It’s only been about 9 months since I first heard the term self-care and at that time I was so confused by it. “What is self-care?” I asked to myself. It seemed to all the sudden be mentioned everyone.
At first, I thought it was some sort of new fad or trend that should be avoided at all costs as I don’t like to follow those things. The more I learned about self-care and how it can actually help you mentally and physically, the more I was intrigued.
Personal development courses I have taken mention self-care a lot and why you need it. I’ve been trying to do more self-care myself and I want to let you know why you need to do it (or more of it) starting right now.
What is Self Care?
In the simplest terms, self-care is an activity that reenergizes you and makes you feel good instead of draining your energy. It’s activities or things you can do in a positive, safe, and fun way to destress and lessen anxiety, depression, low moods, low energy, etc.
This can range from small things like painting your nails to bigger things like having a full spa day. Don’t worry though, you can do plenty of self-care without spending a fortune or doing only spa treatments.
How Self Care Helps You
Self care helps your body and mind by relaxing you, clearing your mind, helping you get better sleep, be in a better mood, enjoy things more, and so on. There’s a long list of benefits of self care. Once you start doing it you’ll start slowly feeling a difference.
For others, if you’re running on fumes, you may get quicker results from the self care. If you start slacking on it, you’ll also feel that too. When I’m in a good self care routine but get off track for more than a couple days, I feel more sleepy and drained and it’s harder to get things done when I’m tired.
Test it out for a while and see for yourself. I know doing self care can make a world of difference.
Why It Can Be Hard to Do
I’m not going to lie, I really struggled with self care at the beginning and still sometimes fall off track with it. Why is self care so hard when basically it’s just doing nice things for ourselves?
One of the biggest factors we can’t get to treat ourselves is lack of time. There are only so many hours in the day and usually, things for ourselves are the first to go. If you have to decide between cooking dinner and taking a bubble bath, you’re probably going to choose cooking dinner.
This leads me to the second biggest factor in why we don’t always follow through with self care: it feels selfish. By definition, we’re doing something nice for ourselves and not someone else.
If you’re a people pleaser, this is especially difficult. It can be really difficult to tell someone else “no, I can’t do that right now” and focus on your self care activities.
Yet another reason, is you don’t have a list of things you can do for self care so you just ignore it and don’t do it. Don’t worry, this is an easy fix that I go over in the next section.
How to Get Past The Self Care Roadblocks
Lack of Time
If you’re struggling with lack of time there are a couple of things you can do. First, find the smallest self care activities to do when you don’t have time.
Waiting those last few minutes before the laundry alarm goes off? Dance around to some fun music, wash your face, do your nails, or some other quick activity that energizes.
Organize your list of self care activities with what you can do when you have certain amounts of time.
Secondly, make more time. Are you actually busy or are you watching Netflix or playing on Facebook? Instead of an episode of a random show, why not take a bubble bath? Or maybe you can order groceries for delivery one week and go get a massage instead.
If self care is important to you, which it should be, you’ll find the time for it. I will admit this is sometimes easier said than done, but at least make some effort. I know I need to make more, but I really feel it when my self care starts to drop.
This is a big roadblock for a lot of women, but I want to tell you that taking care of yourself is not selfish. In fact, it really doesn’t just help you. If you’re feeling better, you’re going to be more relaxed, be a nicer person, and be more productive. You’ll be able to get more done instead of being run down. This benefits everyone.
Don’t let yourself run on fumes. This helps no one. Take time for yourself. I’m sure your friends, family, children, coworkers, etc will all be happier if you’re energized and happy.
Not Knowing What to Do
This is the easiest fix. Time is the hardest, followed by guilt, but this is easy. Start with writing a list of all the things you really enjoy that fill you with energy or excitement. You can group these ideas by smallest to largest activities or by what you’d like to do if you’re feeling certain moods.
For example, if you’re feeling really down and enjoy nature then going on a hike in the woods may be just the thing you need, but if you’re feeling anxious, maybe you need a massage or bubble bath or some yoga.
There’s no right or wrong answer for how you write your list. Make a couple of copies and keep them in different places. This way, if you’re ever out running errands and need a quick perk up you can take out your list and see if there’s a small idea you can do while you’re out. Maybe a special coffee or treat that you usually don’t get. No limits!
Minimum Self Care Tips
- Get plenty of sleep – 7-8 hours is generally recommended, but I think up to 9 hours is healthy. In the winter months, I tend to sleep that extra hour.
- Drink lots of water – drink half your body weight in ounces every day. I know this can be hard at first if you’re not used to drinking a lot of water. The rushes to the bathroom will slow down, I promise. I even try to drink more than this. I aim for 10-12 glasses. Once you’re in a water routine, that minimum 8 glasses can still feel not enough.
- Take a multivitamin – This is something I recently got back into. It’s more important if you’re not eating a well-rounded diet, which I’m very bad at. It provides any nutrients you may be missing.
- Eat higher quality foods – Try to quit at least some of the junk food you’re eating, cut down on alcohol and sodas, and eat more non-processed foods. Fresh meat, veggies, and fruits are great. I know people have issues with carbs these days but they are also important, just try to eat healthier versions if possible. Easier said than done I know.
- Get outdoors and sunlight – This is a crucial thing for ourselves, especially if you deal with the winter blues. The fresh air and sunlight can do wonders on our moods. I’m always happier in the summer or when I can get outside and into the sun. Even if it’s cold out, open your blinds to let some sunlight in or go for a quick walk around the block to get some fresh air.
- Take time for yourself – Again, self care isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. Take time for yourself. Clear your schedule and relax for a few hours, take a spa day, see a movie or go out by yourself, or do other things that make YOU happy and fulfilled. Maybe there is a new hobby you’ve been wanting to try or an old one you need to get back into or spend more time on. Go for it!
Final Thoughts on Self Care
I hope this has helped show you that self care is an important thing that you should be doing daily and weekly as a minimum. It’s not selfish and you should be making time for it.
I’ve listed the minimum things you should be doing for self care, but that’s only scratching the surface. There are so many things you can do for yourself and I’ll be posting about this soon. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, here are some ideas to get you started.
Updated: Here are 41 Self Care Ideas to Try