September is Self-Care Awareness Month! I had “Self-Care” on my list of blog topics that I wanted to talk about. When I saw that September was Self-Care Awareness month, I figured this would be the perfect time to have this chat about the importance of self-care.
We all know that self-care is important, but how many people really take the time to focus on themselves? Self-care looks different for everybody because we are all different and need different things.
Self-care doesn’t always have to be face masks and bubble baths if that’s not for you!
I truly have a passion for living a healthy balanced lifestyle and getting the most out of life. We all get caught up in day-to-day tasks and activities that sometimes we forget one important thing: self-care & making ourselves a priority.
We all have non-negotiables that need to be present in our daily routine because when they aren’t present, things seem to get out of control. By “non-negotiable”, I mean, that one thing that you need present for your sanity. For me, my non-negotiable is working out, especially first thing in the morning. Once I figured this out and got myself on a consistent routine, this has been the ultimate game-changer for me.
A couple years ago, I was experiencing various stressors in my life. Things seemed all out of control and I couldn’t figure out how to get myself back on track. I was stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, unsure and pretty unhappy with just about everything. I had started seeing my healthy habits disappearing. I was unmotivated to go to the gym, got lazy when it came to washing my face at night, I mean I did not want to do any of my healthy habits throughout the day. Which was weird because I’ve always been one to always have healthy habits in place.
It wasn’t until I started going to the gym first thing in the morning that things started falling into place. Things started making more sense to me. The days that I don’t go to the gym or get some kind of exercise in, I feel all anxious and flustered all day. That’s when I realized that working out was my non-negotiable self-care ritual.
Over the last year that I’ve been regularly on a workout schedule, I have slowly been able to implement other self-care habits into my day and see which ones work best for me. Since I’ve been experiencing many changes in my life recently, I’ve had a hard time with getting myself on a solid self-care routine. But, I am learning first-hand the importance of incorporating some self-care into your day and figuring out which ones are necessary for you.
Along this journey so far, I’ve learned how hard it can be to let go of stressors in our daily life. Not be focusing on all the things that we don’t have and that we wish we had. For me, I noticed myself neglecting self-care when I was overwhelmed by stress and how unhappy I was. Which in turn lead me to feeling even more stressed and unhappy because I wasn’t taking care of myself.
Sound familiar to anyone?
What I also had to learn is that I needed to choose myself and start making myself and my self-care a priority if I wanted all the stress to go away and to feel happy, I had to come first. It’s extremely hard to do when you are so far deep in the mental funk. What I learned is that making even the smallest changes goes a long way.
What I also learned is that I would tell myself that I’m going to do all of the self-care things right away, all at once. Well, probably not surprising at all, it didn’t work. Which was very frustrating because its SELF-CARE, it should be making me happy, right?!
Meh… not really.
When we set unrealistic goals for ourselves, it can be frustrating and overwhelming because it’s not likely to be possible to achieve those things. Then, we get hard on ourselves when we don’t do the things we told ourselves that we would do. The things that we told ourselves to do became less of a self-care item and more of a chore. The last thing self-care should be is a chore.
Side note: why does self-care have to be so dang complicated?!
Instead of telling yourself,“I’m going to get to the gym 5 days this week, do face masks every day and meditate for 30 minutes twice a day” maybe make the goal to get outside for a 10-15 minute walk a couple days a week, do a face mask once a week and journal a couple times a week. If that.
But, it’s important to do things that you love and make you feel good.
Some ideas for self-care:
Take a bubble bath
This is one of my favorite things and used to be something I did every Sunday night. Dimming the lights or just letting candles provide the light and putting on relaxing music. The apartment I just recently moved into doesn’t have a bath tub, which I’m really sad about but I try to take a long hot shower with lavendar essential oils. Not the same, but you have to work with what ya got!
Face scrubs & face masks.
This is one thing that I have been really bad about but I love doing. I was getting lazy with even washing my face. But, there’s something relaxing and refreshing about giving your face (& body!) some extra TLC, especially right before bed!
Journaling can be one of the most therapeutic activities! I have recently re-incorporated journaling back into my morning and night routine and I have seen tremendous results. Journaling allows you to get all of your stressors and anything bothering you out of your subconscious mind so it’s not stuck there. Our natural tendency is to suppress hard or stressful things, but the subconscious doesn’t forget that it’s there. So, journaling is a great technique to use to talk about what’s going on in your life. Some questions to answer: What’s going well? What’s stressing you out? What’s holding you back? What are you feeling? What would make the day great? How did the day go? What went well? What could be improved?
I personally don’t like journal prompts, but I know some people find them very helpful. I find that just free writing and letting my mind guide the writing helps me a lot more. I try to write a full page in the morning and just brain dump everything that’s on my mind.
I have a love/hate relationship with meditation, but there are SO many benefits from it! Meditation is difficult at first, at least it is for me. It’s difficult to turn off your thoughts for some time. But, if that’s an issue for you, then maybe this is something that you need to help you quiet your mind. I’ve found adding in mediation into my morning and night routine has been very helpful in decreasing my stress and anxiety.
Tip: Start with 2-3 minutes once a day. If you try to start longer and more often, you might find that you get frustrated and end up not seeing mediation to be helpful for you.
Have you noticed that you have very negative self-talk? Like “I’m so stupid”, “I’m a failure.”, “Why can’t I do anything right?” I noticed that too for a while. How we talk about ourselves and how we think about ourselves correlates with how we feel and how we show up for ourselves. If you keep telling yourself “I’m a failure” all the time, you can’t expect yourself to feel all that great about yourself. If you go into a situation thinking “I’m a failure”, you’re going to treat yourself and the situation like you’re a failure.
It’s all about perception. Instead of constantly telling yourself “I’m a failure”,try saying “I am strong & capable of success”, “I am powerful”, “I will be successful”. Repeat affirmations everyday, write them on sticky notes, give yourself reminders. Trust me, it works wonders! Positive self-talk is incredibly important!
Take a break.
It is very easy to get caught up in daily tasks and being busy that we forget to slow down throughout the day. I find it helpful to take small breaks throughout the day to give my mind a rest. Take this time to do something that you enjoy and find refreshing and helpful. Maybe you take a break to read, journal, watch tv, get outside, etc. Especially if it’s a nice day, I’ve been trying to take 10 minutes to walk around outside to get some fresh air.
As we all know, there are SO many positive benefits to exercise. There are of course physical benefits to working out, but more importantly, mental benefits as well. Try to make it a priority to get out and go on a walk/run, get to the gym a couple times a week, go on a bike ride, take a class, anything! Get your body moving!
Reading is a great way to calm your mind and relax. I’m not much of a reader, but when I do, I like to right before I go to bed. It makes me tired and calms my mind. Maybe reading can be a perfect addition to your night time routine!
Do something you love.
This seems like an obvious, but sometimes when we are too stressed, we neglect the things we love. Life gets in the way and you just forget about that hobby that makes you so happy. This can be anything. Maybe it drawing, painting, coloring, ceramics, building things, etc.
Sometimes simply just being outside and getting fresh air can be incredibly refreshing. If you are someone that tends to stay inside in your office all day, maybe getting outside for even just a 10-15 minute break might be helpful and refreshing!
Get a Massage .
Massages can be a bit pricey, so this might be a every-once-in-a-while splurge on your self-care. But, if it’s in your budget, don’t be afraid to take it the extra mile and treat yo self- you deserve it!
Treat Yourself to a Mani/pedi
Similar to getting a massage, don’t be afraid to treat yo self! I very rarely go to a salon to get my nails done. But, sometimes it’s nice to splurge a little bit and get a little pampered!
Go to Therapy.
As someone with a psychology background, I whole-heartedly believe in the benefits of talk therapy. Of course, this is something that not everyone has access to. Even just talking about what’s going on to family/friends if you are feeling stressed out. I find talk therapy to be helpful because it gets everything off of your chest so you’re not keeping everything bottled up inside. This can bring up lots of emotions, which can be hard and uncomfortable to deal with in the moment. But, the end result makes you feel so much more relieved to have all of the extra weight off of your shoulders!
Make plans with a friend.
Again, being overly busy can make it hard to make friendships a priority. But, it always feels good to catch up with a friend that you haven’t seen in a while. I encourage you to contact a couple friends you haven’t seen in a while and make plans throughout the month or in the near future!
OK retail therapy is not for me. Shopping tends to stress me out more than it makes me feel refreshed. Although, there is something to say about buying yourself a new outfit to wear that you feel real good in!
Take yourself to see a movie.
Again, movies aren’t really my thing. While I enjoy them, I don’t ever think to do this. But, if you are someone that really enjoys movies, then this is a great one for you! Take yourself to see that movie that you’ve been wanting to see! Or spend a Friday/Saturday night in for a movie night (this is what I would be more likely to do!). Make yourself a bowl of popcorn, grab a glass of wine and a comfy blanket and you are good to go! Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?!
The list is endless! It’s important to do what makes you feel happy and refreshed. Whatever you need! I encourage you and challenge you to pick a couple things to do every day this month for self-care. They say it takes three weeks to form a habit! So, by the end of the month you might have developed a self-care routine habit that you will carry with you even after September ends!
So, what self-care activities are you committing to trying this month?!