How good is your self-care? If someone were to ask you “do you take care of yourself?” what would you say? Chances are you would probably say “Yes, of course!”. But imagine for a moment that you are someone that you care about. A good friend. And you are the one in sole charge of looking after that good friend. You oversee every element of their care. To look after them, you do only the things that you currently do for your own self-care. Do you look after them well? How good is your self-care?
Often our approach to self-care is reactive. Resting once you are sick. Sharing your situation with a friend once you are at breaking point. Asking for help once you are overwhelmed. Getting more sleep once you are exhausted. Self-care needs to be more than that. Self-care is not a band-aid. It shouldn’t be a one-time deal. Self-care should be a culmination of tiny habits that together meet your needs. Self-care should allow you to not only cope, but to thrive.
30 self-care habits for your whole self
Psychological – self-care for your mind
1. Use positive affirmations. Choose an affirmation that leads you in the direction that you want to go.
2. Change the way you make decisions. Decide something with your heart if you usually use your head. Plan if you are normally spontaneous. Create new pathways in the brain.
3. Take a new route to work. Break the monotony. This allows you to be more present and creates new neural pathways in the brain to keep it healthy.
4. Look at your thinking patterns. Identify the ones that are not serving you well. Where did they come from? What would serve you better?
5. Protect your schedule. Schedule realistically. Learn to say no. Schedule the things that are most important to you first.
6. Pay attention to something that you normally do on auto pilot. Being present brings greater enjoyment, connection, and purpose.
7. Unplug. For a set period of time (a day, an hour, 5 minutes) disconnect yourself from distractions. No phone, no computer, no busy work, no clutter, no interruptions. Only you, your company, and your surroundings.
8. Keep a journal. Download onto paper. Freely brainstorm out ideas.
9. Have a set time each day that you check your emails. Try and make it after 10 am. Allow the momentum of your day to start.
10. Acknowledge your success. Humans are very good at noticing improvements. Paying attention to flaws. Make a habit of acknowledging your success. Take note of progress, no matter how small.
Emotional – heart-centred self-care
11. Get silly. Be playful. Laugh out loud. Allow some lightness into your day.
12. Gratitude. Write down at least one thing you are grateful for every day.
13. Embrace emotions. Take the time to sit with how you feel. Embrace the emotion, rather than subdue it. Sit quietly with yourself without judgement.
15. Let go of relationships that drain you. Are there people in your life that leave you exhausted? Consider letting go of those relationships. If that is not possible, how can you establish better boundaries? For yourself, and them.
16. Create a cosy space. Create a space that you can replenish your energy. Somewhere that is warm, comfortable, inviting, and safe. Go there every day.
17. Spend time with someone that lifts you up. Embrace those relationships that build you up. Invest your time and energy. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with these people. Allow them to be vulnerable with you.
18. Let go of something that has been weighing you down. Is it a job that you just never seem to get to? Something that has been worrying you, but that you can do nothing about? Find a way to let it go. Ask for help if you cannot do this by yourself.
19. Create a happiness book. Take note of the things that make you feel good. Something that someone said to you, something that makes you laugh, a memory that makes you smile, the things and places that make you happy.
20. Make a small connection. Make a real conversation with someone new. Move beyond the pleasantries.
Physical – self-care for your body
21. Do a body scan. Take five minutes to pay attention to your body. Check in with each part and acknowledge what is going on.
22. Breathe. Breathing well relaxes muscles, delivers oxygen more efficiently, lowers blood pressure, and releases endorphins.
23. Stretch and move. When you hold your body in a static position, it settles into that position restricting movement and creating discomfort. Take the time to move and stretch your body in a variety of different ways.
24. Walk or bike somewhere that you would normally take the car. Get active. Take the stairs.
24. Take a lunch break. Take a real lunch break. Do nothing but eat your lunch. Be present, enjoy your food, and allow yourself that space.
26. Drink water.
27. Take a nap. Ten to twenty minutes can significantly reduce your sleep debt.
28. Get 15 minutes of sun. Enjoy the warmth. Soak up the vitamin D.
29. Relax. Run through your body and make consciously relax each part. You will be surprised how many places that you hold tension.
30. Develop a regular sleep schedule. Ongoing sleep deficiency puts you at higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. A regular sleep schedule will ensure you get sufficient sleep more easily.
Small habits often
Self-care isn’t always easy and isn’t always fun. But self-care does not need to be an insurmountable task. Self-care should be a culmination of small habits regularly that together add up to the wellbeing of the whole self.
What self-care habit will you start today? Share with us in the comments…