20 ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR PRACTICING SELF-CARE

Back to  Mind  |  Body  |  Spirit

by | Oct 14, 2021 | Self-Care

 

Hello My Lovely Friend

 

Many of us neglect our basic mental health. We don’t think it needs prioritizing, or we just don’t make the time. So in this post I want to give you 20 Essential Steps For Practicing Self-Care. Please take time to implement at least some, if not all of these. You will reap the benefits.

Essential Steps For Practicing Self Care

Self-care is as important as brushing your teeth in the morning. It’s a habit that you should establish as a matter of urgency as it affects your health by cleaning bacteria from your mouth and obviously protects your teeth and gum health.

A lot of people find it difficult to practice self-care, whether it’s because they’re worried about being selfish or they simply can’t find the time. Or it maybe you don’t identify with what self-care really means.

The first step to take is to start going easy on yourself. The next is to understand self-care needn’t be radical. There are plenty of simple and obvious ways to practice self-care.

Let’s start here:

 

1. Take A Break From The News Cycle

Have you ever noticed when you log onto social media or scroll the news, there’s always something terrible going on?

Guess what?

If you skip a cycle or two when you return, there will be another terrible thing happening. So nothing lost.

'No posting, no liking, just living' motivational quote on the letter board, with flowers and alarm clock

There’s a difference between staying informed and being overwhelmed with information. In today’s world, a lot of us are dipping into the latter and it WILL have an impact on your mental wellbeing whether you realize it or not.

You aren’t a bad person for turning notifications off, muting specific words on social media, or just logging out for a day, a week, or even a month. More and more people are finding ‘Switching Off’ for periods of time very beneficial.

Go on…I dare you to try it!

2. Be Kind To Yourself

If you struggle to look away from the news and social media, even if you vowed you would, don’t feel bad about it. It’s hard to disconnect, especially when the world is so connected.

It’s a habit we make and it’s a difficult one to break, even temporarily. So be kind to yourself, even when you feel your SM ‘urge’ getting the better of you!

3. Get Gross

This act of self-care is subjective.

Is it eating snacks in bed? Indulging in odd food combos (look, if you enjoy pickles and ice cream that’s fine), or skipping leg shaving? Or even, sharing your bed with a hairy dog.

Woman laying on couch with cell phone eating pizza

Yes, been there, done that.

Actually the hair wasn’t so much the problem as the farting (the dog, not me!)…bet you dog owners can relate.

Whatever it is, cut yourself some slack and let certain activities slide if it’s dragging you down. Getting gross is more about ignoring what is deemed socially acceptable.

4. Eat That Snack

Healthy eating is important, it’s an important part of your overall health and wellbeing.

However, if you try to restrict your diet, you will only make your life more difficult.

If you want to eat chocolate-covered cherries, then eat chocolate-covered cherries! You certainly shouldn’t eat them for every meal and every day, but you can enjoy a treat when you feel in need of one.

Don’t be too hard on yourself…indulge!

5. Have A PJ Day

PJ’s Rock!

You don’t have to get dressed every day. You don’t have to get dressed up all the time. You can wear sweatpants for a month if you want. Note: this is very relevant for those of us who work from home.

PJ's Rock! Young beautiful brunette woman wearing pajamas and sleep mask doing 'rock' symbol with hands

I do Zoom calls with a nice top, neat hair, some makeup, but from the waist down it’s another story…PJ’s rock!

You can shower and change into a fresh pair of pajamas too. The point is, you don’t have to sit around uncomfortable, in a full face of makeup, and do your hair all the time.

Sometimes you can and should just chill out.

6. Utilize Shortcuts

If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, you can use some life hacks to avoid chores.

If you hate washing dishes constantly, you can buy eco-friendly disposable plates and cutlery to get a break. If you’re tired of being weighed under by heaps of laundry, you can wear the same pair of sweats for a week.

If a dirty home negatively impacts your mental health, utilize shortcuts to take chores off the table and still enjoy a clean house.

If your home does get messy because you’re struggling and you haven’t found a shortcut for everything, don’t beat yourself up about it. You’ll get back on track in no time.

7. Set A Schedule

Sleep should be your best friend because a lack of it fuels stress, anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Create a sleep schedule, build a routine around bedtime, and stick to it so you have a consistent sleep schedule.

Is your environment suitable for good sleep?

Some people need to have complete silence while they sleep. Others need a constant, steady noise. To get a steady noise, try turning on a fan or using a white noise machine.

Do you tend to be too hot or too cold during the night? Put some cool sheets on your bed or have extra blankets nearby. Is there too much or not enough light in your room? Try investing in some black-out curtains or a night light.

8. Have A Day Of Nothing

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to do nothing at all. Give yourself time and space to do nothing and enjoy it.

That doesn’t mean scrolling social media all day, it doesn’t mean writing to-do lists, or taking care of chores.

It means, taking a nap, binging the latest Netflix release or reading a book, or maybe walking in the park and rolling around on the grass with the dog.

Joyful woman playing with her dog outdoors in the park

Or what about bathing the dog?…maybe not so relaxing!

It can be fun chasing it around the house while it keeps bypassing the bathroom, and at least you won’t be worrying about anything other than that your dog temporarily hates you.

Then you can bond again afterwards, lounging around together and eating chocolate biscuits…I’m certain he’ll be happy to join in and all will be forgiven!

It’s about simply existing instead of exhausting! Give your cluttered, overworked modern-life mind a rest.

 

Essential Steps To Show Yourself Kindness

One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to show yourself kindness. It might seem strange, but you are the best person for the job as you understand yourself better than anyone else.

Close up of woman making heart sign with fingers

Here are ways for you to show yourself kindness:

9. Forgive Yourself

There will be a lot of people in your life who will hold you to some high standards. What we often don’t realize is that we ourselves have some incredibly high expectations.

When you make a mistake, it is easy to beat yourself up over it, agonizing over your mess-up while you should be sleeping at night. It is alright to be down on yourself when you mess up, but don’t forget to forgive yourself.

You are going to make a lot of mistakes…we all do, it’s natural!

That’s just a fact of life. It’s not productive to mentally beat yourself up because of it. Instead, work on forgiving yourself and moving on after you make a mistake.

You’ll find that this method will help you to do better in the future and is one of the greatest kindnesses that you can show yourself.

10. Take Care of Yourself

You are the only person who is keeping track of what you eat, how much water you drink, if you are getting enough sleep, and when the last time you showered was.

You need to take care of yourself.

Unless you are disabled to the point of having someone help take care of you, you are the only person who is going to do it.

It can be easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, working past your lunch, leaving the office late, and not using all your vacation time, but don’t let your own self-care fall to the wayside.

No one else is going to be able to look after you as well as you can for yourself. Use that ability and show yourself some kindness.

11. Designate ‘You’ Time

It is important to give yourself built-in time to do whatever makes you happy. This could be taking a bubble bath or reading a good book.

Playing a game or binging on a TV show. While you don’t want to get carried away, giving yourself some time to relax and not worry about anything incredibly important can help you to feel refreshed and ready to go again.

Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to do what you enjoy. You’ll spend a lot of your life doing things for others, make sure you leave some time for yourself too.

12. Stand Up for Yourself

Standing up for yourself can be hard. Too many of us turn into doormats because we don’t want to upset the other person or we think that maybe they are right.

It’s all too easy to let a mean comment or action be excused by just ignoring it. But you need to stand up for yourself. People shouldn’t have an easy time being mean to you.

Protect yourself and look out for your own best interests. And when someone starts to put you down, stand up for yourself.

That is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself.

13. Believe In Yourself

There will be a whole lot of people in this world who don’t believe in you. People who actively try to ruin what you are doing or discourage you from continuing.

'Always believe in yourself' - inspirational quote. Handwritten calligraphy lettering vector illustration.Sadly, it’s human nature.

While there are those rare individuals who will believe in you, they will not always be around and there will not be as many of them.

Be kind to yourself and automatically give yourself someone who is on your team.

Believe in yourself and cheer yourself on. Having that attitude can be one of the kindest things that you can do for yourself.

 

Essential Steps For Relaxation

Self-care is all about rejuvenation. You already know how important relaxation is, but do you put enough effort into making time for relaxation? Have you ever spent any time deciding on how best to relax?

A lot of things can stand in the way of you getting enough downtime.

There are loads of different ways for you to relax and unwind, it’s just a case of finding the one that works for you. And you need much more rest and relaxation than you care to admit.

It sounds great, in theory, but how do you implement it?

 

14. Know What You Need

This might sound like the most obvious point in the world, but a lot of people don’t spend much time thinking about what properly relaxes them.

How do you spend your downtime now? Does it relax you?

A lot of people convince themselves they’re resting, but they’re not. If you spend hours scrolling through social media, it’s unlikely that will truly relax you.

You might have to force yourself into relaxation, whether it’s taking a power nap, indulging in a bubble bath, or meditating.

African American woman relaxing in bubble bath with flower petals

Ultimately, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

You have to actively search for things that properly relax you. It’s important to remember that it isn’t about a single activity, it’s about the outcome of an activity.

Which ones lead to relaxation for you will wholly depend on you.

So, do some exploring into a variety of activities, hobbies, and practices until you find a few that fit. If the activities you turn to for relaxation now don’t actually relax you, start experimenting again with new ones.

15. Be Intentional

Think of this as the new golden rule. If you want your mode of relaxation to be effective then you need to commit.

If you spend your day lounging on the couch with your phone in your hand, it won’t be nearly as effective as two hours of intentional relaxing away from social media.

In fact, being intentional is a great way to approach everything in life.

You know you’re guilty of draining the joy out of relaxation because you don’t do it right. Forget about your to-do lists, ditch your side hustles temporarily, and let yourself enjoy life properly.

Before you relax, tell yourself it’s time to relax and decide what you would like to get out of this time.

Ask yourself, “Is it escape, is it total rest?”

Understand what you’re trying to get out of your relaxation before you decide how to spend the time.

16. Schedule It

If you want meaningful relaxation time, then you need to make a plan! Because if you don’t, chances are it won’t happen.

Schedule your rest and recreation time and don’t be afraid to be generous. Once you take this time for yourself regularly you’ll become more productive in other aspects of your life.

17. Pockets Full of Downtime

Relaxation doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’. It’s better if you give yourself pockets of time throughout the week so you’re getting regular relaxation.

Don’t buy into the idea that you’re too busy for this or that…make it happen.

If you love playing video games and they genuinely relax you, you don’t need to feel guilty about playing video games for an hour an evening, or two a week.

Woman's hands doing jigsaw puzzle closeup

Maybe time to indulge in that art project you would love to try, or knitting a boring scarf just for the sake of it. Or maybe do a jigsaw puzzle…great for focussing on nothing important. I particularly like puzzled to take my mind off other things.

Whatever works for you.

You don’t need to feel shame over your mode of relaxation if it’s what works for you.

18. Seek Quiet Time

There should be time in your day for a quiet contemplation. I know this can sound a little woo-woo, but modern science now considers this to be really important for our mental wellbeing.

One of the best ways to make the most of contemplative time is meditation.

Woman meditating in nature holding a flower petal

Yes, it takes a little practice, but it’s not complicated. The trick is to learn to just relax and channel your thoughts onto one thing, and stopping the random daily thoughts from popping in.

Once you master this thought-controlling practice you will find these pockets of quiet time incredibly rejuvenating, and wonder why it took you so long to discover this.

19. Create a Ritual

This is particularly important because it’s how you ensure it happens. If you work from home, the lines between your personal life and work are a blur.

If you often take work home with you, it can be hard to decipher between the two.

Whatever your situation, you need transition rituals to help signal the beginning/end of a workday and the beginning of relaxation.

It could be a chore, exercise, a walk, meditation, or even tomorrow’s to-do list.

20. Be Kind To Yourself

Take these steps to maximize your rest and relaxation time but be kind to yourself. Your relaxation time shouldn’t be a greater source of stress to you.

There will be days where you have negative thoughts. You will have moments where you feel guilty. There may be a lot of days like this.

When this happens it’s important to realize this is just our ‘social conditioning’ kicking in.

Whatever you do, be kind, be patient, and be gentle to yourself.

 

Conclusion

In this post I wanted to give you some easy, practical tips for Self-care which includes relaxation and being kind to yourself.

How you practice self-care is your choice but take at least 20 minutes a day to do something that positively impacts your mood and stress levels. It could be meditation, it might be reading, it should be a quiet, peaceful, solitary activity.

Be aware that seeking quiet time does not make you antisocial, it merely makes you mindful. Having the space to just relax, clear the noise of modern life, and be introspective can lead to breakthroughs in deciding your future course of actions.

And that can be life-changing!

I hope you have found this useful and can make the time to implement them.

As always I look forward to your comments and if you liked this post please share it.

 

 

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Hi, I'm Amanda

My passion is helping 50+ women live their best life possible and follow their dreams.

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