How to Develop a Self-Care Routine
Developing a self-care routine is essential to making sure you’re setting yourself up for success. Self-care is nuanced, it’s hard, and it’s necessary. In this post we’ll talk about how to develop a self-care routine that will keep you taken care of.
Table of Contents
What is Self-Care?
- Loving and enjoyable
- Nourishing and beneficial to the self
- A necessity, not a privilege; required for self-preservation
Practicing self-care seems like this lavish concept that only the wealthy and privileged get to engage in. Luxurious bubble baths with expensive lush bath bombs, taking mental health days, going on extravagant vacations; these are all examples of self-care that might make it seem like an out of reach concept for those of us who can’t just call off work on a moment’s whim.
But the fact of the matter is, self-care is not a privilege, it’s a matter of self-preservation (a quote taken from my friend Autumn’s experience at CSCC’s student leadership summit).
Self-care is needed when you’re healthy and when your body is off balance. It helps keep you grounded and happy. It shows yourself that you care about you. A powerful message that is highly underrated if you ask me.
So how do you practice self-care if you can’t afford a monthly trip to the Hamptons?
Building a Realistic Self-Care Routine
How do you practice self-care when you’re stretched thin and short on time? How do you practice self-care when stopping to just breathe feels like a privilege? You build self-care into your routine.
Let's Start With a Brainstorm
The key to building a self-care routine to support you means having a strong bank of self-care activities that will serve you.
Below are some questions to help you build out brainstorm of things that can serve as self-care in a variety of settings. Ask yourself the following:
- “What makes me feel like the best me?”
- “What makes me feel whole?”
- “What makes me feel balanced and energized?”
- “What makes me feel happy?”
- “What drains me?”
- “What resets me?”
- “What negative thoughts and habits are holding me back?”
- “How can I make the most of my mornings, afternoons, evenings, and weekends?”
- “What inspires me?”
- “What are non-negotiable healthcare appointments I need make time for?”
- “What are my self-care non-negotiable?” (ex. brushing your teeth)
- “What can I do to take care of myself in spare time?” (ex. catch up on reading a book, meditate, listen to a podcast)
Now that we have a solid brainstorm of self-care activities, let’s organize into a solid self-care routine.
Yearly Self-Care Routines
Often times our yearly rituals come in the form of running a marathon every year or setting the intentions for the New Year. These routines are powerful because they often take a while to prepare for. They are our main focus for the year. The overarching goal that we want to achieve.
Whatever yearly ritual you set for yourself, know that it’s important and it plays a role in the overall year-long health.
Some self-care activities to add into your yearly self-care routine include:
- New Year Resolutions – Set your intentions for the year. Develop personal goals that will help you work towards promoting a better you.
- Yearly Mantra – Every year set a mantra or theme for yourself to help guide your decisions. For example, for 2018 my Mantra was “Let Happiness Be Your Compass” and when I went to make a big decision I asked myself if it honored my mantra. Learn more about picking a mantra for the new year here!
- Self Focused Vacation – plan a vacation for just yourself (can be a day or three) where you can rebuild and nurture your relationship with yourself. After all, if you are taking care of yourself it greatly impedes your ability to help others.
- Planned time of service – if you can (and are in the right space to do so) schedule time where you give your time to others. Helping others can do wonders for inspiring and rejuvenating the soul. This can also fit into your monthly and weekly routines if it’s possible for your schedule.
Weekly Self-Care Plan
What can you do weekly to help better improve your life? Weekly routines can help you set a positive tone for the week and help you stay on track with goals.
Some self-care activities to add into your weekly self-care routine include:
- Meal-plan / meal-prep (learn dietitian approved tips for meal-prepping here!)
- Pick one new recipe to try a week
- Tidy your home
- Review your finances
- Check-in with your Monthly Goals and assign yourself “homework” to help you work towards them
Daily Self-Care Plan
Ask yourself when you can fit in time for yourself during the day and plan for self-care. Self-care is vital daily because it helps set the tone for the day and keep stick to your weekly intentions.
Small things like flossing and brushing your teeth count as self-care and should be accounted for.
Some self-care activities to add into your daily self-care routine include:
- Draft your meals for the day (especially if you struggle with eating enough or meal decision fatigue)
- Do a braindump (to help gather your thoughts)
- Set your daily intentions
- Enjoyable 15-30 minute physical activity
- Enjoy your coffee/breakfast (be mindful during your first meal of the day to set a tone of presence throughout the day)
- Set a bedtime
- Read for 15 minutes (or longer)
- Listen to a podcast
- Brush your teeth
- Brush your hair
- Get dressed
Sick Day Routine
When we are sick or exposed to foods we need to avoid, it’s important to have a self-care plan in place to help maximize recovery. Learning to self-soothe healthily is so important.
When you aren’t feeling well ask yourself “what do I need to feel better?” and give it to yourself.
Some self-care activities to add into your sick day self-care routine include:
- Take a nap
- Literally “Netflix and Chill”
- Make soothing and nourishing meals
- Delegate tasks you’re too exhausted for
- Give yourself a break
- Take a bath/shower
- Drink fluids
- Stretch / Yoga
If you’re a fellow friend with celiac, check out my post on building a gluten exposure recovery kit to support you during your next glutening.
Self-Care Plan for Burnout
We all have been there, that moment where you are excited about something and suddenly don’t have the energy to do it. When you have a due date or a project you need/want to finish but lack inspiration. It’s like a motivation or creativity block.
Having a plan in place to help you revive your motivation and inspiration is important when you need to stick to your plans and goals!
Some self-care activities to add into your burnout self-care routine include:
- Go for a walk – often times when we can’t push past our creativity and motivational walls it’s because we’ve been sitting and focusing for too long. Switching things up and getting the body moving can help revive your energy and creative levels.
- Coffee and creativity – when you are just feeling in a slump plan some coffee and creativity. Take the time to brew yourself the perfect cup of coffee (or tea) and enjoy it while ruminating in your thoughts. Let this coffee or tea open up your mind to new ideas and inspirations.
- Read – reading can help inspire you and think of things in a new light. Often when I am uninspired I read things that are related to my niche or focus and gather inspiration from them. I try to read pieces and think about how I can apply them to my knowledge, profession, and life.
- Socialize – going out with friends and connecting with their lives can be a huge source of inspiration and or help recharge your motivation.
- Do something fun – let yourself let go and enjoy! Do something that is fun to help revive your spirits and rebalance your work/hobbies.
- Lean on hobbies – do you like houseplants? Videogames? Knitting? Playing instruments? What hobbies do you have that are unrelated to where you’re feeling burnout, and try to give them some more energy.
If you have celiac disease and are experiencing celiac specific burnout, check out my blog post on celiac burnout for more tips on how to take care of yourself in those moments.
Like this post? Share it with your friends? Maybe plan a time to build self-care plans with each other.