If there’s one thing most of us are too busy to think about, it’s self-care.
Self-care is just as it sounds; it’s taking care of yourself. That includes all aspects of yourself. Your mental, physical, emotional, recreational, and professional well-being is all part of self-care. In order for you to care for yourself, you have to consider what areas of yourself need the most attention, and how to show them love in the first place.
When it comes to self-care, these are what I have found to be the most important tips for loving yourself, staying healthy, and building a life you enjoy.
1. Prioritize Alone Time
Spending time with people you love is important, but so is spending time with yourself. Alone time helps you stay in tune with your thoughts, your goals, your interests, and what you need. Far too often we allow ourselves to become wrapped up in our daily hustle, our social lives, or other people’s needs, allowing ourselves to completely forget quiet time with just yourself.
Carve out some time every day to do something you enjoy, on your own. Maybe it’s going for a walk, reading a few chapters of a book, knitting a sweater, or baking some cookies. Whatever it may be, let yourself do it on your own. Spending time with yourself will help you develop a sense of self-love and care.
2. Put Good Stuff in Your Body
The saying “you are what you eat” is undeniably true. When you eat crap, you feel like crap. So while “treating yourself” is great, fuelling your body with healthy foods is more important. The right food will make you feel energized, help with your hair and skin, and even cure insomnia. In fact, a tall glass of cold water has been known to be more effective at waking you up than a cup of coffee.
You’re definitely not ruining your self-care routine if you decide to pig out on some cake or coffee. Obviously, it’s all about moderation… But prioritizing a healthy diet is one way of taking care of yourself that ends up affecting nearly every aspect of your wellbeing, from your mental health to your physical health.
3. Get Good Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important aspects self-care, however, it’s often the most forgotten. Sleep allows your body to recharge and reset. A good sleep sets the tone for the rest of the day ahead of you. Without a good night’s sleep, it’s only natural that you feel groggy, irritable, and overemotional. In many cases, poor sleep can trigger anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
Treating yourself to great sleep is vital for an effective self-care routine. When you take care of yourself through sleep, you set yourself up for a better day that can be focused on other aspects of your wellbeing. Set your alarms and try to get your full 8 hours… And if you can, try not to over, or under sleep. Both are risky business.
4. Organize Your Finances
Like I said, self-care isn’t always pretty. And it definitely isn’t always exciting. But whether you realize it or not, taking care of your finances is part of taking care of yourself. Money, or finances in general, are one of the most common causes of stress in adults. Neglecting to care for yourself financially can quickly spiral into a larger issue. Before you know it, you can’t sleep at night because you’re so stressed about money.
Take the time to organize your finances each month. How much do you need for bills, how much do you need for groceries? And don’t forget to carve out a budget for the things you care about, like a travel fund or a weekly night out budget. You don’t need money to be happy, but you do need to take care of your finances in order to take care of yourself.
5. Hit The Gym
Sweating at the gym isn’t necessarily attractive, but it’s important for your all-around wellbeing. For both your physical and mental health, hitting the gym is important. Burning calories and releasing endorphins feels good. Not to mental regular exercise is a great way to boost creativity, productivity, and self-esteem. It’s a double-whammy
You don’t need to be a weightlifting champion or total gym rat, but you should consider physical activity if you’re thinking about self-care. Even if you go for a walk around the block a few times a week, that time is great for your mind, your body, and your spirit.
6. Surround Yourself With Good People
Negative people will always have a negative impact on your life. It’s sometimes a hard fact to accept. If the people you engage with don’t leave you feeling good about yourself, it might be time to find a new group of friends. There’s one self-care tip that many people avoid, and that’s removing negative people from your life and surrounding yourself with positive ones. It’s hard but necessary for your own self-care journey.
The concept is pretty simple. In order to care for yourself, you need to be around people who care about you (and themselves as well). Negative people lead to negative thoughts, emotions, and activity, harming you in one way or another. Avoid the heartache and be with good people.
7. Remember Hobbies
In many ways, self-care is about prioritizing the things you enjoy. When you don’t make time for things or activities that make you happy, you’ll find yourself in a really negative headspace. Shaping a life that includes hobbies or pastimes is important. It allows you to recharge mentally, and creates a safe place for yourself to retreat to when you need “self-care time.” As our lives get busier, it’s easy to forget about our hobbies, but for your own wellbeing, make them a priority.
Everyone’s hobbies are different. Just because a friend or loved one enjoys one activity, doesn’t mean you have to. In many cases, hobbies are things we enjoy doing in solitude. So whether it’s sitting down with a book, or going for a bike ride, giving yourself the time to enjoy what makes you happy is caring for yourself.
8. Approach Drugs & Alcohol With Caution
Sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than a glass of wine after a day at the office. Or a cold beer after cutting the grass. Or even a few drinks at the bar with friends to celebrate something. In the grand scheme of things, drinking (or in some instances, drugs) are a part of self-care. They help you relax, celebrate, and socialize. But this is one aspect of care you must approach with serious caution.
Drinking or drugs can quickly turn from a relaxing treat to a coping mechanism. When things get tough, you want to be able to support yourself without feeling like you need a drink. You must understand your limits and look out for yourself, as drinking can have serious negative effects on your mind and body. The second your recreational activities turn dangerous or harmful, it’s time to reevaluate.
9. Talk To Yourself With Love
Self-care isn’t just physical activity, like going to the gym or eating healthy. It’s also how you think of and speak to yourself. If your head is constantly flooded with negative thoughts, you’ll start to experience side effects, like poor self-esteem or self-image. You need to see yourself and speak to yourself with love and respect. You can’t be your own worst enemy, you need to be your number one fan. Self-care and self-love are two sides of the same coin.
When you start to think negative thoughts, quickly replace them with positive ones. This takes a conscious effort and control on your part, but it’s important. See the good instead of the bad, even if you need to say it to yourself again and again. Say it out loud if you have to. In the wise words of RuPaul, “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
10. Find the Time For Self-Care
Last but not least, make the time for self-care. In all honestly, self-care isn’t easy. It takes time, effort, healing, forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, honesty, support, and faith to accomplish. But step number one is finding the time.
Don’t let yourself get “too busy” and stop creating excuses. If you’re not happy, not feeling fulfilled, hating yourself…it’s your job to make a change. Give yourself all of the time and resources you need to make self-care a priority. You may not realize it’s importance, but as your life and views start to change, you’ll see why it matters.