Self-care goes beyond the occasional mani-pedi or massage. While these are great examples of taking time for yourself, in order to reap the substantial benefits of self-care, you must make a consistent commitment and expand your routine of caring for yourself to nourish all levels of your being.
First, let’s define what self-care means. Self-care is an activity that nurtures and refuels you at a deep level. Each of us has many sides that make us whole:
• Physical body
• Relationship to self
• Emotional and mental state
• Relationship to others
• Spiritual beliefs
These areas offer unique spaces for care and attention.
EXAMPLES OF SELF-CARE
• Ample quality sleep • Checkups • Healthy diet • Regular exercise
Emotional and Mental State
• Massage • Acupuncture • Baths • Daily outdoor time • Laughter • Crying • Hobbies • Loving • Free writing
• Reading • Morning and/or evening routines • Budgeting • Traveling
• Nature walks • Meditation and prayer • Religious practices • Yoga • Forgiveness
• Gratitude • Creating time to just be
Relationship to Self
• Daily journal • Engaging the senses • Cooking • Vision boards • Positive self-talk • Goal setting
• Alone time • Celebrating your successes • Treating yourself to what’s important to you
Relationship to Others
• Dating • Joining a club or group • Time with friends • Time with children • Family visits • Vacationing
• Conversations • Getting involved in a cause • Communicating your wants and needs
• Boundary setting • Goal setting • Supporting and acknowledging yourself and others
• Taking time off • Learning new skills • Self-advocating
In the realm of self-care, the options are limitless. The key is to identify which areas of your life need attention and engage in activities that support you on a regular basis. You may find that what works for you changes over time. Perhaps you recognize a need for connections at some point, so your daily exercise goes from a solo run to a walk with a friend.
Which areas of your life would you like to focus some specific attention?
Choose one area and brainstorm five self-care activities that might work for you
Keep in mind that your participation in self-care will ebb and flow. The areas of your life that need balance will shift and the ways you want to fill those needs will change as well. How self-care looks in your life may change drastically from one period to the next, but it’s important that the routine – and the consistent effort of caring for yourself – is always present.
Here are some ways to stay consistent:
• Take time each week to check in with yourself and identify which areas need support.
• Choose the activities you will engage in on a weekly basis.
• Schedule time in your calendar for each item.
• Enlist the support of friends and family for those items that require extra accountability.
• Trust and empower the people you care for to take care of themselves so that you can take care of yourself.
• Make it easier for yourself by making your environment conducive to your activities.
• Be present during self-care rituals.
• Start small and build on practices that best serve you over time.
The final piece in creating effective self-care rituals is establishing a positive attitude and a determined mindset. By allowing yourself the time and space to practice self-care without negative emotions weighing you down, you and those around you will reap the benefits. Your energy and enthusiasm for life will shine and you will begin to attract the people and things in your life that you most desire.