Self-care always sounds like such a luxurious and privileged thing, and that mindset is likely precisely why we are all so stressed, miserable, and more highly-medicated than ever before. Self-care is not something you get around to when you have a day off now and again — it is an absolutely imperative aspect of ensuring that every other part of your life runs smoothly. If you aren't taken care of first, you cannot be expected to perform at your best, or be there for others you love, or feel at all fulfilled.
Yet, at the same time, it makes sense that it's seen as a luxury, because who has time for the non-essentials anymore? Between all of the things that absolutely must get done for your survival during the day, it can often seem as though the things that aren't imperative just, well, aren't important. (This could not be further from the truth.) We need to re-think what self-care really means, and recognize that it is not about just laying in a lavender petal bath all day reading a romance novel. It means checking in with yourself throughout the day, taking care of yourself in the most simple and basic ways, and of course, really listening to yourself and what you know you need.
So here are a few very practical ways to get you started on your #journey toward real self-care. It may not feel totally natural at first, but once you're able to incorporate these simple things into your routine, all you'll be wondering is how you ever lived without them.
Begin Each Day With A Glass Of Water
It is the simplest and best thing you can do for yourself — and does not require too much commitment.
Eating intuitively means to eat based on what you deeply, intuitively feel you need in that moment — sometimes it's fries, sometimes it's a salad. Listen to your body and let it tell you when it's hungry, or what it needs. You'll be better off for it altogether.
Don't Assume You're Always Going To Need The Exact Amount Of Food Or Hours Of Sleep
You'll drive yourself insane trying to be too exact about your routines. This is again focusing on being intuitive above all else — listen to your body when it tells you how much sleep or food it needs, because it won't always be the same.
Speak Up For Yourself
The ultimate stress-reliever is just to say what you've been resisting saying. Evaluate it beforehand, and be mindful about your delivery, but don't hold back. In most cases (though there are exceptions) it's better to be honest than be completely weighed down by all the emotion you're suppressing.
Keep Your Space Organized
What it really does is create flow in your life — your space is always nicely maintained, you always know where everything is, and you can avoid all those little trip ups during the day that involve searching for lost keys, or not having a clean bowl, or any other kind of stress that will mess with your day.
Devote A Day To Cooking And Cleaning
Freeze what you make and re-heat for meals throughout the week. Make cleaning a routine thing, so your space never gets to a point where it's such mess you need a three-day-long overhaul to even make it decent again.
Take A Hot Bath Before You Go To Bed
It will unwind you and relax all of your muscles at once, which is perfect especially if you have trouble falling asleep sometimes.
Use Natural Remedies As Often As Possible
I'm not in any way anti-medicine (uh, the opposite actually), but I do try to use natural remedies when I can — and often enough, they help more than, say, taking a pain pill for a headache (as opposed to putting peppermint oil on my forehead, which works flawlessly every time).
Spend Time With People You Love — Even Just On The Phone
Don't forget that connection is just as much a part of self-care as anything else.
Take Your Lunch Hour To Have Lunch — And Shut Down At The End Of The Day
You must learn to compartmentalize your life. You will simply not be able to perform to the best of your ability, or worse, will always feel as though you're pushing yourself while you're past empty. It does not make you more effective, it does not get anything done well or even better, and in the process, it deteriorates your health. Taking time to completely unwind and unplug isn't just "nice," it's essential.
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