How To Create A Self-Care Routine That Works
Let’s talk about self-care.
When I said self-care, what was your reaction? Honestly. Does the thought of taking time out of your day to nurture yourself excite you, or does it fill you with impatience or judgement? Perhaps you’ve tried it before, and you just can’t get behind it.
The thing most people fail to see about self-care is that it’s whatever you need it to be in that moment. Your self-care routine should be tailored to you and you alone.
There is often a misconception that self-care has to be meditating, reciting positive affirmations, or taking a bath. While self-care can surely be those things (mindfulness is the best), there are so many other ways to nurture your mind, body, and soul that so many of us forget about.
There are many ways to practice self-care and to apply its restorative benefits to your own life and health. I’ll break it down for you a little further below so you can discover some self-care ideas that work well for you!
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
The Webster Dictionary definition of self-care is: the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
Any steps that you take to personally nurture and foster your own internal growth can be categorized as self-care. And we’re not just talking about face masks and bubble baths here. It’s deeper than that. Core elements of self-care include:
- Listening to your body and responding to it kindly
- Learning to trust your gut, or your bodily intelligence
- Building your self-esteem
- Creating healthy relationships with yourself and with others
- Establishing boundaries within relationships
- Learning to politely say “no” – and not feeling guilty about it!
- Clearing out the clutter in your life, both literally and figuratively
- Finally taking control of the things you’ve been avoiding
- Figuring out your own unique needs
When you develop a consistent self-care routine, you won’t be able to help but create positive shifts and momentum in all other aspects of your life.
Think of it like this. You can’t expect your car to drive you thousands of miles without ever filling the gas, changing the tires, refilling the oil, or offering it maintenance. And you surely can’t expect it to look good while chugging along in the harsh world! The same goes for you and your beautiful mind, body, and spirit!
You can’t expect yourself to look your best, act your best, think your best, and be your best if you never slow down for a minute to take care of yourself.
The beautiful part of all of this is self-care has no barrier-of entry, meaning anyone can and should do it! A person who has a daily self-care routine will look and feel more connected, more vibrant, and more energetic.
HOW TO CREATE A SELF-CARE ROUTINE THAT WORKS
4 INCREDIBLE BENEFITS OF SELF-CARE
Committing to a self-care routine can truly have an incredible return on investment.
If you’re interested in through-the-roof confidence and self-esteem, improved compassion and care for others, and uncovering your own authentic self, then self-care is an amazing place to start! As anyone who has tried self-care practices might know, the rewards for taking time to care for yourself are far and plenty.
1. IMPROVED PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING
As humans, we are literally designed to engage in self-care. Why do you think apes were always cleaning bugs off each others’ backs? Because it is such a critical aspect of our psychological well-being and can create a cascade of positivity!
When you nurture yourself, you create more energy and positivity to then share with the world. Your interactions will become more positive, and because your cup is full, it will truly overflow into the lives of your friends, family, coworkers, and innocent Starbucks baristas!
People who add self-care to their daily routines find that other things take care of themselves. When you put positive energy out into the world, the world multiplies it and sends it back your direction! You will likely begin to feel less angry, stressed, or anxious.
2. ACCESS THAT BEYONCE LEVEL CONFIDENCE
Take it from Beyonce:
“It took me some time. But now I am strong. Because I realized I got me, myself, and I.”
If I can’t convince you, then listen to the Queen! We both understand the importance of connecting with yourself and taking the time to truly nurture and recognize your own resilience and strength, which can then boost your confidence immensely.
There is a strong dose-response relationship between time spent engaging in self-care and self-esteem.
Perhaps those who avoid it already have low self-esteem and therefore don’t see themselves as “worthy” of the time or investment. The beautiful part of this is that it can easily be overcome through baby steps.
Start by carving out 5 minutes of time for yourself in a day to implement the strategies discussed below, and then take note of how it positively impacts you. You can then move up from there!
3. WHEN YOU CARE FOR YOURSELF, YOU CARE FOR OTHERS MORE EFFECTIVELY
Don’t think this is all just for you! Caring for yourself puts your ethics into action in a very personal way, helping to boost your conscientiousness and compassion. When you are filled with this type of positive energy, vibrancy, and respect, you will naturally find it easier and more rewarding to return the love to those around you!
You will begin to notice that you can take care of others more effectively than before, and tasks and chores that you used to despise won’t seem so bad. Dealing with crazy in-laws won’t be so hard, either.
4. BECOME YOUR TRUE, AUTHENTIC SELF
Who are you when no one is looking? Specifically, who are you when all of your armor is down, when you’re not worried what anyone else thinks, when you’re just truly, deeply listening and engaging with yourself?
When was the last time you felt that connected to yourself? So connected that you are clear on all of your needs, views, and feelings? If it’s been a while, the great news is a self-care routine can help you cultivate this kind of connection!
When you start prioritizing your own needs, it brings clarity to your life. You will discover who you are, what you want, what you need, and where you’re going. You will stop viewing yourself through the fear of judgment of others and feel happy being your true, most authentic self.
Convinced that you could use a little self-care in your life yet?
Just in case you’re still holding on to negative beliefs or myths around the subject, let’s bust a few of those now!
9 IDEAS TO ADD TO YOUR SELF-CARE ROUTINE
Despite what you may have been previously taught in school, there is no “right” way to journal! In fact, I find it most cathartic and nourishing to simply “brain-dump” into my journal every morning (I call these morning pages) to clear all of the cobwebs out before starting my day. You can also use it to keep notes about gratitude, to reflect on your day, to set goals, to do some creative writing, and so much more! It’s up to you. All you have to do to get started is to grab a pen and paper and start writing!
2. READ A BOOK
I find that fiction novels have an amazing ability to stimulate your creative side while creating an enjoyable flow-state (like when you’re mentally running around Hogwarts or participating in the Hunger Games). I usually prefer young adult fiction since it’s much more creative. Some classics that are always highly recommended include Holes, The Golden Compass, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Book Thief.
Self-help books are also great if you’re in the mood for some motivation, inspiration, or guidance. Some that come highly recommended include Girl, Wash Your Face, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***, and You are a BadAss.
3. SET THE AMBIANCE (ONE OF MY FAVORITES)
This is one of my favorite rituals when I get home every night! It immediately puts me into a calmer mood and relaxes me before bed. I will turn on my essential oil diffuser (I love using lavender or citrus scents), light my favorite candles, and play some soft, classical piano music. Ahhhh… the serenity).
4. CREATE SOMETHING FOR THE SAKE OF CREATING
It’s important you go into this without an end-goal. You’re not trying to post about this or sell it or turn yourself into the next DaVinci. Rather, you’re expressing your creative side freely and comfortably. Some places to start could include: color in a coloring book, draw, practice calligraphy, sew, sculpt, knit, paint, crochet, or whatever else feeds your creative side!
5. NATURE-BATHE, OR GO ON A SLOW WALK IN NATURE
With our concrete-jungle cities and dim offices, it can be easy to forget the serenity that Mother Nature has to offer. Reconnect with your natural side and give yourself time to take a relaxing walk through a forest, park or near water. The simple act of leisurely taking in the beauty of nature can be incredibly restorative, and can also jog your creative side!
6. DE-CLUTTER YOUR HOUSE TO DE-CLUTTER YOUR MIND
I’m sure by now you all know about the Marie Kondo movement and the “Magic Art of Tidying Up.”
Aside from the benefit of physically cleaning your space, de-cluttering can have an amazing impact on your mind! It frees up mental space (you know, from that nagging voice yelling at you for an overflowing laundry bin?), and helps to calm you down.
Verywell Mind suggests that you go room by room and divide your things into four boxes: things to donate, things to throw away, things to keep, and things to store. If you don’t need it or love it, consider getting rid of it. Go through your box of things to keep, and do your best to find a place for everything
7. PLAY WITH YOUR PET, A FRIEND’S PET, OR GO TO A SHELTER
I probably don’t need to back this suggestion up with research (because who wouldn’t want an excuse to play with a fuzzy animal?), but I will anyway.
The American Psychological Association published the results of a massive study on pet ownership and concluded that people who own, foster, or live around an animal enjoy benefits of better self-esteem, higher physical fitness, lowered loneliness, increased conscientiousness, improved extroversion, and less fearful. Need I say more? Go cuddle that puppy!
8. EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO SOMEONE YOU HAVEN’T CONNECTED WITH IN A WHILE
If you’re ever in need of a mood-boost, expressing gratitude is the fastest way to achieve it! This can be as simple as, “Thanks, Mom, for your encouragement the other day!” That alone will do wonders for your mental state, not to mention it will also improve and bolster your relationships.
9. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO RELAX WITHOUT GUILT
Emphasis on ZERO guilt here. I find that I am resistant to doing nothing such as relaxing on the couch watching TV, taking a nap, or simply relaxing because I know there are a million other things I could be doing. Release this need to always be on, and give yourself space and time to relax. You will be so much clearer and re-focused because of it!
Hopefully now you have a better idea about the benefits of self-care and why a self-care routine is the last thing from selfish! Remember: you must first take care of yourself in order to take care of everyone around you. Use some of the tips from this article to build out your own self-care routine. Leave us a comment with your favorite practices!
Curious about other self-care tips? Read this article: 3 Simple And Schedule Friendly Daily Self-Care Rituals For Coaches!