Self-is is more than just about doing yoga and going to the spa. Here are the best ways on how to feel rejuvenated and fresh to meet each new challenge in your life.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t just require a proper diet, healthy exercise, and enough sleep. It’s not just about the body. It’s also about the mind and the soul. This holistic approach to self-care is crucial if you don’t want to be overwhelmed by all the problems and stress in your life.
You have to include a time in your schedule for rejuvenation and recuperation. After all, even cars need some time in the garage. But you don’t need a full-time mechanic to take care of your mental health. You can devise a self-care routine that’s simple and takes only a little bit of time and effort. You’d be amazed by how much these little things can help in making you feel a lot better about yourself and about your life.
Self-care acts may seem a bit silly or even self-indulgent, but your physical health is also tied to your mental and emotional state. A self-care routine can reduce your overall stress, and many doctors consider stress as an underlying cause for a long list of physical maladies.
So, try any of these practices and see if they can help.
Why Do You Need Self-Care?
This isn’t a rhetorical question. It’s actually what you need to ask yourself even before you try to plan for a self-care routine. What stresses you out? What do you want to minimize in your life, and what do you want more instead?
In other words, you need clear goals. Maybe you want to feel better because you realize you’re working too hard. Perhaps you feel more stressed when you recognize how you often put others first before yourself. Or maybe you’re just too easily distracted, and you want to feel more focused. Knowing your goals is the key—you’re then able to identify what kind of routine will help you achieve those goals.
Identify Your Fundamental Needs
You can’t help others when you’re the one who needs immediate care. It’s like being in a serious car accident. You can’t go around trying to help others when you yourself are bleeding out.
This starts with the very basic needs. What does every human require? You need food and water, air to breathe in, a roof over your head, medicines for ailments, and hygienic needs. You need enough sleep. You also need some human contact now and then, some form of entertainment, and rest periods.
List Down Ideas
Getting things down on paper helps you make things more real. Once you’re aware of your motivation, list down the things you can do that helps to rejuvenate your mind and soul. You can then group these items according to how much effort (or how much money) you would need to expend for each activity.
A 1st level activity would be something small and easy you can do for yourself on a regular basis. Perhaps you can schedule a small break for yourself every afternoon for a cup of coffee or tea, during which you can relax and savor your drink. This can be a small bite of chocolate at home, or perhaps a favorite snack.
A 2nd level activity may take a bit of planning. This can be something like a nice bubble bath every now and then, or maybe scheduling a lunch date with a friend. These are the activities that can help you take a break from the stresses of your workplace or tensions in your social life.
A 3rd level activity is something a lot more complicated. One good example is a weekend vacation, though a longer holiday break is also good every now and then.
These lists can also include your particular motivations. You may even write down any potential hurdles along the way, and the options you have on overcoming these potential issues. Just write them all down. The problems become real so you’re more apt to face them, and your options become more real as well. You can then realize that many of these problems can be overcome.
You can write things down as a 1-time exercise, but you can continue writing things down in your journal. Plenty of people have realized that maintaining a journal can be spiritually uplifting.
A Single Small Step
A long journey starts with a small step. Starting a self-care routine is a bit like starting a workout regimen. When you exercise, you warm up first and start with comfortable weight to lift before you add to the weights. The same goes for your self-care routine.
Perhaps your ideal day includes a 15-minute meditation period, going to the gym 4 times a week, cooking for yourself on weekends, and dining with a friend once a week. You don’t have to start everything at once. Pick one of these things to incorporate into your schedule, and then add another one of them after a week or so. Don’t change your life too drastically, as the shock may not be all that comforting at all.
When you do add an activity for self-care into your schedule, you need to make sure you then do it on a regular basis. You have to be consistent. What you’re doing is to try and develop a good habit that helps to maintain your inner equilibrium.
Take the activity of just having a favorite cup of coffee at 3 PM every day. You can cleanse your mind as you enjoy the taste, while the caffeine does its work in waking you up. Eventually, you will look forward to this activity each day, which helps to motivate you in the first part of your workday.
If you don’t do things regularly, you can end up forgetting to do them and you won’t develop the good habit and practice you’re going for. But by developing a good habit, you get used to the self-care benefits you enjoy when you do these self-care activities.
Stick to Your Schedule
To help make sure you develop a good habitual routine, you have to set things on a schedule. You then have to keep to that schedule. It may seem petty and silly to always enjoy that cup of coffee at 3 PM and not at any other time, but it helps you to regard is as a serious part of your routine.
Think of each activity as a business meeting with an important client, or a get-together with a friend. You wouldn’t just cancel these meetings without good reason, because these meetings are important for work or for your social life. The same goes for your self-care activities. You shouldn’t cancel these activities without a good cause because they’re important for your well-being. This time, you’re prioritizing your own needs, and you’re just as important as other people.
So, when you insert even a 5-minute meditation break into your schedule, stick to it. Just as you reserve time for others and don’t miss meetings out of respect for others, you also should stick to your schedule out of respect for yourself.
Add a New Activity in Between 2 Current Habits
Let’s say you want to meditate for just 5 minutes a day. When you should put this in your schedule? You can put this in between taking a shower and then brushing your teeth. Showering and brushing your teeth in the morning are things you do generally at the same time and same place. By incorporating the meditation between 2 firmly held practices, you’re more likely to maintain that new habit you’re trying to develop.
Start Saying “No”
For some people, this is much harder than it may seem. Some cultural groups hate social disharmony and conflict, which is why they have a very difficult time saying no. It’s just too confrontational.
Other people are genuinely caring, and they take great pleasure in helping out. This means they often agree to help whenever someone asks.
If you’re one these people, you have to stop yourself from saying “yes” automatically every time someone asks for help. This doesn’t mean you stop helping. It only means you first consider the cost to yourself when you have to help someone else. You have to keep in mind that you also need to help yourself.
It’s one thing if someone asks for help and you can give that help at little cost. But it’s another thing entirely when that help you provide stresses you out and wreaks havoc on your emotional and mental well-being. When you say no in these circumstances, you’re not being selfish. You’re just taking care of yourself—no one else will!
Find a Friend to Act as Cheerleader
This is a friend to which you can be accountable so that you stick to your self-care routine. It helps people sometimes when social pressure encourages them to stick to attaining their self-care goals. Social groups can also encourage you, and you can all help each other when you all share the same self-care goals.
Also, check out these 8 Ways to Recalibrate the Body to Boost Energy