Self-Care is the focus of your own health and happiness. And of course, this looks different for everyone. However, there are overarching themes that can apply to all of us.
I have spent quite a bit of time reading self-help books, writing in journals, focusing on my overall wellness, and practicing living with intention. Each of these on its own is a form of self-care. Personally, when I put them all together in a routine I have found the most benefits.
Here are 5 focus areas to incorporate into your self-care routine:
1. Mental Self-Care
Practice Gratitude: Being grateful for the things you love and have in your life is a constant positive. It’s easy to take something and others for granted. Taking a moment every day to appreciate what you have in your life is a positive piece of your mental self-care.
Focus on Positivity: Finding the negative in things can oftentimes be easier than the positive. Look for and focus on the positive. There’s always a positive to each and every situation and day- just remember to look for it and find it.
Set Goals & Priorities: Keep yourself motivated and moving forward by setting goals for yourself. Prioritize what you would like to accomplish and what is important to you. By setting goals you will then take steps to achieve them. As you do, you’ll build both confidence and momentum.
2. Nutrition: Make it a Priority
Healthy Eating: The role food plays in our self-care routine is huge. It’s so important to take care of your body by ensuring that you are eating and drinking healthily. Prioritizing your nutrition and health will have a positive effect on your digestion, mental clarity, energy levels, and so much more.
Regular Meals: Eating regular meals every day provides your body with the sustenance it needs to function. Having a healthy and filling breakfast starts your day off right, and should be followed by regular healthy meals throughout the day. For me, I prefer eating 5-6 smaller meals a day rather than 3 larger meals. Find out what works and feels right for you.
Staying Hydrated: The focus used to be for everyone to drink 8 glasses of water a day. However, recent research has shown that men should drink 3.7 liters (15.5 cups) and women 2.7 liters (11.5 cups) of water per day. Staying hydrated helps with digestion, hunger, bodily function, and overall maintaining your health.
3. Sleep Hygiene Is Important to Self-Care
Make it a priority: Creating a sleep schedule helps when trying to prioritize your sleep. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Also, make sure that you’re giving yourself enough time each night to sleep – your body needs it to replenish itself. You’ll find that you’ll have a clear head, lower stress, and an improvement in your overall mood.
No screens before bed: This is a hard one. It’s so easy to scroll on social media at night. But it’s best to put your phone aside and let your eyes and mind relax. Research shows that blue light affects our sleep cycles, which in turn can affect our cognitive function. And it also can reduce the production of melatonin which is necessary for healthy sleep.
Relaxing activities: Instead of using your phone for an hour or two before you go to bed enjoy a book, or find a hobby that relaxes you. Creating this habit before bedtime will prepare yourself, mind and body, to fall asleep.
4. Physical activities
Working out: Working out has such a positive impact on our health and life. Physical activities, whether it is workout programs, hiking, classes at the gym, swimming, or anything else that gets your blood pumping, help reduce your risks of disease and illness. And helps with your overall flexibility, stability, and agility.
Regular exercise: Create a regular schedule of exercise. Make it part of your daily routine and stick to it. It may be difficult at first, but over time as your body gets used to it, and you notice the positive effects, you will start to look forward to the time you set aside for it. The more regular you are with your schedule, the more likely you will continue to add exercise to your day.
Find something right for you: Not all workouts look the same. What your friends and family do, or what you see on the internet, may not be right for you. Find what you like – what your body likes. Some ideas are weight training, running, low-impact workouts, online or streaming programs, swimming, mountain biking, and surfing…honestly, the list is really long. Anything that gets your heart pumping and body moving is good for you.
5. Social support
Stay connected with others: Maintaining a social life and network is important. Having someone to talk to, confide in, and share stories with provides an emotional connection and depth in our lives. Make time for friends and family. Don’t miss out on this time. Most times you probably leave a social engagement happy and feeling positive. Enjoy your time with others.
Incorporating Self-Care Into Your Life
Self-care is so important to prioritize in our lives. And one of the easiest things to push aside as other priorities and people need us. Take time for yourself. Being the best version of yourself means that you spend time loving and taking care of yourself.
Some choose to take one day a week for self-care – like Self-Care Sundays. It ensures that you schedule time for self-care when you know you have the time to devote to it. Hopefully, if this is what you decide to do, you will realize you love that time on Self-Care Sunday so much you include more into your week.
Maybe you can create a self-care challenge for yourself. Or a self-care checklist. Over time, you’ll no longer need to refer back to it. The idea is that self-care becomes a natural part of your life.
Just remember, self-care is not selfish. It is a necessity in each of our lives. Make time for it in your life, you won’t regret it!