As you go through life, it becomes easy to lose sight of taking care of yourself in meaningful ways that truly replenish your body, mind and soul.
When some people hear the word ‘self-care’ it gives them anxiety because it’s just another thing they need to add to their to-do list but this isn’t what it’s about. We have become so far removed from the concept of self-care that we forget it should be a natural part of our day - a ritual if you will.
We are no longer equipped to deal with long-term stress and too many people lack the self-care knowledge required to prepare for and cope with modern life. It all starts with gaining an understanding of your specific needs and preferences so that you can easily turn self-care into something that blends in with your current routines.
By placing self-care on the backburner, you open yourself up to anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, burnout and toxic relationships. It is possible to make it work - let’s start by making the self-care concept more manageable.
The Self-Care Pie
If self-care was a food, it would probably be a pie - a pie that’s made up of three ingredients.
What are you doing to care for your mind during the week? When last did you process difficult emotions and thoughts? Our minds run our internal world, which is why it’s so important to take care of it. These are some of the activities that you can turn into rituals to nurture your busy mind:
- Read books that inspire you, give you a different perspective or make you think
- Build a puzzle with no distractions
- Learn a new skill
- Speak to a psychologist or spiritual counsellor
What do you currently do to take care of your body? How often do you take the time to listen to your body’s needs? Your body is a temple and when it doesn’t get what it needs, it can’t give you what you need. Here are some of the things that you can do to show your body more care:
- Get enough sleep
- Incorporate new recipes into your week that use fresh ingredients
- Exercise in a way that works for you
- Don’t push your body when you know it’s sick or fatigued
- Use essential oils and bath salts to nourish your skin as well as your mind
- See a medical professional if you feel the need to
Finally, when last did you do something to take care of your soul? Do you engage in activities that truly nurture your spirit? Your soul is the core of your true self and it requires just as much care as your body and mind. Here are a few of the things you can do to give your soul some much-deserved care:
- Take up meditation
- Start a gratitude journal
- Connect with a higher power
- Smile and laugh more often
- Spend time outside in nature
Creating a Self-Care Checklist that Works for You
Now that you have an idea of the types of activities you can engage in to take better care of your body, mind and soul, here’s how to create a checklist that works for you.
- Consider your current weekly routine
Every week is made up of 168 hours and it helps to look at how you’re currently spending your time to create a self-care checklist that can easily fit in with this. Naturally, the time you spend working can’t be changed but there are ways to adjust the time you spend on other activities during the week. For example, instead of spending 30 minutes on Facebook in the morning, you could write in a journal while you enjoy a cup of coffee.
- Don’t set unrealistic goals
One of the main reasons why women tend to let self-care fall away is because they set unrealistic goals right from the start. There is no need to suddenly try and fit five hours of self-care into your week. Start with 30 - 60 minutes and build on it from there.
- Simple works too
There are no rules for self-care - you need to do what works for you. Simple changes can make a world of difference, especially when you’re trying to get used to the idea that you can do more things that are good for you and not others. For example, change up your toast for a delicious smoothie in the morning or drink your coffee outside in the garden with your journal instead of sitting in front of your computer. There are always ways for you to make small adjustments.
- Check in weekly
Take 5 minutes to review your checklist and your progress once a week, so that you can make adjustments accordingly. It’s also important not to be hard on yourself if you aren’t able to tick everything off your list every week - no two weeks are the same.
While you may already have a number of goals that you want to achieve before the end of 2019, making self-care a priority is one goal that will definitely make a noticeable difference in your life come 31 December 2019.