These days, it’s easy to neglect self care. If you’re juggling a demanding job, family obligations and a busy social schedule, you may forget to schedule in “me time” as often as you should.
Despite these challenges, self care is essential to cultivating long-lasting health and wellness. It should be a priority in everyone’s life.
So, how can you create a healthy self care routine?
Below are ten simple tips for introducing a little TLC from you to you.
What is a Self Care Routine?
To start, let’s define self care. When you think of self care, you may envision indulgent bubble baths or a glass of wine after a long day. However, self care can take many forms.
Self care encompasses any activity that supports your mental, emotional and physical health. It’s about proactively partaking in practices that promote your wellbeing.
The self care process requires you to ask these questions throughout the day:
- “How am I feeling right now?”
- “What do I need right now?”
- “How can I meet this need in a healthy way?”
Is Self Care Selfish?
Many people who struggle with self care fear that it’s a selfish practice. Self care is all about focusing on yourself, after all. If you’re used to putting everyone else’s needs first, it can be a challenging transition.
However, self care is essential to showing up as the best version of yourself for others. You can’t give to anyone else if you’re running on empty. It's more likely that resentment will grow if you can’t tend to your own needs from time to time.
How Do I Start Putting Myself First?
The foundation of a solid self care routine is embracing a healthy sense of self-worth.
Practicing self care sends the message that you are worthy, valuable and deserving of attention. Thus, the most critical step of self care is giving yourself permission to put yourself first.
How to Practice Self Care
To practice self care, you should schedule in activities that support your wellbeing every day. You don’t need to spend hours devoted to self care—20 minutes or so will do if you’re tight on time.
After, you’ll be ready to return to your daily obligations with energy, motivation and an improved mood.
What Are Examples of Self Care?
To help you add some healthy self care practices into your daily routine, check out these ten ideas:
1. Spend Some Time Outside
If you love sunshine and nature, treat yourself to some time in the outdoors each day. Not only is being outdoors enjoyable, but it’s known to reduce stress and decrease blood pressure1.
Depending on where you live, you can:
- Take a walk on the beach
- Hike a nearby trail
- Stroll around your neighborhood
- Tend to your garden
- Sunbathe on your patio and soak in the vitamin D
2. Move Your Body
Some people love working out, whereas others dread the thought of it. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, physical activity is an integral part of overall health and wellbeing. Most notably, it can be an enjoyable way to de-stress and clear your mind. If you’re also wondering how to increase energy levels, it can help with that too.
You don’t have to take up a rigorous gym routine to get moving throughout the day. Simply try out one of these activities:
- Do household chores
- Take a walk
- Do yoga
- Attend a spin class
- Go for a hike
- Play a sport
Any of these exercises will offer you health benefits if done consistently. Even a short 10-minute walk during your lunch break can help your mood, fight fatigue and improve your overall health2.
3. Cook Healthy Meals
Nourishing your body with healthy food is another important aspect of self care. However, nutrition is complex, so don’t force yourself to overhaul your entire diet overnight. Instead, make small adjustments to it one step at a time.
Here are some ways to get started:
- Meal prep healthy food on the weekends to enjoy throughout the workweek
- Take advantage of the various meal kit delivery services out there
- Try out one new, healthy recipe each week
- Add a new fruit or vegetable to your meals this week
- Include one more plant-based meal to your meal plan for the week
- See if a nutritionist vs dietitian can help you achieve your health goals
4. Add in a Daily Probiotic
Another element of a nutritious lifestyle? Nurturing your gut microbiota.
The gut microbiota is in part responsible for your nutrient absorption, digestion, mood regulation and energy levels! It’s no wonder they say you are what you eat.
This self care ritual is quite simple. Just add a daily probiotic to your diet. Do a little research to discover which probiotic is best for you. Kombucha, tempeh and other fermented foods may contain some probiotic bacteria, but you can also try probiotic drinks.
Make sure to consult with your healthcare team about if probiotics are right for you.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness encourages you to clear your mind and tune into the present moment. It enables you to tap into a wonderful sense of peace and relaxation. Even five minutes of mindful meditation a day can improve your mood.
Furthermore, mindfulness studies show that it can reduce3:
- Pain response
Whether you prefer to meditate to music, a guided meditation tape, or complete silence, this self care ritual is easy to fit into your morning routine.
6. Establish a Skincare Routine
Another way to relax during your self care routine is to enjoy luxurious, spa-like beauty treatments every now and then.
For instance, you can:
- Take a relaxing bubble bath with Epsom salts and calming music
- Nourish your skin with a face mask or sugar scrub
- Enjoy aromatherapy with essential oils
- Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
- Book a professional massage
These activities help you relax, tune into your body and beautify yourself for the upcoming week. In turn, they’re a great way to practice self care.
7. Master the Art of Saying No
Another important aspect of self care is learning to say no to unwanted plans. It’s easy to take on more than you can handle, especially in your career or with friends and family. However, this only sets you up for stress and burn out.
If you consistently find that you bite off more than you can chew, practice saying no. By saying no to others, you say “yes” to your wellbeing.
Simplifying your to-do list will help reduce your stress and give you the much needed time to practice other self care rituals.
8. Spend Time With Loved Ones
Self care doesn’t have to be something you do alone. Spending time with friends and family is a wonderful way to meet your needs for social connection.
Just be sure to share your time with people who lift you up and respect your boundaries. You don’t need to feel guilty for distancing yourself from those who drag you down.
9. Write in a Journal
Writing in a journal is a fantastic way to connect with yourself. It provides you with a safe space to explore and express your thoughts, worries and emotions free of judgment.
Here are some valuable journaling tactics to try out:
- Write about your day before bed – By reviewing the day’s events, you can get your thoughts and worries down on paper. This way, you’ll prevent racing thoughts from keeping you awake. You may also uncover solutions to your problems along the way.
- Map out your goals – Your journal is also a great place to identify your goals and track your progress. Whether you want to lose weight, grow professionally, or improve your finances, a journal can hold you accountable.
- Focus on gratitude – Finally, try to write down at least five things you are grateful for during the day before bed. This simple practice can help boost your sense of wellbeing and happiness4. It will also send you off to sleep with a smile of appreciation.
10. Get Enough Sleep
Last but not least, sleep is a crucial element of self care. Getting adequate sleep ensures you wake up refreshed and energized.
To improve your sleep, start by crafting a calming night routine, maybe with a bath, a cup of tea and a good book. You can also use this time to write in your journal and meditate.
Next, make sure you get to bed early enough to ensure adequate rest. Most adults need around 7 hours of sleep, but everyone’s body is different. Finally, keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet to prevent any pesky sleep disruptions.
What Is a Good Self Care Routine?
As you can see, there are many ways to take better care of yourself. Your optimal self care routine will encompass your favorite activities and make you feel your best.
By choosing Bio-K+®, you’ll support your gut and take your self care routine to the next level.
- Kondo, Michelle. “Does Spending Time Outdoors Reduce Stress? A Review of Real-Time Stress Response to Outdoor Environments.” PubMed, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29604546. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.
- “Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health.” Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261.
- Goyal, Madhav. “Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” PubMed, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24395196. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.
- Davis, Don. “Thankful for the Little Things: A Meta-Analysis of Gratitude Interventions.” PubMed, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26575348. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.