Tough times can start to feel overwhelming and self-care can seem impossible, but in challenging times self-care can shift your perspective and improve your mood.
Eating clean, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule are necessary for overall health and well-being, but there is power and an essential quality to practicing self-care. Self-care is in fact necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and can improve your life substantially.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is an action intentionally taken to care for mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual health. Self-care can serve as a mood booster, and can also reduce anxiety. Practicing good self-care habits, speaks to the condition of one’s relationship with Self.
Knowing the difference between what self-care is, and what self-care is not, is important. Self-care is never forced, and is always enjoyable, it refuels the spirit as opposed to draining energy. When self-care is a new practice it can feel selfish, this is a reflection of giving too much to others. Self-care in fact indicates intimately knowing and understanding personal needs. Furthermore, self-care creates space for being able to healthily pour into others. There is no way to pour from an empty cup.
The Rules of Self-Care
Come up with a self-care plan. Self-care is an active choice and without planning it is easy to deprioritize self-care. Keeping a schedule can support a healthy rhythm and routine; increase commitment to yourself; and offer you something exciting or nurturing to look forward to.
Start with the basics. Choose reasonable self-care routines. As you explore a new self-care routine, it will be easy to decide what works best.
Be present. Intentional self-care is absolutely necessary. Turning your mind towards self-care will almost instantly give your self-care routine power. When conscious actions are not taken, they lose their power. Think about what you are doing, why you are doing it, how it feels, and the potential outcome.
Why a “No” List is Necessary
A “no” list can help to establish healthy boundaries. This list will include the things you no longer want to do. A “no” list outlines unhealthy habits and supports establishing more healthy patterns and routines. This list might include cell phone boundaries or exercising your right to say no.
Self-Care v Basic Necessity
There is a definitive line between self-care and basic needs. Basic necessities should not be in question and when they are, it is time to reevaluate. Basic necessity include:
Nutritious and healthy food
Healthy sleep habits
There are many ways to practice self-care, and since everyone is different, it is vital to find something that makes sense. Carve out some time each day to prioritize self-care, and do one thing at a time to avoid overwhelm. This list offers many self-care ideas. Here is your starting point:
Go on a leisurely walk
Try a new recipe
Try a homemade face mask, or buy a face mask from your favorite beauty line
Listen to your favorite music, and maybe even have your own dance party
Set screen time limits (see “no” list)
Read a book just for fun
Enjoy a cup of tea
Create an indulgent post shower ritual
Make your bath or shower into an aromatherapy experience
Plan a spa day
Check in on your basic necessities-- are you hungry or thirsty?
Be creative-- paint, draw, sculpt, or invest in in an adult coloring book
Schedule regular checkups with doctors, dentists, and optometrists
Spend time with loved ones
Watch a movie
Hold a smile for 30 seconds