Self-care was a huge topic during the pandemic. Governments, wellness groups, and health practitioners advised people cooped at home to practice self-care for their mental and physical health. Various agencies encouraged creating a daily self-care routine that included exercising, eating a balanced diet, and journaling.
Most people understand self-care. We are encouraged to “fill our cup first” before helping others, as you cannot pour from an empty cup.
However, sticking to a routine can prove quite challenging. That’s why we scoured trusted scientific sources and authorities on the topic for the best tips on creating self-care practices that offer the best all-around benefits and are easy to stick to.
We discovered that you only need self-awareness, self-control, and self-regulation to design a self-care routine that addresses the most critical aspects of your overall health and is guaranteed to stick. Read on to learn how to use these open secrets to creating a lasting self-care routine.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
The famous quote, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is perhaps one of the best examples of self-care guidance for preventive health. It’s a metaphor relating healthy everyday eating for better physical, mental, and emotional health and, thus, fewer doctor’s visits.
Therefore, creating a solid self-care routine that is easy to follow and stay consistent with is even more beneficial. This includes incorporating simple self-care activities into your daily routine rather than vice versa.
What Is Self-Care, Anyway?
The International Journal of Nursing Sciences defines self-care as “the learned and deliberately performed action utilized to regulate development and functioning.” In layman’s terms, this is when we learn how to do something and then choose to do it purposefully to help ourselves grow in specific areas.
Imagine you have a plant in your garden. You learn that regularly watering the plant helps it grow big and strong. So, you decide to water the plant daily, ensuring it gets just the right amount. This is a learned, repetitive, and deliberately performed action because you know it’s essential for the plant’s development and functioning.
What Self-Care Isn’t
Self-care isn’t cheating on your diet because you deserve it. It is not going on a photo shoot for your Instagram reel, though it feels amazing. Self-care isn’t skipping regular meals because you prioritize Netflix over sleep or blowing a hole through your savings because you only live once.
Self-care is easy and hard at the same time; it can be rewarding, but sometimes, you must pay the price first. Now, on to the fun part: forming your routine.
The Only Self-Care Routine You Will Ever Need
You only need three things to create the perfect self-care routine: self-awareness, self-control, and self-reliance.
1. Self-Control: The Dicipline to Make Your Routine Stick
Old habits die hard, and familiar paths are always easier to follow. Since self-care involves building or maintaining some form of new patterns, self-control becomes a cornerstone of developing and sticking to a routine.
Self-control is regulating our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to engage in healthy and beneficial self-care activities. Self-control helps us resist impulsive or harmful behaviors and make choices that support our well-being.
Resilience is the key to stand a chance at sticking to your self-care routine. Here are some tips for practicing self-control:
- Limit distractions during your self-care time. Turn off notifications and take a few moments to connect with yourself in a peaceful environment that allows you to focus.
- Develop a structured self-care routine and commit to following through, even when you don’t feel motivated or encounter obstacles.
- Practice delayed gratification for long-term benefits.
2. Self-Awareness: The Key to Self-Care
Have you searched online for simple self-care ideas and got started but couldn’t stick to them? The inability to stick to a routine of self-care practice is connected to a lack of self-awareness.
Self-awareness is intentionally paying attention to how you feel around certain people in specific situations or when engaging in certain activities. By cultivating self-awareness, you gain clarity about your physical, mental, and emotional state, leading to a more personalized and effective self-care routine.
Practice self-awareness to identify and attune to physical, emotional, and mental health needs. There are many tools available that can help you cultivate this skill. Utilize them to create a more personalized and effective self-care routine.
3. Self-Reliance: The Confidence to Continue
Self-reliance is the third defining attribute of self-care. It involves taking personal responsibility for one’s health and well-being. Self-reliant individuals actively engage in self-care practices, seek relevant information, and make decisions that align with their needs and values.
Here’s how you can incorporate self-reliance when establishing self-care routines:
- Develop problem-solving abilities to tackle challenges independently. Look for creative solutions and utilize available resources effectively, such as assembling a simple home gym or taking brisk daily walks for your physical health.
- Embrace resilience by learning from setbacks and viewing them as opportunities for growth.
- Cultivate self-confidence by recognizing your strengths and achievements. Celebrate small victories along your self-reliance journey.
Remember, it’s never too late to start practicing self-care. It’s essential to be patient and have self-compassion throughout the process.