Self-care is all the rage these days, but what does that mean? Social media leads us to believe self-care is all about bath bombs and face masks, but when done right self-care is so much more.
Self-care consists of those daily tasks you do to help you reach your goals. Self-care consists of those daily (sometimes not-so-fun) tasks that make you feel whole. True self-care revolves around making decisions that will make you feel good, whatever that means for you in that moment.
If an early morning workout is what will make you feel good, that’s self-care. If making a home-cooked dinner with wholesome ingredients is what is going to make you feel good, that’s self-care.
How to create a self care routine
If you’re ready to create a sustainable self-care routine you can stick to, read on for our simple tips.
1. Make a List of Tasks and Activities That Make You Feel Good
First and foremost, take stock of what makes you feel good, or of what things you feel like you’re currently missing that could help you feel more well. Are you feeling stressed or anxious? Maybe meditation would help you feel calm. Feeling stiff or achy? Maybe you need to incorporate more stretching into your routine.
Supplement this list with activities that you know make you feel well, even if you don’t do them often. If you know journaling helps you clear your mind, put it on the list. If you know strength training helps you feel mentally sharp, put it on the list. Get a robust brain dump of any and all activities that lead to your overall well-being (regardless of whether you enjoy doing them or not). These will be your self-care activities.
2. Identify Three Core Self-Care Activities
Next, go through and identify your top three self-care activities. How you prioritize these are up to you. I recommend choosing the tasks that will have the greatest overall impact on how you’ll feel, are easiest to implement, or could be tacked onto activities that are already a part of your normal routine. These will be your core three activities.
3. Schedule Tasks Until They Are Habits
Now, it’s time to put the plan into action. Carve out 20-minute increments in your schedule, and pencil in time for your self-care activities. At the end of the day, what gets scheduled gets done. Experiment with scheduling these tasks at different times of day to see what resonates best with you.
If you find yourself skipping tasks, try scheduling them for a different time, or modifying the activity to make it easier to stick to. Continue refining and adapting the process as needed. After all, self-care should be flexible and adaptable.
A Daily Self-Care Routine
A Hello Glow editor shares how she practices self-care every day:
Because I have a tendency to be a highly anxious person, having a good routine is very reassuring to me. Work might be hectic, my preschooler may refuse to cooperate with even the simplest directions, and the air conditioner could be on the fritz, but those daily habits serve almost as guideposts to help me through the day.
I used to roll my eyes at words like “self-care”–after all, I’m a busy person! I don’t have time to meditate and take long soaks in the tub and read inspirational books! But self-care doesn’t have to be some New Age-y spiritual thing and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time either–it can be as simple as making sure you get the nutrition you need each day or finding a few spare minutes to read a chapter in a book before bed.
Here are my personal picks and how I use them in my daily routine.
Start Your Day with Self-Care
I am most definitely not a morning person and the thought of waking up earlier than I have to in order to fit in some time for self-care–nope, nuh uh, not happening. (Maybe that extra sleep is my self-care? Right?!)
But I do take a few minutes to do some quick dry brushing before hopping in the shower. I’m not totally sold on all the benefits, but I’ve heard it improves skin elasticity when combined with oil or moisturizer after showering. In the winter, I use NOW Shea butter, and when it’s warmer out, I like Edens Garden body oils (totally loving Yuzu Cannabis at the moment).
I also start my day with some supplements. I don’t believe everyone needs supplements (you can read why here), but there are a few that I take daily because I notice a difference when I don’t: NOW Joint Support, Megafood Daily Turmeric, and Natural Calm magnesium. Sometimes, if I know I’m not going to be getting a lot of protein in my lunch or dinner, I’ll also have a smoothie with protein powder.
My grandpa always had to have something sweet after a meal and I definitely inherited that gene. But it doesn’t have to be a giant cupcake or bowl of ice cream. I try to make sure all of my treats have some kind of health benefit–some of my favorites are Eating Evolved Coconut Butter Cups (healthy fat, y’all!), Good Day Chocolates, and Four Sigmatic Hot Cacao. That way, I can scratch the itch I have for something sweet, but get some health benefits out of my treat too.
Find yourself craving a mid-afternoon snack for some extra energy? Enjoy your pick-me-ups, but not at the cost of your health! Sugary foods and drinks will take a toll your immune system, so instead snack on something that tastes good AND is packed with nutritional value. Try a handful of nuts, some fruit, veggies and hummus, or another simple yet delicious snack that’s easy to prep and easy to grab when the munchies hit.
Take a Pause – Even If It’s Just 5 Minutes
Tea time is me time–I’m going to embroider that on a pillow or something. Taking time to meditate daily seems impossible to me–not just because it feels like a waste of time (I know it’s not! but it just feels that way!), but because I could never make the hamster wheel in my head stop spinning for that long.
Every afternoon I make myself a cup of Sweet Rose Tulsi tea and that’s my time to pause, savor, and decompress. I don’t let myself look at my phone or computer. I focus on the way the tea smells (like roses!), the way the warm mug feels in my hand, and the way it tastes. Forcing myself to focus on something external, rather than all the thoughts spinning around in my head, is a way to ground myself in a way that feels doable for me.
Give Yourself Time to Wind Down At Night
There’s no doubt about it, I am a big fan of Netflix and chill to unwind. But instead of watching one more episode or taking on one more mini-task before you turn out the lights, head for bed a little earlier! Sleep gives your body crucial time to repair and restore itself, leading to more energy, positivity and focus the next day.
I used to be so bad at doing this–I’d work until 10 or 11 and then go straight to bed, giving myself no time to decompress. Now, I stop whatever I’m doing about 20 minutes before bedtime and I read an old fashioned book on paper (currently working my way through In the Company of Women), treat myself to a sheet mask or scalp massage, and diffuse some calming essential oils. This helps me get in the right headspace to fall asleep, rather than lying in bed for those 20 minutes tossing and turning and thinking about everything I have to do in the morning.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Susanna Quasem, M.D., a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.29