Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of those around you. Get in the practice of making you a priority.
We’ve all heard it…self-care is so important to your health!
However, it often gets overlooked when you’re busy and you feel as if you don’t have time for yourself. You are so busy taking care of others (or other things) that it feels like you never have enough time to do anything for yourself.
It may even feel self-indulgent when you are taking time for yourself, when you should be taking care of others or other things. But here’s the thing: self-care is more than important.
It’s imperative to your wellbeing.
Why? Because you are in charge of taking care of yourself because no one else can do that job. Because you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you help others. Because you can’t fill other people’s cups if you don’t have anything to give.
So to help you start a self-care practice and stay consistent, here are 5 essential tips to get you going (and stay going):
1. Make a list of activities that make you feel restored, rejuvenated, and joyful.
Take 10 minutes today (right this second) and write down 10-20 things you LOVE to do.
It can be silly little things. Anything.
Sunsets, taking a bath, walking on the beach, sitting on my porch, drinking a cup of tea, taking a nap, putting on a face mask, treating myself to a really good dessert, getting your nails done, coloring, meditating, reading a book, hiking, swimming, calling a friend, listening to a podcast, sleep, exercise, watching tv, cooking…
Now, separate these into 2 separate lists: everyday acts of self care and monthly acts of self care
You likely don’t intend on getting your nails done every day, but you certainly can take a break and have a cup of tea or coffee.
2. Take baby steps.
Just do a little at a time, and don’t try to cram it all in. In fact, it may be better to spread things out throughout the day, week and month so it’s not all at one time. This will make the activities more enjoyable.
3. Schedule it in your calendar.
Now that you know what you want to do in a realistic manner, schedule a time every single day to make sure you follow through with your one act of self-care.
Then schedule a time at least once a week that you do a weekly act. Perhaps it’s scheduling a hike with a friend on Saturday, or making your Monday nap a routine. Whatever it is, schedule it and stick to it! It’s as important as brushing your teeth. Make it a habit.
4. While you’re practicing that self-care, be present.
This isn’t easy, but you can do it. When you realize that your mind has drifted off or you’re planning your to-do list, just take a moment to bring yourself back to where you are.
For example, you love watching TV, but it’s become an automatic thing you do. You walk in the house and turn your tv on. Instead, try to make your tv watching more intentional. Don’t watch TV, eat a snack, play on your phone, and try to chat with a friend all at the same time. However, if that really brings you joy to do all 5 things at once, then do it and ENJOY it. That’s the key. You must enjoy it. If you love bad reality tv, watch it and soak up every ridiculous moment.
5. Don’t let self-care turn into another stressor.
If you have something scheduled, say a bath, but you are too tired to even wash your wash — go to bed! That’s self-care too. Saying “no” is 100% self-care.
Remember, self-care is meant to be enjoyed, and not additional stress. Don’t allow it to turn into something you “have to” or “should” do!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: KAROLINA GRABOWSKA
Meme Inge, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in San Diego. She shares approachable, nourishing recipes to prove that living a healthy lifestyle can be budget-friendly, delicious and fun. Get to know more about Meme at Living Well Kitchen.