Self-care is just another word we give to allowing ourselves to take meaningful breaks when we need them the most.
And it’s a very personal thing for each of us at that.
The freedom to define what self-care looks like for you means there are endless ways to go about it.
This could look like letting your body rest, allowing yourself to not be mentally ‘on’ all the time, scheduling time off your phone, enjoying a movie guilt-free, or making sure you’re getting the proper nutrition by meal prepping on a Sunday.
While there are lots of ways to go about self-care, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on new ways to go about it for improvement’s sake.
But what exactly are these self-care practices and how can you start using them to make sure you’re performing at your peak?
Let’s dive into a handy list of self-care practices to help you reach your life’s biggest goals.
Set designated downtime at night
Boundaries exist for a reason, and if you can apply a boundary to your nights each week they can do wonders for regulating your sleep pattern.
Managing to start getting ready for bed at a certain time no matter how good the TV show is or how much you want to stay up texting is a great habit that will serve you for years to come once you get it down.
One way to set up a designated time to start winding down and falling asleep is scheduling your phone’s airplane mode after a certain time.
This way you aren’t distracted by all the pinging and notifications that always find their way to you at night.
You can also make sure that you set up a daily alarm for yourself Monday through Friday. The time is up to you, since we each know our sleep pattern best.
The general ideas is that you set a habit to always give yourself the time you need to wind down and get as much sleep as you need before starting the next day.
Your body, as it ages over the years, will thank you.
Meal prep as much as possible
Meal prepping is the number one way to make sure you’re getting the best nutrition possible on the daily.
True, you might be running around from one place to the other busy as an ant, but you can always make time over the weekend or cancel a less important event to dedicate to spending time prepping make-ahead meals that are grab-and-go when you need a quick and healthy bite.
This way you’re more likely to avoid going for the processed frozen pizza or the 3 minute ramen noodles.
You can choose to meal prep for just about any meal in your day. This can mean making breakfast meal preps in mason jars, creating healthy lunch salads, or creating make-ahead meals you can make in a crockpot or pop in the oven for dinner.
Once you gather a few ingredients, time, and reusable Tupperware to create your meal preps for the week, you’ll be amazed at how fast you can create them and just how much they save your day (and your pocket).
Find a ‘silly’ hobby
Not everything in your life has to have some sort of intense meaning. And not everything you do has to be ‘monetized.’
Sometimes finding an easy or ‘silly’ hobby where you can let your mind wander is great for stress release and re-centering your nervous system.
This can mean learning to skate, learning to crochet and making a scarf, or simply coloring some challenging coloring pages in silence for an hour.
Giving yourself downtime is important and can’t be stressed enough. Humans aren’t necessarily designed to be ‘on’ all the time. Once we embrace that we’ll have an easier time recharging and engaging with work again.
Keep in touch with the most important people in your life at least weekly
This is a great way to calm the nervous system if you aren’t particularly having an easy week.
Talking to your loved ones, the ones that are the most important in your life, is a great way to release tension, not feel alone, and distract yourself from the daily happenings of a busy schedule.
Touching base with the people that feel like home does wonders in calming you down and making you feel connected. It’s another way to meet a very constant and human need.
Keep a bullet journal or planner
This one can’t be stressed enough.
Keeping a bullet journal helps all your ‘to-dos’ not pile up into this overwhelming pile of things you need to get done.
It helps you organize your days and weeks in neat chunks and gets you tackling your day a lot better.
It’s simply a good habit to keep and yet another form of self-care.
All it takes is to simply start.
Journal your inner thoughts constantly
Right along with keeping a bullet journal or planner, journaling what you’re thinking, feeling, or going through can do wonders for your self growth.
And that’s because journaling helps clear your mind, especially if you do it daily.
And it helps you feel lighter in a sense, so you’re more present in whatever you’re doing and more willing to tackle your daily tasks.
Inner thoughts don’t have to be good or bad, you just have to allow them to just be thoughts. This helps when you’re trying to start a journaling habit that can help you stay focused and vibrant throughout the week.
Drink more water
This is a no-brainer but a no-brainer worth mentioning nonetheless.
Some great ways to ingest more water throughout your day are:
- Carry a cute water bottle that invites you to drink water
- Create fruit infused water combinations that you’ll enjoy drinking more
- If you go out to eat automatically default to asking for water with every meal
- Another great way to add water to your system is to create on-the-go snacks that revolve around fruits and cucumbers
Embrace failure and a growth mindset
Going right along with thoughts, sometimes failure is something lots of us don’t take lightly, and they put a damper on our productivity and creativity.
But embracing a growth mindset and allowing yourself to fail can be one of the greatest things you can do to take care of yourself. That way you don’t viciously berate yourself every time you fail, whether its big or small.
Instead you replace those ‘self chastising’ thoughts with better thoughts.
And one great way to embrace failure and adopt a growth mindset is to journal about it!
Take a slow bath
Allow yourself to slow down by taking a slow bath.
Now, a bath doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money on flower petals, fancy Yankee Candles, essential oils, and pricey bath bombs.
A slow bath can just mean allowing yourself to sit in warm water while you meditate in your favorite bubble bath soap. Really, it’s all about finding something practical that revolves around whatever works for you and your schedule.
Slow baths can be a great way to relax without having to book a pricey spa session.
Create a walk routine
Go out for a walk. This is especially helpful if you’re a stay at home mom, work from home, or are a student that spends a lot of time sitting down in classrooms.
Finding a walking route that you can take daily or at least once a week by yourself or with a favorite friend can help put you at ease and give you some of that down time you need in a natural environment.
And spending time in nature helps put us in a better mindset.
Keep a habit tracker
Keeping a habit tracker is a step in the right direction if you’re trying to completely change your lifestyle for the better. One of the best ways we can care for ourselves is to keep the promises we make to us.
This way we grow in confidence day to day, as we reach for the goals and milestones that are near and dear and personal to you.
Keeping a habit tracker can mean improving your every day habits, starting new ones, and getting rid of old ones.
It’s practical, it’s easy, and it’s worth doing as a small every day self-care act of kindness to yourself.
Tie it all together
Contrary to popular belief, self care is NOT going out and buying a bunch of clothes and makeup because you’re ‘worth it’ or drinking all the sugar filled lattes as a ‘treat’ to yourself.
Self-care revolves around meeting your fundamental human needs so that you can show up, be more present, and function better in your day to day life.
And if we can get better and better at this with a little bit of self care each day or each week, it adds up over time.
And you grow to achieve amazing things in your life.