You’ve heard it all before – self-care is important for maintaining your emotional well-being and physical and mental health.
The concept has caught on like wildfire in the last several years, and for good reason. In our increasingly wired world, it’s harder than ever to disconnect. This means the lines delineating the work-life balance get blurry, and more of our social interactions take place in the competitive sphere of social media. It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when you’re moving at the speed of “like.”
Enter self-care: the simple art of intentionally checking in with yourself and ensuring your mental, emotional, physical, and social needs are met. We know self-care is good for us, and we know we should do it! But like so many other no-brainer “good for us” activities (think exercise, flossing, sticking to New Year’s resolutions), building self-care practices into our routines is easier said than done.
But never fear! We’ve got your back. Just use these 8 self-care tips to create a routine that's simple to stick to.
3. Set the intention
Now that you’ve identified time in your schedule when you can practice self-care, it’s time to commit. Self-care is a regular, ongoing practice that deserves attention and requires intention – no “set it and forget it” here. So take a few moments to set a clear intention. Consider these helpful questions:
What is it that you want to achieve with your self-care routine? (i.e., get better sleep, relieve anxiety, increase physical health, be a better and more present friend and partner, etc)
Besides you, who in your life will benefit from your commitment to your self-care routine? (i.e., family members, co-workers, friends, your fellow commuters, etc.)
Fix these answers clearly in your mind as you embark on this journey, and stay focused on them when you’re tempted to work all weekend and fall off the self-care wagon. If you’re new to intention-setting, check out the tools from the therapist-curated, happiness-focused TheraBox. Or, seal the deal spiritually with an herb-infused ritual from Tamed Wild Apothecary, a gorgeous “earth magic” box stocked with crystals, teas, essential oils and more.
6. Get offline
Especially for those of us whose jobs require a lot of screen time, it can be hard to strike a work-life balance without putting down the phone. And even if we aren’t working, our online leisure activities, particularly social media, can actually make us feel more lonely and wound up – even when we’re using them to connect and unwind.
As in all things self-care, you’ll have an easier time sticking with your routine if you choose an activity you love, so come up with a list of screen-free alternatives that light your fire. Some simple suggestions to unplug: get outside, write a letter to a loved one, do a puzzle, volunteer, or pick up a great book. The Unplugged Book Box, which includes a new adult or YA hardcover as well as self-care goodies and gratitude exercises, is a great place to start – but follow your own bliss to build a solid routine.
7. Incorporate movement
Love it or loathe it, exercise is essential for releasing feel-good endorphins, clearing toxins, and contributing to full-body wellness that helps you feel better, sleep more soundly, and feel less stressed. Make movement part of your self-care routine for a holistic mind-body boost, whether it’s gentle walking in the evenings, or a more intense cardio or sports activity.
8. Check back in
As we continue to grow and evolve, our needs change, and our self-care routines will, too. Schedule a time every few months to check back in and assess: What’s working really well for me in my self-care routine? What am I having trouble committing to? Are any of my activities feeling like chores and draining my energy?
These are all great and valid questions, and most importantly, your answers should be totally guilt-free. If something’s not working for you, it doesn’t mean you’re bad at self-care – it just means you’re free to change it! There is no right or wrong here. It’s all about building a routine that best serves you.