Fact: Everyone should have a self care routine. Given that in today’s society, productivity and success have taken the spotlight away from relationships and health, so, self care is more essential than ever. Fortunately, you probably already practice one or more types of self care.
There’s no mystery to self care; it is precisely like it sounds. What is harder to accept is that each of us needs it and that, when it’s lacking, the repercussions will manifest in many areas of our lives. We usually only realize that self care is essential when our physical and mental health have already declined.
Not to worry! Below are some self care ideas you can start incorporating into your life today to prevent further deterioration and stress.
How can you get into the habit of practicing self care daily?
Before you can establish and follow a self care routine, you need to believe that it is important.
Consider the following questions and try to tune in to the feelings and sensations that arise.
How do you feel when you haven’t had time off from work in several weeks? Does it affect your mental health? Your physical health?
In contrast, how do you feel after you’ve taken time to do something you love, unpaid or not? How does it feel to treat yourself to a movie at the theater or a day at the spa?
By becoming more mindful of how your energy and motivation levels shift, depending on how much time you’ve dedicated to yourself and if you’ve practiced self care, you’ll start to notice a pattern. Generally speaking, if you’ve taken some time to nurture, pamper, and prioritize your wellbeing through self care activities, you’ll find that other areas of your life improve, too.
If it’s that powerful, it’s worth it.
The next step would be to develop a self care routine with activities that you can practice daily or even weekly.
Start with activities that are convenient and easy to accomplish and you overall genuinely enjoy. The following section will provide some self care ideas for your mind, body, and soul—they’re all connected.
Self care Ideas for Your Mind
Have you ever noticed that even if you’ve exhausted your body through exercise, your mind is still active? Though they are intricately connected, our mind responds to different stimuli than our bodies. Similarly, it requires different types of care. Here are a few ideas to include in your self care routine:
Disconnect from your electronic devices for two hours before bed
You’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting for the body, but what about fasting for the brain? As is the case with our bodies, our minds also need a break from excessive input. Often, this overload of stimuli comes in the form of social media, news, and blue light.
By unplugging 1–2 hours before going to sleep, you’re facilitating a more relaxed mental state as you enter the sleep cycle, which will improve the quality of your sleep. Better sleep means more energy the next day. – should do sleep hygiene blog (JBH)
Read a good book
Instead of scrolling through Instagram posts for 1–2 hours before catching some z’s, snuggle into a cozy blanket or play some light music in the background and read a compelling book. Reading a real book with actual pages is ideal and more likely to relax your brain, slow your breathing, and get it ready for sleep. – how you breathe matters….another blog (JBH)
Self care Ideas for Your Body
Most people assume exercise is the ultimate self care activity for your body, and it is definitely good for your body, but sometimes what you need is to simply chill. Forget about your weight goals for a day and give your body what it’s likely already demanding.
In some countries, like Thailand, massage is part of daily life. After work, many people go to a local massage parlor before heading home. It relaxes the muscles, aids in draining toxins, and stills the mind. It also provides essential (nonsexual) human touch that we may be lacking.
Even if you can’t afford to get a professional massage, you can give yourself one. Ayurvedic daily massage, or abhyanga, is one such practice that is easy to adopt as part of your daily routine.
A short and relaxing 20-minute yoga session can do wonders for the body. At night, it prepares your body for sleep. In the morning, it provides the energy and concentration you need to get through the day. There are numerous free, guided yoga sessions online—this is one of my favorites.
Self care Ideas for Your Soul
Do you think much about the state of your soul? The soul, often linked to the concept of spirituality, is abstract and subtle, yet somehow always present. What brings you joy and meaning? Do you feel fulfilled? Peaceful? These feelings relate to the soul and are the elements that combine to create a unique connection.
Spend time in nature
You’ve probably noticed how time in nature feels nourishing. When you’re in a field, lying in the sun, your eyes instinctively close, your breath relaxes, and so does your body. Though many of us choose to live in an urban jungle, a connection to nature exists within each of us.
Next weekend, take a day off and go for a walk or hike in a nearby park. Turn off your phone, bring a book, a small speaker to play music on, and something to sit on. You won’t regret it.
In psychology we talk about positive self talk…important label that will be used in other places (JBH)
We live in a critical world. Frustration and impatience are feelings that pop up throughout the day, and it’s important to offset these with feelings of gratitude.
Before going to sleep each night, think of three things for which you’re grateful.
Every time your self-esteem dips and you start feeling inadequate, take a break and think about that for which you are grateful; yourself, your health, your abilities.
Before long, you’ll be practicing gratitude several times throughout the day and reaping the rewards.
How to Create a Self-care Routine Journal
Journaling is a type of self-care that we can all use and benefit from in our daily lives—definitely include it in your self-care routine! It provides a private outlet for the negative feelings and emotions we might otherwise keep bottled up. It also helps us examine our relationships and reactions to situations, as well as the people and things for which we’re thankful.
The benefits of journaling aren’t always immediate, but you’ll find that you start to understand yourself better as you journal a few times a week. Journaling is spending time with yourself but on a more profound level.
What are some other activities you would add to your self-care? Remember that your routine should meet your personal needs and work with your schedule, though it’s never a bad idea to push beyond your comfort zone if it improves your wellbeing.