I strive to take care of myself, but sometimes I fall short. Every now and then I need to indulge in a self care routine, particularly if I’ve been working really hard. I usually pick one area to focus on (mind, body, or spirit). If life has been very stressful, I’ll take care of all three.
Self Care Routine (The Method)
Rather than a regular routine, I prefer to use a method. I try to give myself at least an hour of downtime. And then I pick two or three ideas from the list below.
Don’t have an hour? No problem. You can still benefit from shorter chunks of time, like fifteen minutes. Or even five. The important thing is to give yourself a little break. It’s like a mental vacation.
Don’t be afraid to personalize this method. Make your own list of activities to choose from or tweak my list. If one of these doesn’t appeal to you, then don’t do it! Taking care of yourself is all about being kind and nurturing yourself. Choose activities that make you feel good inside and out to form your own self care routine.
- Unplug: Turn off the phone, so you’re not chasing after pings and rings. If this isn’t a possibility, I’ll turn off notifications, just to give myself a break from being constantly connected. Sometimes, I’ll just use the “priority only” setting for phone calls, so I only get the important ones.
- To Do List: I’ll choose a chore I’ve been meaning to do, but have been putting off, like cleaning out a drawer. It creates some “head space” so I’m not thinking about it anymore.
- Organize my thoughts: Sometimes I’ll do a “brain dump” of all the things I need to do. If you write it down, it won’t be rattling around in your head.
- Organize your space: Sometimes a ten or fifteen minute clean up works wonders. I’ll set a timer and run through a room, tossing clothes in the hamper, dusting surfaces, making the bed. I don’t feel as scattered when my place is neat.
- Read: Read a couple chapters from a book, or articles from a blog or magazine. When I come across interesting things online, I send them to Pocket to read later, which is a free service. That way, I can read on my tablet, computer, or phone at a more convenient time.
- Meditate or practice mindfulness: I have a Google Home so I simply say, “Hey Google, practice mindfulness.” It’s a two minute guided exercise. Before I got a Google Home, I used the Headspace app, which has some free options.
- Entertain myself: Sometimes I decompress by watching an hour of television. Since I’m always on the go, I’m never up to date, so Netflix is a great option for keeping up.
- A hot bath: I’ll take a long, hot bath or shower. Add in bath salts, light candles, and play soft music.
- Pamper myself: I’ll give myself a facial, manicure, pedicure, or face mask.
- Easy exercise: Sometimes I’ll go for a walk. There’s a hiking trail near where I live. Yoga is another peaceful, rejuvenating activity.
- Cat nap: If I’ve been sleep-deprived, I’ll take a short twenty minute nap to rejuvenate myself.
- Indulge myself: If I’ve been having a food craving, I’ll give into it. One of my favorites is a plate of pasta.
- Nourish my body: After being on the go and eating quick bites to keep my energy up, I’ll make something full of nutrients. It’s important to nourish your body. My favorites are a Greek yogurt and berry smoothie or a Buddha bowl.
- An attitude of gratitude: I’m a very goal-oriented person and sometimes I lose sight of what I’ve already accomplished and the good things I have in my life. It helps to reflect on what’s going well and I have a lot to be thankful for.
- Coffee: I’m a coffee lover. One of my favorite things is sitting down to a fresh cup and a quiet moment. I let my thoughts drift and just enjoy living. I don’t think about the past, the present, or the future. It’s all about being here.
- Ritual: If I’ve been neglecting my spiritual journey, I find a quiet moment to practice witchcraft. This could be something simple, like concentrating and then picking a card from my tarot deck and reflecting on what it means for me. Other times, I’ll do a quick centering ritual with a couple of candles.
- Giving back: This could mean donating my time or money to a cause I believe in, or something simple like paying for another person’s order at Starbucks. It makes me feel great to send a positive burst of energy out into the universe.
- Time with animals: I have two cats and spending ten or fifteen minutes petting them puts me at ease. They fill me with a sense of peace.
- Getting rid of negativity: I’ve gone through my social feeds and muted or straight up blocked people who bring me down. Other people’s intolerance, gloom, or spiteful behavior can be exhausting. I don’t want that sort of energy around me.
- Self Love: Whenever I get a compliment, I write it down so I don’t forget. Periodically, I remind myself that I’m pretty awesome.
- Focus: Sometimes, it helps to examine my goals and figure out where I’ve been and where I’m going. What am I working towards? And more importantly, why? What does it all mean?
We all lead busy lives and taking care of ourselves is crucial. We can’t be there for anyone else, if we’re run down and exhausted. Taking care of yourself has to be a priority.
What does your self care routine look like?