Practicing self-care is something that, in an ideal world, we would all be doing naturally and without thinking about it. However, in the real world, it is not always that simple and it’s easy to lose enthusiasm with trying to create new self-care habits. Unfortunately self-care is often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity and after a while of constantly being on the go and prioritising everything but themselves, burnout and overwhelm becomes a problem. If you have ever felt like this or knows someone who has then read on for some simple ways to gently build self-care habits into your daily life.
Self-care is purposefully doing ‘things’ to improve your health and wellbeing. These things can be instant and immediately stress-relieving (like taking a bubble bath) or they can be built into a daily habit and also benefit you in the long term (like healthy eating and regular exercise). There are many different things that you can do for your self-care and there is no ‘one size fits all’ so it’s important to be open minded and explore new ways of taking extra care of yourself to find out what works best for you.
Here are five simple, and slightly more long-term, self-care habits that are super easy to start building in to your everyday life:
- Practice gratitude
- Be kind to yourself
- Be mindful
- Make time for yourself
- Keep a separate work space
Gratitude: “the quality of being thankful”. Gratitude brings your focus to the things in your life that are going well – the big things and the small things (even a good cup of tea). Research indicates that people who regularly practice gratitude can reduce their stress and feel happier. Sounds pretty good! I could go on about gratitude for days but instead I’ll point you in the direction of Zara’s excellent article about practising gratitude. She shares how she has made practising gratitude work for her so you should definitely check that out for some really good and also really realistic tips on how gratitude can be built into everyday life.
Be kind to yourself
Oh my isn’t this easier said than done?! We are often our own worst critics and when something doesn’t go quite right or isn’t totally perfect that little voice in the back of our head can be really mean. Perhaps it’s time we all gave ourselves a break and acknowledged that things aren’t perfect. It’s ok and totally normal to not be perfect. As a self-care exercise, try to be patient with yourself and give yourself a little compassion when things don’t seem to be going quite right. Perhaps a little encouragement and a few kind words. What would you say to someone you love if they were worried that they weren’t good enough? Try saying that same thing to yourself ❤
In Zara’s post on Mindfulness she writes that “mindfulness can be a really powerful tool to help you reduce the amount of time you spend projecting into future events/scenarios, and to pay more attention to where you are now, today, in this moment”. One of the reasons why being mindful and practising mindfulness on a daily basis is such a great self-care tool is because it helps us to enjoy how we feel in the moment and reduces anxiety about our past and what may or may not happen in the future. I say this with some element of caution – by all means learn from your past and prepare for your future but the important message here is to not overthink and dwell on these things in a negative manner.
Make time for yourself
In today’s busy world it can be really tough to make time for ourselves and it can feel counterproductive to let ourselves slow down. Many of us fall into the trap of judging how successful our day has been by how many things we have ticked off our list. Time taken just for ourselves to do next to nothing can often seem like a waste of time but we need downtime. A bit of downtime to gather our thoughts can do a wonderful job of restoring our energy and helping us feel better everyday. Perhaps take the time for a luxurious bath or to do some mindful colouring in from a pretty colouring in book (anyone else a massive fan of Johanna Basford?)
Keep a separate work space
This one is especially relevant if you work at home. Keeping our work life separate to our home life can be tricky at the best of times but when our work space is literally in the same room (or same chair) as the space we use to relax it can be difficult to switch off from work at the end of the working day. If, like me, your living and relaxing space is also your work space, try and create a few boundaries to ‘change’ the space in between the work day and the end of the work day. This could be something like putting the work laptop away, or covering the computer and monitor with a small blanket or a towel (like putting it to sleep). Tidying away work notebooks is also a good option and if you have the space you could replace them with a candle for the evening (if you have never owned a NEOM candleI highly recommend trying them out – my favourite one is called the ‘scent of happiness’ and it really is wonderful).
If you try to build in self-care habits to your daily life and find that you miss days or don’t get along with certain tips my best advice is to not let it get you down and don’t give up! It doesn’t mean you failed at anything, it means you didn’t make time for yourself one day or forgot to be grateful for that awesome cup of tea, and it’s no problem. It’s fine to miss days and it is normal to have off days. Just go with it and pick up the self-care habits again the next day or the next day (or whenever it feels right for you)
I have more or less built all of these practices into my daily life. I’m not perfect and go the odd day here and there without making time for myself but that’s okay and no big deal. Just carry on with it the next day.
What self-care things do you find helpful in your daily life – share your tips in the comments below! Don’t forget to check us out on Instagram for self-care tips and quotes.
Until next time, you wonderful humans beans