Self-care is a very broad term and can honestly mean anything. Self-care can be described by each person differently. To one person it can be about doing anything that is fun and exciting but to the next person it is about being quiet and fully relaxed in the moment and even then, someone else might think it’s a combination of both. Self-care is an individualized plan of activities that will allow you to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthy.
If you haven't been practicing self-care for a while or at all, it can be overwhelming at first to break it down and know where to start.
Self-Care First -- Just like health studies have shown exercising first thing in the morning gives the best results the same goes for self-care. Take care of yourself first to start your day off positively. When you get things out of the way you’ll feel accomplished and awesome.
Schedule Self-Care -- Today people are more productive than ever. But, they are also distracted. The best course of action is to schedule in the things you want to do for self-care. Schedule that haircut or massage. Schedule a short phone call with friends or family during your break at work. Schedule lunch with friends. If you write it down you’re more likely to do it.
Be Attentive -- Be aware of your surroundings as well as yourself. Your environment and knowing what you like and dislike plays a major part in self-care. If you are adding things to your routine that you don't like and don’t make you happy, look for a way to remove it or make it better.
Reward Yourself -- Self-care shouldn't only be about rewarding yourself but it is a great way to get started. It could help you to get some much-needed work done and help you get the care you need. Maybe you know you need to exercise but it's not something that you really enjoy doing. Start rewarding yourself for doing it so that you get an immediate benefit for anything that will only provide long-term results. For example, did you do your exercise every day for a month? Schedule a facial or massage to reward yourself.
Try Meditation -- Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and help you relax. The goal is to focus on breathing and nothing else. Studies show that meditation and prayer help cut down on stress and improve memory. My favorite meditation app is InsightTimer. It offers a timer, guided meditations, groups, you can become friends with meditators across the globe, and it's free!
Take Time Alone -- Self-care doesn't have to be about going and spending a bunch of money or doing exciting activities. Sometimes people just need alone time. Take time away from children and coworkers so that you can rejuvenate and focus on your own thoughts.
Spend Time with Friends and Family -- Schedule some time with friends and family. Go out to dinner or play board games at their house. Do something different than you usually would do with them also. Make it a date so you have something to look forward to.
Buy Something -- Go buy a new outfit, a pair of hiking boots or a coffee at Starbucks. Add it to your budget so you don't go overboard. It's okay to splurge every now and then if it makes you feel good and isn’t completely unhealthy.
Self-care can be simple. All you need to do is figure out what is best for you and do it. One thing that might help you decide what to do is to write down the goals that you have for yourself so that you can ensure that the things you do lead you towards meeting those goals.