There’s no right or wrong way to practice self-care–after all, it’s an individual practice! There are, however, a few tips that can help you turn your self-care practice from good to great. And today, I'm sharing them with you! Here are my 6 tips for practicing self-care:
1. Build A Self-Care Routine
The best way to stay consistent with anything new is to make it a habit and the same goes for your self-care routine!
Take some time to sit down and decide when you’ll have the time to practice self-care and what, exactly, you’re going to do during that time. It could be a 30-minute morning routine, an evening walk and guided meditation before bed, or a weekly phone call with your best friend. Whatever it is, decide on it and stick to it for at least one month.
Know that you can always tweak elements of your self-care routine to suit your lifestyle and what you enjoy. For example, you might decide to start your day with meditation but, after a couple of days, realize that you could benefit more from going for a run first so that you can wake yourself up.
2. Get Outside As Often As Possible
Getting outside is the fastest way to connect with nature and disconnect from all of the emails and to-do lists that are waiting at home.
You might like to spend more time outside by cycling to work instead of driving. Or perhaps you could commit to walking or running a certain distance every day. If you have a dog that needs walking, even better! You have the perfect reason to extend the amount of time that you spend outside every day.
Going outside is the best medicine for when things get a little heated in the house. If you have children and find yourself getting frustrated, just wrap everybody up and bring them outside for 10 minutes. You’ll notice the difference in everyone’s mood immediately!
3. Start Meditating
Meditation is a wonderful practice that can give you a sense of calm and peace (something that many of us are missing in our fast-paced world). The benefits of meditation don’t just begin and end with the practice. You’ll quickly notice that this sense of peace you experience while meditating can actually become accessible to you even when you’re not meditating.
Before you say “I can’t meditate,” I would like to assure you that there is no such thing. If you can breathe, you can meditate. Know that the goal of meditation isn’t to eliminate your mind of thoughts–it’s to sit and observe the present moment. The easiest way to do that is by focusing on your breath.
Find a comfortable place to sit and just observe your body as you inhale and exhale with your eyes open or closed. When thoughts creep in (which they will), just smile and bring your attention back to your breath. The goal is to see your thoughts and let them go. And the more you practice, the easier it will become to detach from these thoughts!
4. Make Friends with Your Emotions
We’re all guilty of criticizing ourselves because of negative emotions. Whether you’re mad at yourself for getting angry, disappointed in yourself for feeling upset, or racked with guilt over being a little impatient with your family, it’s normal for negative emotions to invite a waterfall of all-consuming anger towards yourself.
But what good does that do?
Instead of pushing your emotions away or getting angry with them, make friends with them.
An incredible way to practice self-care is to not only forgive yourself for all of your emotions, but to get curious about them. Let the emotion fill your body before you release it–without pushing it down and ignoring it. What lessons can you learn from it? What can it teach you? How can you avoid this situation the next time?
If you let it, this will become one of the most sacred parts of your self-care practice!
5. Create A List of Things You Love
Creating a list of the things you enjoy can sound really simple when, in practice, it’s actually quite difficult! Practicing self-care is an invitation to get to know ourselves and what we enjoy doing, as opposed to what we think we enjoy doing.
Start experimenting with activities and keep a note of the ones that make you feel great. That way, you’ll have a reference list to turn to every time you find a spare moment for self-care.
It might be taking a bath, reading a book, going for a run, drinking a cup of coffee alone. Figuring out the things you enjoy doing is half of the fun!
6. Don't Forget to Connect
It’s easy to let self-care become a completely introspective practice. And whilst it’s great to look inwards and spend time alone, it’s equally as important that you connect with others as a way to practice self-care.
Schedule a coffee date with your best friend, call your mom, or arrange childcare so that you and your partner can have an evening without the kids.
And if there’s nobody that you love spending time with, it’s time to make some new friends! Join a local class or Facebook group and take some time to connect with like-minded people who can support you.
Self-care is a journey into discovering more about yourself and the things you love to do. Turn it into a habit and have some fun with it! It’s time to start looking after you.