With our modern busy lives, it’s easy to let even the simplest self-care go out the window. It can be tough to find the time to look after ourselves when we’re juggling lots of different priorities. This can leave our own needs at the bottom of the list, and we all know it's hard to get around to those items last on the to-do list.
And we’re talking about the regular, day to day self-care, not the lavish ‘treat-yourself’ social outings, appointments and pamper days that come to mind when you think self-care. If you don’t take the time to look after yourself, you can start to feel very stressed and unfulfilled as well as overwhelmed. But to improve ourselves we must take care of our minds and bodies.
Here’s our tips to create a self-care routine, and ways you can stick to it!
1. Do self-care that works for you
You don’t have to download the latest meditation app if you can’t stand sitting still or listening to soothing music. In short - what works for others might not work for you.
Think about the things you love to do, and look forward to doing when you have free time. If you start a new hobby or activity simply because everyone else is doing it, you’ll end up hating it in no time.
The key to sticking to a self care routine is to fill it with things that you love doing.
Try different ideas that make you happy, like reading, podcasts, exercise, dancing - whatever it is that makes you smile - find time for it!
2. Schedule it in
Planning out your day may seem a little type ‘a’, but if you don’t make time for self-care, you’ll likely never get around to it. Make your chosen self care activity a non-changeable appointment with yourself. Set reminders in your phone, put it in your calendar, whatever it takes to remind yourself to take some time for you.
This could be setting aside half an hour in the morning to cook breakfast, or going to bed a little earlier to read your favourite book. Make sure you stick to your schedule, and plan ahead. This will make self-care easier to fit it in your day.
3. Stay simple
The key to sticking to self-care is to think of it as part of your day to day life - exactly the same as brushing your teeth in the morning, or getting dressed before work. This will help you take the time to look after yourself, and to feel less guilty about taking some time off for just you. Think about how positive you feel when you practice self care , and let that drive you forward in fitting it into your daily routine.
This change in your mindset will really help you to feel less guilty about saying ‘no’ to others in favor of self-care.
4. Be changeable
While it's great to set a schedule, the best self-carers know that sometimes plans change, and we have to move things around. Some days will be easier than others. Sometimes you may just have time for a quick 15 minutes at home work out, others you’ll run laps around the park for an hour. Things will get in the way, and remembering that this is a part of life is a part of making self-care your routine.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have enough time all the time, remember that tomorrow will be a new day! Stay flexible in how you achieve your self-care goals. Perhaps keep a list of a few self-care activities, and pick whichever you have the most time for.
5. Self-care through food
How many times have you worked through your lunch, eating at your desk? Or perhaps you live alone so you watch tv while you eat dinner. Try to eat your food with no distractions, and indulge yourself in the flavours you have created. Being mindful while eating a meal is a great way to partake in a little self-care - bonus points if you made your meal from scratch too!
6. Create a self-care space
Why not create a cosy space in your house just for you? It could be a whole room, or even a small corner of one. Create a zen like space, free of clutter that feels serene. Fill your space with beautiful colours and decorations, candles, pillows and cushions. Make it warm and inviting and personal to you. This will give you a space to escape and take some time to relax when you’ve had a tough day.
7. Get moving
Working out may feel like a chore, but looking after your body is one of the basic methods of self care. Exercise makes your brain release endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine, which work together to make you feel good. Find an exercise you love, it could be dancing, or boxing, or riding a bike! Do it with your friends to enjoy it even more.
8. Get off technology
Taking a break from social media is one of the most modern ways of self-care. Taking some time away from a screen will make you feel refreshed, and focused on yourself, rather than what everyone else is doing online. Social media can lead to mental health issues, and taking a break every now and again is a healthy way to do some self-care.
By Amy Cavill
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