I have been thinking a lot about self-care because so many of my clients and friends struggle with making it a priority. I taught on this topic last week but decided to write a post with my tips on establishing a self-care routine, as this is the place where people seem to have the most questions.
Before you get started, take this quick quiz to see where you are on the Self-Care Continuum. It will take less than 5 minutes and will give you a good idea of your starting point with self-care (it opens up into a new window so you won’t lose your place ). Once you’ve taken the quiz, come back here and keep reading.
Name What You Need
Begin crafting your own individualized self-care routine by writing down a list of the things that make you feel good or happy, are fun for you, or inspire you. These can be activities you do alone or with other people.
I actually encourage you to do this step over several days because I want you to pay attention to the moments that you are feeling joy or feeling inspired so you can capture them on your list. Keep your list with you and write down the activities or moments as they come to you.
As you generate your list, think of things that truly nourish and nurture you because those are the things that will fill up your well being tank. Stay away from any talk of “should” and instead think only of things that feel good to you.
Break It Down
Once you have a pretty good size list, the next step to establishing a self-care routine, is to get them scheduled into your life. You and I both know that if you don’t schedule it, you won’t do it. Break your list down into daily, weekly, monthly, and annual activities.
Look at your list and decide which items need to be a part of your daily routine so that you are making you a priority every day. It can be as simple as a cup of tea before bed every night (which is part of my self-care routine) or as complex as run 5 miles every day (which would NEVER appear as part of my routine but could on my friend who is a runner’s list). The point is for you to do something every day that nourishes your soul.
Put them on your calendar and set alarms if necessary. I have several alarms that go off on my phone every evening to help me with my soul care. Those alarms act as gentle reminders to do what I know to do, to make sure I keep me a priority. You can do the same for weekly and monthly items.
Do Nothing Day
One thing I recommend to my clients is to schedule a Do Nothing Day at least once a month. Do Nothing Day is a day set aside for you to move at a pace and a rhythm that is governed by what you want to do in the moment and not what your calendar is telling you. It doesn’t mean you actually do nothing, although the first time you may actually end up doing nothing. Instead, on a DND you do nothing that has you up against a clock or a schedule.
You don’t wake up to an alarm; instead you let your body tell you when it has had enough rest. You eat meals in an unhurried manner and if you do any activities, it is only things that are truly enjoyable. This might mean sitting on the couch catching up on your favorite show or it might mean going for a long walk.
The key is that you are not doing anything that feels like something you “should” be doing. Do Nothing Day acts a reset for your body and your mind and is surprisingly helpful to get you going again.
Don’t Forget the Basics
As you draft your list don’t forget the basics. Be sure to include preventative visits to your doctor and dentist. These are often overlooked as part of self-care but are important components to keeping you physically healthy.
Also remember to include things like eating a wide variety of fruits of veggies and drinking enough water every day. Eating foods in their natural state is a great way to fuel your body naturally instead of with overly processed food items that have very little nutritional value. The practice of eating healthy foods is a good source of self-care.
Self-care has to become a priority or you will have nothing to give to the people around you who need you. Make it a regular part of your life and watch the difference it will make for you.
How are you with self-care? Is it a regular part of your days or something that is overlooked? Let me know in the comments below.
From my heart to yours,
If you would like some support in establishing a self-care routine, click here to schedule a complimentary coaching session. It won’t cost you anything and you’ll walk away with an actionable plan to get you moving towards making a self-care a priority. Schedule your free session today.