How to Make a Self-Care Guide That Works for You…and 5 Self-Care Tips to Try
1. Be Intentional.
Like any relationship, it takes intentionality to remain in tune with the wants, desires, and needs of that relationship. Self-care is just like building and maintaining any other relationship, except its building a relationship with yourself. You have to be intentional about knowing and discovering what you need to feel recharged. Here's some steps you can take to practice intentionality in your self-care regimen.
Take out a calendar on your phone or paper one and schedule time for self-care.
Make it a reoccurring thing so that you have something to look forward to.
Block off time in your mornings to read something insightful over a cup of tea before the world gets too busy.
2. Move your body.
Getting active and moving your body is a great thing to incorporate into your self-care regimen. There so many immediate benefits to getting active. According to the CDC, physical activity can reduce your risk of anxiety and depression and even improve your quality of sleep. I mean, isn't this our goal anyway, to be less stressed and live better?
It may be tough to make this a part of your regimen at first, especially if you're using these steps to help yourself heal from any past trauma or to actively pull yourself out of a rut. The good thing here is you can start minimally and without any skill. Here are some moderate activity tips you can start trying today that don't require much skill or a lot of strength:
A Brisk Walk - improves sleep, memory, and decreases anxiety
Yoga - reduces stress, improves physical fitness, and increases ability to concentrate
Walk Your Dog - reduces stress, improve bone health, decreases depression
Once you start making this a part of your routine, you will see great improvement. Don't be afraid to switch it up from time to time. If your normal walking trail gets boring, find a new one. Change up your meditation music for yoga or try a different class if you're participating in a group. Take your dog to a dog park instead of walking it alone. Continue to be flexible as your needs change.
3. Eat Well.
Typically, when you think of eating as a part of self-care, eating healthy doesn't come to mind at first. Comfort foods like mac-n-cheese, a fatty cheeseburger, or a milkshake is more of what you think about right? I would argue that while this is true, eating unhealthy comfort food isn't really self-care. What might make us feel good temporarily will leave us worse off in the long run.
Eating well as a form of self-care is important because it is helps sustain a healthy lifestyle physically and mentally. Here are 10 healthy foods to include in your diet to improve your mental health:
Dark Leafy Greens
4. Create a self-care agenda.
Whether you are planning for one self-care activity or putting together a whole self-care day, creating a rough agenda will help you be better prepared. This is useful just incase your self-care day or activity requires some preparation beforehand. It's best to prepare beforehand so that time won't cut into the time you set aside for your self-care. Here's an example of some things to include in your self-care agenda:
Breakfast at home while watching your favorite show or breakfast at your favorite café
A light walk in the park or light exercise at the gym
A massage or manicure / pedicure
Meditate or journal
Order lunch to go
A session with your counselor or therapist
Dinner with a friend or significant other
Again, use this as a guide to help come up with an agenda that works for YOU!
4. Dance it out.
One of my favorite shows is Grey's Anatomy and I love the scene where Meredith and Christina 'dance it out'. To them, it was a way to relieve stress after a crazy shift or when someone inevitably dies. I know, seems grim, but I promise the show is amazing!
But surprisingly, 'dancing it out' really helps! It helps to relieve stress and tension. To me, it's the easiest self-care tip on this list because you can literally do this anytime of the day without any planning or preparation and it will instantly boost your mood or release your tension...whichever is needed for that moment.
Allow yourself to let loose for 3-5 minutes, however long your favorite dance song is and 'dance it out.' Don't worry about who's watching. Just dance!
Thank me later.
. . . .
I hope these tips help you develop a self-care routine that works for you and your life. Don't be afraid to incorporate those tried and true things that currently work for you. Perhaps putting your favorite song on repeat while cooking your favorite meal helps you unwind. Drop a comment and let me know what you find that helps keep you centered and relaxed.
Until next time,
Stay Authentic, Keep Growing,