How can you create self-care strategies that you’ll stick to? That’s what we’ll dive into. I use the word strategy loosely. This is more about an approach that you custom create for your life and your preferences.
There are many self-care ideas floating around. But you want to figure out what will be the best plan for you. And the best plan you’ll stick to.
First, let’s get clear on what self-care even is.
Self-care is about supporting and boosting your wellbeing. Emotional, physical, spiritual, even. So many things fall under this broad topic of self-care, but it’s important you focus on the concept, more than the methods. The concept is that you’re supporting your wellbeing and nourishing an aspect of self.
Why does self-care matter?
There’s a reason why people are talking about this a lot nowadays.
We need it.
For years, I would overwork, under rest, and take care of everybody but myself. I knew I needed to take care of myself more. At least I knew this intellectually. But I thought ‘I don’t have the time’ and ‘I don’t know where to start’.
So I just carried on with life.
If you can relate, know that you don’t need tons of time for self-care. You also don’t need an elaborate self-care plan. You just need to gather some options and create fluid self-care strategies that can be tweaked and adjusted as you go.
We’re going break all of that down simply.
So how do you do it?
Start small and build over time. Don’t set unrealistic targets that are impossible to reach. In How to Stop Feeling So Behind All the Time, I explain that we often make plans and overload our to-do lists with stuff we just cannot get to in the limited time we have.
This is a recipe for guilt and more negative thoughts and feelings.
It’s a vicious cycle.
That’s why we’re starting off small and building.
First, create a list of what I call ‘possibles’.
These are self-care ideas that are possible for you over the next two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, you’ll adjust your list based on what you did, what you liked, new things you want to try.
Some of these ‘possibles’ can be things you’ll layer into your everyday life ( a few examples: drinking more water, sticking to your promises, getting to sleep earlier, less negative self-talk, daily meditation, journal writing).
Other may involve more planning, tools, and also carving out time and space to make them a reality. These things won’t necessarily be daily (some examples: DIY home spa type of ideas like foot soaks and facials, reading a physical book, meal planning and prepping once a week).
If you need more ideas, you can see my post on startng a self-care journal, which has 50 self-care ideas.
Next up? The secret sauce for self-care strategies that stick
Download and print your journal prompt with a few minutes of coloring to help you de-stress. I love combining coloring with writing for a few minutes in the morning. It clears my mind and sparks my creativity. Win! I print these and glue – or tape – them into my journals.
The journal prompt is for you to list out your possible self-care ideas for the next two weeks.
Why does this approach work?
When you start out trying to add new habits into your life and you’re rigid and inflexible, guess what’ll happen?
You probably won’t stick to them.
Instead, with this approach, you can choose, not from a random list, but a list you’ve specifically narrowed down and have written out any supplies or things you’d need to do beforehand, along with the time each of them would take.
This way, no matter what curve ball life throws at you (let’s be real, there’ll always be curveballs), you can be flexible and find something from the list that’ll work.
For example, when I first started my self-care habits, I had decided there were certain days of the week (my most tiring) when I was going to do evening foot soaks.
But inevitably, something would come up that would get in the way (I wouldn’t get home at a reasonable time, for example). But I was still exhausted and stressed and needed something else I could do that felt like self-care.
Eventually, I put together my list. One, simple thing on my list is a cup of Chamomile tea before bed. I don’t always drink it, but if I am stretched for time for, say, something like my foot soak, I can substitute that with my Chamomile tea.
I sit in my cozy chair with no phone/tablet/laptop (I try to de-screen every evening) and just.drink.my.tea. Takes a few minutes. Feels simple and nourishing.
It may sound like nothing, but it feels like self-care to me.
And so it works.
Now it’s your turn. Compile your list of self-care strategies for the next two weeks. This is your list of ‘possibles’ Write out what you’d need to make each of them happen and approximately how long each of them will take. The Self-Care Journal will also help you plan and track.
Also, pick the days of the week and times of the day that each would be better for.
Make sure you pick at least one that’s simple enough that you can do start tomorrow.
Someday is not a day of the week. But tomorrow is.
In the comments below, let me know a few self-care ideas you decide to try.
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