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Start a Self-Care Routine in Three Simple Steps

Updated: Aug 20, 2023


In today's fast-paced world, the buzzword 'self-care' isn't just a trend, but a vital component of holistic well-being. Self-care is essential for your physical and mental health. Prioritizing self-care helps maintain a balance in life, mitigating the stresses that daily challenges bring. By nurturing oneself, we don't just rejuvenate our bodies, but also fortify our resilience, enabling us to face life's hurdles with clarity and strength. It's not an act of selfishness but rather a profound understanding of the importance of one's own well-being in the larger scheme of life.


Three Steps to Start your Self-Care Journey

Starting a self-care routine can seem daunting if you’ve never considered starting one before. Here are three easy steps to get you started with your own self-care routine:



Step One: Write down a list of self-care activities you enjoy

Self-care looks different for everyone. Maybe you want to spend more time with loved ones, take a vacation, start a garden, or join a book club. Here are some other examples:


  1. Move More: Even a daily 30-minute walk can uplift your mood and better your health. Remember, every bit counts, so don’t stress if you can’t fit it all in one go.

  2. Nourish Yourself: Opt for balanced meals and hydrate with water often. Boost your energy and concentration by minimizing caffeine from sodas or coffee.

  3. Prioritize Rest: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Limit blue light from phones and tablets before bed to ensure sound sleep.

  4. Find Calm: Explore wellness apps or programs, delving into meditation or breathing techniques. Allocate specific times for activities that soothe you, like journaling.

  5. Set Clear Boundaries: Determine what needs immediate attention and what can wait. When overwhelmed, it’s okay to decline extra tasks. Celebrate your daily achievements, rather than lingering on undone tasks.

  6. Embrace Gratitude: Reflect on what you're thankful for daily. Be specific, jot them down, or ponder over them.

  7. Stay Positive: Recognize and counteract any negative or unproductive thoughts.

  8. Keep Bonds Strong: Engage with friends and family who offer both emotional solace and tangible help.


Step Two: Map out your plan

You’ve picked some self-care options and now you need to plan how you’re going to implement them. Some things to consider:


1. How often will you exercise self-care?

2. Do you have time in your day/week/month to do these activities? If not, where are you willing to cut time from to make more time for your self-care?

3. What is your budget? How much money and/or time will your self-care activities cost? Is this affordable? Can you keep up with this regimen for 3/6/12 months? If not, what needs to change in your routine to make this possible?

4. When will you start?


This is one of the most important steps, as we sometimes move the goal line for starting something new. Write down some reasonable start dates. What’s stopping you from starting your new routine today? Or tomorrow or even next week? It’s fine to prep the mind and body for change by pushing your start date back a little, so long as you actually start.



Step Three: Evaluate Yourself

What were your first week results? Two-week results? One-month results? Reflecting on what went well and what may need improvement is key. You may have also found other things you can do to pour into yourself that you can replace with some of your original self-care routine ideas. Try to re-evaluate yourself regularly also, as self-care needs may change over time.





Photo credit: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash



Start your Self-Care Routine Today

Self-care routines are vital to your health. They can lower risk for heart disease and improve your mental well-being. If you feel the need to have some time to yourself for any reason, consider what this self-care routine will cost you (e.g. time, money) and how much you can afford. Evaluate how you feel after exercising self-care. If you didn’t complete each task on your self-care list, that’s ok. Think about what you need to change for the following day/week/month to reach these goals.


References

Levine GN, Cohen BE, Commodore-Mensah Y, Fleury J, Huffman JC, Khalid U, Labarthe DR, Lavretsky H, Michos ED, Spatz ES, Kubzansky LD. Psychological health, well-being, and the mind-heart-body connection: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2021 Mar 9;143(10):e763-83.


National Institute of Mental Health. Caring for your Mental Health.


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