Most people know how important it is to practice the right self-care routine. Of course, knowing that self-care is good for you, and actually implementing it into your life are two very different things.
For most people, a self-care routine is just another chore to add to the bottom of their to-do list. However, if you take the time to look at things like "Maslow's hierarchy of Needs," you'll discover that self-care is a critical part of living a healthy and satisfying life.
Though we should all try to make time to help other people in our lives, that shouldn't mean that you constantly ignore your own needs. Without any self-care, you begin to suffer from mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that simply prevents you from making the most of your life.
So, how do you review your self-care routine, and create a schedule of support you can stick to?
Creating a Routine That You Can Commit To
For most, the challenge isn't figuring out whether you need a self-care routine, or even determining whether yours is beginning to suffer. If you're always exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed, and neglecting your basic needs, then you need self-care.
The trouble is, a good self-care routine takes time, commitment and effort. When you're already struggling with a hectic schedule, it can seem like too much to even take five minutes aside to sit in silence. In fact, you may even convince yourself that those "me moments" aren't as important as they seem.
Whether you're just getting started with self-care, or you need help getting back into a routine you can stick to; the following tips should help.
1. Wake Up Early
If you're not a morning person, this probably isn't the kind of tip you were looking for. As difficult as it can be to drag yourself out of bed to the sound of a blaring alarm, the truth is that even an extra fifteen minutes added to your day can help to remove some of the chaos in your schedule. The moments you first wake up are a fantastic opportunity to set your mood for the rest of the day.
What's more, if you get your self-care routine started first thing, you're more likely to keep yourself in mind as you move through the rest of your schedule too. Wake up fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and do something that's exclusively for you. That doesn't mean getting ahead by checking your work emails. Sit down and listen to some uplifting music, relax with a little yoga, or try meditation.
2. Make a Healthy Meal Every Day
Healthy eating habits are a common component of a good self-care routine. The good news is that you don't need to do a drastic detox or a juice cleanse to get yourself back into the right place after some time away from your self-care strategy. You don't even need to jump into the latest diet craze, all you need to do is make sure that you're getting the right dose of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins whenever you can.
Instead of trying to revamp your entire eating strategy, focus on making one healthy meal a day, and supplementing it with healthy decisions throughout your schedule. For instance, you might have a green salad for lunch, and a cup of freshly-ground coffee to go with it. Fresh coffee beans are actually packed full of antioxidants, and they can give you the boost you need to get through the rest of your routine with a smile.
3. Keep It Simple
One of the biggest things stopping people from reviewing their self-care routine is the worry that they won't be able to follow a strict schedule. You don't need to plan every second of your day to make sure that you're looking after yourself. Instead, you just need to start with a few simple changes. For instance, start by looking at your current list of priorities.
Most people put work and earning money at the top, then family next, then time for themselves somewhere near the bottom. Every so often, put some time in your schedule to flip your priorities around. Forget about work for fifteen minutes and do something fun that just benefits you. This is your opportunity to indulge in listening to your favorite tunes or watching a great show without any judgment. You're not selfish; you're looking after yourself.
4. Get Some More Sleep
Sleep is a basic human need, but it's also something we forget about when we're neglecting our self-care routines. While it's tempting to push yourself as hard as your mind and body will allow to accomplish your career or personal goals, it's worth remembering that you're only human. Your brain and body need time to recuperate, so make sure that you're still finding enough time for at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Not only will a good sleep strategy help you to handle your hectic day, but it should also assist in making you a more energetic and focused person. Without exhaustion plaguing all your thoughts, you can concentrate on each challenge as it presents itself to you and avoid the risk of common mental health problems like stress, anxiety or depression.
5. Protect your Boundaries
If you're a parent, a caregiver, or just someone with a lot of people who rely on you, then you may have forgotten what "boundaries" actually are. Your boundaries are your basic limits, and they help people around you to respect your need for self-care so that you're more likely to stick to your routine. If you put your boundaries in place carefully, you can remind your husband, wife, children, and anyone else in your social circle that you need time for you, too.
As hard as it can be to say "no," or ignore the people who are closest to you, it's critical to communicate your boundaries with your words, and your actions if you want your self-care routine to be successful. Ultimately, if you let other people see that you don't see self-care as a priority, then they won't treat it as important either.
6. Stay Flexible
Finally, it's important to remember that no matter how hard you try, and how carefully you plan, sometimes your schedule can get the better of you. It will be easier to practice self-care on some days than it is on others, and that's fine. Just because you fall off the wagon at times doesn't mean you should give up on your strategy altogether.
Don't be too hard on yourself and remind yourself that life can be overwhelming. Just make sure that you don't allow yourself to constantly ignore your needs or put your self-care routine to the back of your schedule too often. Take it one step at a time, be flexible, and eventually, you'll get to where you need to be.
Caroline is a devoted online author and a health enthusiast who likes to stay up to date with the latest mental fitness and wellness news. When she's not looking for ways to expand her mind and enlighten her spirit, Caroline enjoys relaxing with a cup of coffee, listening to music, and spending time with her family.