can do to take care of yourself, it should include key activities to build emotional and mental wellbeing too. Jotting down your feelings on a piece of paper when you are stressed, angry, frustrated can be very helpful.
It allows you to assess why you are feeling this way and if it is something you can shrug off or if you need to take specific steps to correct the issue at hand. Sometimes all you need to do is acknowledge your feelings to understand them better and move on. That is why journaling is such a powerful tool to maintain emotional well-being.
Learn to say No – you don’t have to do everything all at once. Learn to differentiate between tasks that are essential and ones that are time eaters. Sometimes we take on tasks just to please others in our lives, learn to say No when you know that the said task is taking away time from your schedule. Stick to your schedule instead of going off the rail and then getting into the vicious circle of stress and no time for self.
A beautiful thing that you will notice is that the more you practice self care the easier and frequent it becomes. Self care becomes a habit when you practice it daily. It comes to you like second nature.
Here are examples of self care activities you can do in 5 minutes, 30 minutes or 2 hours a day.
Got 5 minutes?
Paint your nails
Watch a funny video
Call a friend/mom
Color a mandala book
Stretch and do some breathing exercises
Make a smoothie
Have a bowl of fruit
Brain dump – Assess your mental and emotional health. What are issues that are nagging you, assess feelings etc
Got 30 minutes?
Put on a face mask
Have a long bath
Listen to music
Read a book
Make a big bowl of salad for yourself
An exercise session
Indulge in a skincare routine – Exfoliate, wash, tone and moisturize
Go for a walk
Organize your closet/financials etc – Some people find organizing therapeutic if you are one of them, go for it!
Got 2-4 hours?
Meet a friend for lunch/coffee
Watch a movie
Read a book
Start an old hobby
Learn a new skill
Binge watch your favorite TV series
Don’t feel down on yourself if there are days you cannot squeeze in time for yourself. It happens to all of us. Recognize that this is part of life too – juggling between things, craving and striving for balance. It is challenging to put ourselves first. Just keep yourself and your needs in your mind too. Don’t feel defeated.