Self-care isn't a passing fad — it's an essential part of getting through the day. Still, it's easy to fall down to the bottom of your to-do list, especially if your routine is in need of a bit of a refresh. If you're finding yourself fading, you might want to take inspiration from
popular self-care strategies for 2020.
Self-love and self-care are not easy," says Dara Weiss, founder and CEO of L'or de Seraphine, an aromatherapy candle brand. "I never go a day without thinking about what I can do for my family or friends, but remembering to do something for myself is much harder," she tells Bustle. "Not only do I struggle to make the time, but I almost feel guilty when I do."
Trying out self-care strategies that work for other people can help you feel less guilty about taking time for yourself; after all, if everyone's doing it, it can't be that bad for you, right? It also helps to remember that self-care doesn't *have* to mean buying essential oils or splurging on a massage. A lot of the time, it's just about holding more space for yourself in your day. (But if essential oils help you do that, more power to you.)
With that in mind, we asked experts across all facets of the wellness industry what self-care strategies they're most excited about this year. These seven might be here to stay.
Zackary Drucker/The Gender Spectrum Collection
Sure, self-care is all about your
self, but that doesn't mean you have to go it alone. Friends can be a huge part of your self-care strategy, says Lora DiFranco, founder of Free Period Press and creator of the Self-Care Master Plan, a workbook to help you find your own best ways to care for yourself.
"We usually think about self-care as
alone time, but relationships play a huge part in our mental wellbeing," DiFranco tells Bustle. "Partly in response to the digital age that we live in, people are looking for IRL human connection. I’ve seen a big increase in structured friend time through book clubs, low-key dinner parties, and home spa nights." So if you're looking for some quality "you" time, you might want to start by phoning a friend.
Self-care is also about making sure the spaces you spend most of your time are as pleasing as they can be. "[Add] small details into your home that set the tone for your self-care," Weiss tells Bustle. "Even details as small as a bouquet of flowers, a cozy throw blanket, or a piece of art that speaks to you, can really help to set a tone and create the right atmosphere."
Self-care in your home and office is great if you can control your space's design. But even if you have very limited control over, for example, the desk you share with three other people, you can try to make the spaces you can control even more comforting. Using shampoo with a calming scent or splurging on extra comfy shoes can keep you going through a long work day.
Committing To Your Mindfulness App (For Real)
Clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Stein, a therapist at
Anxiety Solutions, who works with clients with OCD and anxiety, tells Bustle that mindfulness meditation is increasingly popular. Meditating to increase your mindfulness is great for reducing stress and anxiety while boosting and stabilizing your mood. It's relatively easy to get started on your own, he says, with the rise of apps like Headspace and Calm. So if you're looking to get some help from your phone in loving yourself this year, developing a mindfulness practice can help.
Gratitude Journaling (Yes, Really)
As you're honing your self-care skills, you might want to try getting some of your thoughts down into a journal. Journaling is a way to explore your thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment from others.
Gratitude journaling, in particular, is one form that's been rising steadily in searches over the past five years, according to data from Google Trends. Apps like gthx can help you start on this practice (in a not-cheesy way), which has been linked to higher life satisfaction and other nice boosts.
Getting The Actual Amount Of Sleep You Need
severely sleep-deprived American adults tend to be, actually getting enough shut eye does seem to be... well, trendy. More and more people are seeking help falling asleep, turning to their phones for assistance. Sleep app downloads increased by over 20% from 2018 to 2019, according to Consumer Reports, so you wouldn't be alone in hopping into bed with this trend. Downloading apps like Relax Melodies or Sleep Cycle to help you fall asleep might just be in your self-care future.
Making sure you get outside and smell the proverbial (or literal) roses is an ever-important part of your self-care toolbox. Puneet Sabharwal, co-founder and CEO of the indoor plant subscription company
Horti, tells Bustle that plants can play vital roles in our own well-being and self-healing journeys. "Plants allows us to nurture something outside of ourselves, giving a sense of purpose amidst the mundane day-to-day," he says. Especially if part of your self-care involves staying home a lot, plants can be a huge part of your loving routine. "Not only do they make environments more cheerful, houseplants are splendid companions for folks with low mobility and who live in isolation," Sabharwal tells Bustle.
Sure enough, across the globe, people are getting outside to get their self-care on. In Scotland,
general practitioners have begun prescribing going outside as part of their medical practices, and Japanese forest bathing has long been an awesome way to increase your mindful connection to things that aren't your smartphone.
Becoming Your Own Best Friend
According to Dr. Stein, becoming closer to yourself is an all-important but underestimated form of self-care. "People are often harsh to themselves in a way they would never be towards friends or loved ones," he tells Bustle. But even if you feel like beating yourself up, he cautions that negative self-talk only brings you down. Instead, try treating yourself like you would treat your best friend. You'd probably be a lot nicer, right? "Simply committing to being kinder towards oneself can go a long way," Dr. Stein says.
This year, you might choose to practice tried-and-true forms of self-care. Alternatively, you may dive into ways of loving yourself you've never tried before and discover that they're awesome for you. "There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to self-care," DiFranco tells Bustle, "so reflecting on what self-care might look like to you is a good place to start."
Whatever you try or don't try, make sure you're prioritizing caring for yourself: you definitely deserve it. Experts: Dara Weiss, founder and CEO of L'or de Seraphine Lora DiFranco, founder of Free Period Press and creator of the Self Care Master Plan Dr. Michael Stein, clinical psychologist, Anxiety Solutions Puneet Sabharwal, co-founder and CEO of Horti