Self-care is one of those things that can easily be forgotten or seem like an afterthought, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle.
However, establishing a self-care routine is one of the best things I’ve done for myself. Personally, learning to take care of my emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health has made a huge difference in my life. When I put myself first and take time to take care of me, I feel nourished, and my life is so much better for it.
So here are my top 7 tips for starting a self-care routine:
Journaling has become one of my favorite self-care practices because it can be done anywhere and at any time. It takes minimal commitment, and there is no right or wrong way to journal. But I have found that the impact is tremendous!
My advice to get started is to simply open your journal and do a brain dump. Don’t worry about what you are writing, just write whatever is on your mind and let it flow from there. Some days, you might write a few lines, other days it might be a bit longer. It doesn’t really matter, and that is the beauty of it! The most important thing is to do what feels natural and right to you.
Giving yourself a few minutes every day to slow down, breathe, and cultivate your awareness through meditation can have profound effects on your psyche. Meditation is proven to increase concentration and regulate moods. Accessible and user-friendly apps (in addition to online videos) are great because they guide you through daily meditations focused on a variety of topics.
Movement doesn’t have to include a grueling, sweaty workout if that’s not your thing. Moving your body is one of the fundamental things you can do to take care of yourself and clear your mind, but dragging yourself to do an activity that you hate, or pushing yourself to burn out at the gym is the opposite of self-care if you feel negatively about doing so.
The good news is: You have other options! It only takes a few minutes to connect and activate your body. Some of my favorite ways to do so are going to a yoga class, dancing to my favorite music in my living room or going for a walk during my lunch break. Find what feels good for you and do that. We all deserve that hit of endorphins.
Being constantly connected has become the norm, but it can lead to a frenzied state and being on your phone draws your attention away from the present moment. Changing your technology habits can have a substantial impact on lowering anxiety. For example, I recently did my first 7-day phone and social media detox, and it was one of the most liberating experiences I’ve had.
I’m not saying you need to commit to unplugging for a whole week, but you can try to find smaller other ways to disconnect. I suggest trying to avoid checking your phone first thing in the morning, establishing a cut off time at night or choosing a day once a week when you go tech-free.
Create and Play:
Schedule time to play, dance or create! Giving yourself permission to have fun just for the sake of having fun and look for opportunities that inspire creativity is such a gift. Tapping into your inner child is a great way to practice self-care. Buy yourself a set of colored pencils, sign up for a dance class, spend time with family members who still appreciate what it means to “play.”
Write yourself a love note:
At first this may seem silly, but I have found that when I love myself and actually tell myself so, it helps increase my satisfaction in life. Writing yourself a love letter is a wonderful practice as it reminds you to focus on positivity and self-love. Take some time this week to write yourself a little love note. It can be as long or as short as feels right. It can even be a sticky note on your mirror. Let yourself know that you are proud of some qualities you possess or something you did. Whatever you value and cherish about yourself, write it down and reaffirm it.
Take yourself on a date:
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, making time to connect with yourself and show yourself appreciation is very important. Just like you might schedule brunch or drinks with your friends, schedule dates with yourself. Book a monthly spa treatment, weekly mani, curl up with a good book, take yourself out to dinner, a movie, or an art gallery. Do whatever makes you feel good.
This blog post first appeared on Actually She Can.