There are so many iterations of self-care that people often confuse it with expensive products and luxuriant experiences. But at its very core, self-care means listening to your body and giving it what it truly needs beyond the basics. Apart from eating healthy food, self-care involves activities that make you feel good.
Don’t be intimated by social media posts that limit self-care to opulent spa retreats and expensive scented candles. Here’s how you can build a self-care routine that truly cares for the self.
Self-care is a set of activities that uplift the self, improve your physical and mental well-being, and empower you to perform duties expected of you and take care of others.
It is not synonymous with indulging in expensive purchases (though it may constitute “self-care” for others). It’s also not synonymous with being selfish. Ultimately, the goal of self-care is to make you a better version of yourself.
Self-Care Is Diverse
Self-care looks different for everybody. For one woman, self-care means taking a quiet stroll in the park to meet her daily steps goal. For another, self-care may involve logging off of social media for a few days. Self-care may also mean traveling to some exotic place alone for another woman.
Self-Care Is Good for You
Self-care is supposed to be something enjoyable and good for you. For instance, all your friends may hike for self-care, but if you’re not a fan of the outdoors, then it’s alright to sit out their next trip. If a luxuriant bath with scented candles and sweet-smelling bath bombs doesn’t energize or fulfill you, then this method of self-care is not for you.
Determine Things that Make You Feel Centered
To build your self-care ritual, determine the activities that are both 1) good for you and 2) bring you joy. If it’s not good for you (say, eating too much indulgent food or drinking beyond the daily recommended alcohol intake), it can’t be self-care. The same goes for activities that you don’t find enjoyable, even if it’s good for your physical health.
Here are some ideas you may look into:
- Taking a Walk. A healthy dose of sunshine floods your body with hormones that uplift the mood and help calm you down. You tune out the deafening buzz of the digital world and contribute to your fitness goals.
- You give yourself a quiet moment to gain a new perspective on stressful situations, reduce stress, and increase your self-awareness.
- Cooking and Baking. These activities offer a balance of repetition and innovation, which help calm the mind down. Moreover, it helps you improve your nutrition — a hallmark of healthy, conscious, and sober living for women.
- Following a Skin Care Routine. A popular self-care method, skin care routines help ground you before you start your day or after a long, tiring day.
- Writing your thoughts down is therapeutic because it helps you reflect on your ideas and experiences.
Set Realistic Goals for Your Self-Care Activities
It’s great if you could incorporate self-care into your everyday routines; however, it’s not always possible for everyone. People lead busy lives as a professional, parent, student, and member of a community.
So it’s better to set realistic goals for your self-care activities. This way, you can perform your rituals regularly until they become second nature. Goals help you stay on track and build healthy habits.
Here are some examples of goals for the sample activities mentioned above:
- Take a 20-Minute Walk Five Times a Week. It may seem small, but a 20-minute walk works wonders in shaking off the stress of the day.
- Meditate Before Starting the Day. It could be as fast as a 5-minute guided meditation session to help set the tone of a productive day.
- Cook at Least One Meal a Day. You may volunteer to take charge of dinner. No food deliveries are allowed.
- Use Sunscreen Every Day. Sunscreen is an important part of skin care, even if you’ll stay indoors the whole day. Sunscreen decreases your risk of skin cancer and prevents premature skin aging.
- Write a Journal Entry Every Sunday. Grab a notebook and reflect on your experiences, ideas, and feelings on the past week.
Adjust as Necessary
Once you’ve set self-care goals, you don’t have to stick with them forever. If you discover, for example, that you can’t cook dinner for your entire family every day and prefer to make breakfast, it’s fine to recalibrate and adjust as needed.
Remember, self-care is all about feeling empowered. It shouldn’t bog you down or disrupt a schedule that works. It’s all about setting aside a small moment in your life to do what’s best for you and brings you joy.