Self-care is a very broad term and can honestly mean anything. Self-care can be described by each person differently. To one person it can be about doing anything that is fun and exciting but to the next person it is about being quiet and fully relaxed in the moment, and even then, someone else might think it’s a combination of both. Self-care is an individualized plan of activities that will allow you to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthy.
If you haven’t been practicing self-care for a while or at all, it can be overwhelming at first to break it down and know where to start.
• Self-care First – Just like health studies have shown exercising first thing in the morning gives the best results, the same goes for self-care. Take care of yourself first thing in the morning to start your day off positively. When you get things out of the way, you’ll feel accomplished and awesome.
• Schedule Self-Care – Today people are more productive than ever. They are also distracted. The best course of action to make sure you have time to squeeze in self-care, is to schedule it. Schedule that haircut or massage. Schedule a short phone call with friends or family during your break at work. Schedule lunch with friends. If you write it down and/or put it in your calendar, you’re more likely to do it.
• Be Attentive – Be aware of your surroundings as well as yourself. Your environment and knowing what you like and dislike plays a major part in self-care. If you are adding things to your routine that you don’t like and don’t make you happy, look for a way to remove it or make it better.
• Reward Yourself – Self-care shouldn’t only be about rewarding yourself. However, rewards can be a great way to train yourself to do things you might otherwise neglect, such as exercise. Start rewarding yourself for doing it so that you have something to look forward to besides rock hard abs. For example, if you exercise every day for a month, schedule a facial or massage to reward yourself.
• Try Meditation – Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and help you relax. The goal is to focus on breathing and nothing else. Studies show that meditation and prayer help cut down on stress and improve memory. Meditation definitely helps me to feel more focused and relaxed.
• Take Alone Time – Self-care doesn’t have to be about going and spending a bunch of money or doing exciting activities. Sometimes people just need alone time. Take time away from children and coworkers so that you can rejuvenate and focus on your own thoughts. Make a safe space for yourself, where you can go to be alone when you need to (even if it’s the bathroom or a closet).
• Spend Time with Friends and Family – Schedule some time with friends and family. Go out to dinner or play board games. Try something different with your loved ones than what you usually would do with them. Make it a date so you have something to look forward to.
Self-care can be simple. The hardest part is figuring out what self-care means to you and giving yourself incentives to make sure you follow through. You can do it!!