Self-care is not a luxury, is not optional and is not occasional. Self-care is fundamental, mandatory and frequent. Self-care is absolutely essential to your mental, emotional and physical well being.
Often we think about self-care as a special treat, something that we have to plan and prepare for. But self-care needs to be a part of your everyday routine. Using information from How To Start a Self-Care Routine (and Stick To It) – Cleveland Clinic, here's some tips for making self-care part of your daily life.
What is self-care?
According to Dr. Matthew Saco, "Self-care is something we deliberately do- or in some instances, refrain from doing- with our own well-being in mind." Self-care includes physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual practices to keep you in a healthy mindset.
Why does self-care matter?
Self-care helps us combat stress and anxiety and helps keep us prepared for dealing with the demands of life. When you have a well established plan and routine, you are prepared to cope with unexpected stressors and can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
How to start your routine
Starting a routine can seem impossible, and we often set ourselves up for failure when we expect perfection from the start. To get your routine started, think of some small steps you can try out. Start with a small addition to your morning routine. Do you start your morning in chaos? Maybe try preparing your coffee pot or laying out your clothes the night before. As you adapt to each small change, add another. It can be as simple as reserving 10 minutes a day for reading or relaxation.
You can also think about habits you'd like to break. Maybe you get so busy that you frequently forget to eat lunch. You could try setting an alarm to remind you that you have to stop to eat. You might find yourself mindlessly scrolling on your phone. To work towards breaking this habit you could try scheduling a phone free hour in your day.
Short term and long term routines
Starting with small changes gives you the chance to evaluate your successes and struggles. As you start to perfect your everyday routine, start to add bigger goals to your routine. Consider what you can do for your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health everyday. Think of something you can do every week for self-care. It could be going to an exercise class, or trying a new recipe every week.
Continue to grow your routine to include monthly goals. They could be goals focused on relaxation, such as spending time with a friend at least once a month. Or you could pick a goal that contributes to your overall well-being, such as picking a substantial household chore to complete every month.
We all know that life can be stressful. There will be times where you just cannot accomplish everything you want to do. Be realistic of what you are able to do, and don't stress out if you lapse on your self-care routine. Try to get back to your routine, and prioritize your most important aspects of self-care. The more natural self-care becomes in your everyday life, the less likely you are to neglect your self-care habits.
Tips to try