"You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else."
We have all heard these phrases and possibly said them ourselves, but many people struggle to make self care a priority. Taking care of ourselves helps us not only to reduce stress, but to be more present, productive, and available. Self care can often times feel selfish or self-indulgent, as we are conditioned to be of the mind that anything that is not outwardly productive is selfish. This, however is not the case with self care. We can view self care as a preventative measure, just how one would take vitamins to prevent illness or disease. Engaging in daily self care and putting our physical, mental, and spiritual health first prevents us from getting overwhelmed later on. Self care looks different for everyone, and there is no one-size-fits-all self care routine. Finding what brings you to a place of calm and inner peace is a trial and error process, but it is certainly worth trying. Below are a few tips on how to incorporate self care into your daily life.
1. Put self care on your to-do list
Many of us keep to-do lists, and although adding one more task might sound daunting, imagine how good it will feel to cross off! A self care task can be anything that will bring you to a more centered place. A self care task could be as simple as standing outside for 10 minutes, enjoying your favorite warm beverage, or taking 5 deep breaths.
2. Create a morning and evening routine
This might seem like quite the task, but you may have a routine that grounds you already! Pick 3 things to do upon waking and 3 things to do before going to bed that you can commit to doing mindfully. This means doing these tasks with presence, purpose, and intent. Your morning routine may be to shower, make coffee, and take the dog out, but with mindfulness, this can become self care. Similarly, a nightly routine may be to read, wash your face, and meditate, but every part of these mindful tasks are for self care. All of these things you do because you care for yourself. You can empower yourself to build more positive habits when you see you can already stick to a routine.
3. Stay grateful
Gratitude is known to improve our overall happiness and pervasive optimism, among other things. Listing just one or more things to be grateful for on paper or in your head can change your mindset to be more positive. It can also be fun to have a gratitude buddy, someone to whom you text your gratitudes each day. It is a great way to hold one another accountable and lift others up.
A mindful approach to our daily life can turn our routine into self care as we acknowledge that our food and beverage choices, our hygiene routines, our spiritual rituals, or our fitness habits are all choices we make out of love for ourselves. Being present and grounded in the moment can turn a small task into a beautiful component of our daily routine.