Last Updated on September 4, 2020
We are living in the era of self-care. Over the past few years, there’s been a significant shift from the hustle mentality to an emphasis on relaxation and personal boundaries. People have started to realize (and want to actively change) the fact that we are destroying ourselves from stress.
Since this fascination with self-care started, there’s been a lot of talk about what self-care actually means. Is it bubble baths and spa dates? Is it eating junk food while watching Orange Is the New Black? Or is it simply just another word for health and wellness?
I’m a big believer that self-care is about the practices, habits, behaviors, and mindset you have around your well-being. It doesn’t mean indulging in luxurious things (although that’s good in moderation), but rather it’s about creating a lifestyle that helps you keep your stress to a minimum.
Brianna Wiest said it best in her article “This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths and Chocolate Cake.” She said:
“True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
Self-care is ultimately about reducing burnout and creating a sustainable work-life balance. Rather than thinking self-care has to be elaborate or time-consuming, I want to show you that it’s more about the things you do on a daily basis that add up.
In this post, I’m sharing 15 ways you can implement self-care into part of your daily routine so that it becomes part of your lifestyle, rather than a random occurrence!
15 Ways to Practice Self-Care
1. Say No and Stop Over-Committing Yourself
When we keep saying yes, we no longer have time to do the things that we want to do. Instead, we end up doing what other people want us to do. An important act of self-care is standing up for your energy and time when other people are asking too much of you. This means listening to your inner voice, putting your needs first, and being firm in your decision to say no.
Related Post: 5 Ways To Say No And Stop Over-Committing Yourself
2. Identify Your Top Priorities
When you define what’s actually important to you, it becomes easier to focus on doing what matters. Often we spend our time on things that aren’t always productive, which means that we run out of time to practice self-care. Once you’ve defined your top priorities in life (and hopefully self-care is one of them), you’ll be able to schedule your time more easily around it.
3. Practice Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is one of the best ways that you can practice self-care. Self-reflection can help you make sense of your emotions, understand yourself more, and uncover ways to deal with situations positively instead of letting them consume you. Try to find time to reflect a few times a week by writing down what’s on your mind and what’s happened in your life.
Related Post: Why You Should Make Time For Self-Reflection
4. Focus on Your Basic Needs
Sometimes self-care is a lot more simple than we make it out to be. When we get to the root of it, self-care is about taking care of yourself so that you can be the healthiest version of yourself – mind, body, and soul. If you’re feeling stressed out, ask yourself if you’ve had enough sleep, if you’ve been eating a balanced diet, and if you’ve been moving your body. If the answer is no to any of these things, focus on improving those first before jumping into an elaborate self-care routine.
Related Post: 5 Simple Ways To Get More Sleep This Month
5. Take Imperfect Action
When we hold ourselves back from doing the things we actually want to do, we can cause ourselves more stress than necessary. Even if taking a leap into the unknown or facing your fear is stressful, holding yourself back will cause you more stress in the long run. Push yourself to try new things every single day, especially little things that will get you closer to your big dreams. Following your heart is an act of self-care, my friend.
Related Post: How To Take Action When You Don’t Feel Ready
6. Find Your Place to Vent
No matter how much you try to keep a positive mindset, there will always be times when you need to vent. No one can be positive all the time, and you shouldn’t feel bad for needing to complain or vent sometimes. Just try to find a place where you can be productive about getting your frustrations out without hurting yourself or another person. Maybe that’s journaling, writing a blog post, calling a friend, dancing, or going for a run.
7. Maximize Your Alone Time
As somebody who feels more energized after I’ve spent some quality time alone, I think it’s super important to actually make the most of it. After all, it can be a rare occurrence to have a moment to ourselves away from work, other people, and responsibilities in general. When you do end up with alone time, try to truly make the most of it. Check something off of your self-care wishlist, do something that energizes or relaxes you, and try to stay away from social media.
8. Create More Stability
Lack of structure can make us feel unmotivated and distracted and often leads to doing everything at the last minute. If we can prevent this, we can reduce a lot of unnecessary stress in our lives. Of course flexibility is important, but structure is necessary for creating a sense of stability and balance in your life. When you create stability and structure in your schedule, you can actually make time for self-care and not feel quite as stressed out all the time.
Related Post: How To Create More Structure In Your Life
9. Limit Your Screen Time
I know, I know. You’re tired of hearing about how you should get off your phone. But that’s because it’s so freakin’ important for our mental health and well-being. There’s nothing wrong with scrolling through Instagram, but when you are glued to your phone 24/7 you end up getting nothing done and wasting time that could be spent on self-care. Try to make a conscious effort in the name of self-care to not let your phone take up such a big space in your life.
Related Post: How To Deal With Digital Distractions
10. Trust Your Intuition
The biggest disservice you can do to yourself is to ignore that tiny little voice that tells you what you need in your life. Often we ignore our intuition because we try to rationalize our thoughts and talk ourselves into or out of things. When we do this, we only push ourselves away from what we need in life. Instead, ask yourself for advice rather than relying on others. Recognize that you already know the answers to the questions you ask. After all, listening to your intuition is an act of self-care.
11. Get Your Budget in Order
Money is a huge stressor for the majority of us. You’ve probably heard the term “money mindset” floating around, and that’s because it’s important to understand what your relationship to money looks like. Do you have a scarcity mentality or do you believe that money comes freely to you? Either way, an important part of self-care is trying to keep your money stress to a minimum. I recommend reading this post on financial self-care by my friend Sarah so you can feel less overwhelmed with your finances.
12. Give Your Morning Routine a Makeover
Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you’re rushing to get out the door, your day will most likely feel rushed. Taking the extra time for self-care in the morning will help the rest of your day run more smoothly (because no matter what happens the rest of the day, at least you gave yourself some extra care in the morning hours).
Related Post: How To Give Your Morning Routine A Simple Makeover
13. Feel Your Feelings
Most of us have a tendency to overanalyze our feelings because they don’t always make sense. If we’re constantly trying to come up with a reason for our feelings, we deny ourselves the experience to just feel and connect with our inner selves. Instead, give yourself permission to feel on a daily basis without trying to analyze or eliminate your feelings. By all means, seek to understand your feelings, but try to do so without judgment or attachment.
14. Let Yourself *Truly* Rest
When was the last time you did absolutely nothing? I know firsthand how hard it is to sit in stillness without feeling guilty or lazy about not working. I’ve always been someone who wants to stay busy, even if that’s sitting on the couch and watching a documentary (because my brain doesn’t want to be still, you see). But true relaxation is so important for your well-being, so try making it a priority to unwind properly every single day.
Related Post: How To Let Yourself Relax & Unwind Properly
15. Make Your Mind a Blissful Place
As much as you can, try to keep your mind as blissful as possible. Practice meditation, self-reflection, and positive affirmations. Make a conscious effort to find gratitude for the things in your life. Let yourself feel sad when you need to. But do everything you can to continue showing love to yourself and staying present in the moment.
Related Post: How To Detox Your Mindset And Reduce Negative Thoughts
What Are Your Favorite Self-Care Strategies?
I hope this post has given you some self-care inspiration to help you create more balance in your life. Remember that taking care of yourself is about more than luxurious indulgences; self-care is about the habits, behaviors, and mindset you engage in every single day.
I just recently started waking up half an hour earlier to give myself time for a morning routine that includes meditation, stretching, and journaling, and I’ve been so impressed with how much happier I’ve been! There’s something truly amazing about starting your day off with relaxation!
Saying “no” more often is one of – if not, THE – best things I have done for myself. My time is now MY time, and I can spend it doing things that I genuinely love doing! I’ve always been TRYING to stop aimlessly staring at a screen, and to tell myself that if I’m not doing something productive in FRONT of the screen, then I should go and something productive AWAY from it. Time is of the essence!
SUCH a thought-provoking list…Love number 5, the part about taking imperfect action. Too often we wait for that perfect starting point for all of the stars to align instead of jumping in head first!
All points are so on point! I try to practice mindfulness every day, worry less, commit to less, and have less screen time. It surprises me how hard living simply can be!! Great post!!
What a great list! Number 14 is something I’ve been working on a lot lately. It’s such a challenge to make yourself truly rest, which is ironic given what resting is all about.
Writing down three things I’m grateful for in the morning has been a game changer for me. It made me realise all the small things that I took for granted and made me happier as a result.
So many fantastic tips!! Thank you and I’ve been working on a lot of these tips over the past year. The toughest for me is saying no and standing on it. I’m a huge people pleaser and have been my whole life. The reactions have been tough to take, but In saying no, I’ve regained time to make myself healthy again. Brilliant work and thank you for your writing!
I really liked that piece!
You’ve put into words and explained nicely what many of us are accused of.
Indeed, if you want to practice self-acceptance you need to find time for brain gym exercise and meditation. These are the best tools ever! One more tip I liked so much is to trust your intuition. Why not?)
So, dare to live your life you really want and deserve!
Be calm and stay happy!
I love this! Thank you for sharing the wellness wheel. It’s interesting because I have really shifted my mindset this year and focused more on my own self care. But I think with that I have been spending less time with friends — I need to improve on “social” on the wheel! I like your writing, keep up the good work!
Just came across this blog this morning. I am truely impressed at the content. I have been going thru stress and feeling of burnout for exactly a year now. I have been trying to sort through all the emotions but couldnt understand most of them. This list is a very good starting point. I am also surprised that there are no comments from men. I guess there is first for everything. It is harder for men like me because our upbringing. Raised in the 70’s and 80’s, we were told to not give into emotions and be rough tough and just be a man. Im seeing now in my midlife that those ideas were so wrong. Its not just me, i know a lot of other men at work and elsewhere who are feeling similar things but feel that there is no other way to live life. Maybe this is why statistically men die earlier than women. Anyhow, i just wanted to thank you sincerely for this info.