Self-care can mean a lot of different things to different people. There’s no one right away to go about it, so anything and everything that rejuvenates you can fall under the category of self-care. Whatever you need to be your best you and live your best life, that’s self-care for you.
What is common among people who try to practice self-care is – well, the inability to actually practice it. We sometimes get caught up in how self-care needs to be done in a particular way or for a specific length of time in order for it to “count” as self-care. It’s what a lot of blogs and Pinterest boards say, after all, so it’s easy to get stuck on certain ideas of self-care.
While there are a lot of activities that most people tend to find relaxing, the truth is, any activity that takes care of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing falls under the grand umbrella of self-care. It can be as grand as a day full of spa treatments, complete with a sumptuous brunch with friends. It can be as small as turning off the notifications on your phone each night, or rewatching your favorite sitcom for the bajillionth time.
Keeping up with your self-care does take some time and practice in order for it to truly become a habit in your daily life. Some people get stuck with making lists that are too long or too full of activities, making it impossible to keep up with on a day-to-day basis. Self-care really does need to be a daily act, so here are three tips to help you create a self-care checklist that’s just right for you.
1. Time is of the essence.
Your day has 24 hours. Consider what you do each day and how much time you spend doing it. Starting with your time allows you to create a realistic list you can actually stick to. Take an audit of your day and control your schedule, don’t let your schedule control you. Tick off your non-negotiables like work or family obligations, and see where you can trim some time off, like social media use. You may find that you have at least half an hour to an hour free each day. Instead of using that to check email or catch up with work, why not do something for yourself instead?
2. Keep it simple, silly.
Self-care can have this reputation for being overly complex. It’s not all spa days and brunches, it’s also about starting with the basics. Before you start planning a weekend yoga retreat or a rock climbing expedition, ask yourself the basic questions. Am I getting enough sleep? Am I eating enough nutritious food? The care for your self begins with these simple questions. Put the basics on your list first, like sleeping an hour earlier, turning off your alarm on weekends, or replacing one meal with greens. From there, you can expand into the other aspects of your life, like your relationships, personal goals, and creative pursuits.
3. Begin with baby steps.
An hour of meditation each day has a lot of benefits. But, if you’re coming from zero minutes of meditation right up to sixty, that can be quite a challenge. Mindfulness and meditation, like any habits, are things you need to work up towards, so try setting smaller goals for yourself at first. Try meditating for five minutes a day for a week, then ten. See how you feel about it. This works for any other self-care habit you can think of, like daily reading or solo yoga. Ease into it so your mind and body get more used to the habit.
Regardless of how you go about making your list, the most important part is to actually go and tick some of those off! Whether you’re the type of person to actively schedule self-care or if you find yourself practicing your self-care habits at random, don’t forget to check your list to see if you’re on track. A weekly self-check should suffice. Don’t feel pressured to do everything on your list all at once, but take comfort and pride in the fact that you’re doing a little bit of good for yourself each day.
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