Last week, I shared about the difference between enough self-care and the right self-care to feel fulfilled and nurtured. That begs a question though. How do you create an effective self-care routine?
Self-care is something that needs to be practiced every day with great intention. When you do, there are a whole host of benefits. You naturally manage everyday stresses so they don't build up and overwhelm you. Your health is better maintained now and into the future. You remind yourself every day that you love yourself, keeping your sense of self and self-worth strong.
Building an intentional self-care routine is the best way I know of to make your practice most effective and easy to attend to.
Think of self-care broken down into 2 main focuses:
- everyday self-care: like making a few minutes to be in silence, having meaningful conversation with someone you care about or having a good sleep routine
- enhanced self-care: like getting a massage, going for an extra-long hike in nature, or cleaning out that closet that's in desperate need of attention
Your Everyday Self-Care Routine
Practicing an everyday self-care routine is one of the most profound things you can do for yourself. Intentionally doing a series of activities that take care of you, body, mind and soul. Carving out time every day that says "I am important and deserving of this care."
Sometimes, your self-care routine can just be about shifting what you are already doing from unconcious to intentional. When you take something you do on auto-pilot like having a shower and intentionally include it as part of your self-care routine, that little boost of intentionality and love makes a big impact.
What do I mean by that? Think about how you shower right now. Do you shower daily or just sprinkle in a little dry shampoo and spend that time looking after someone else instead? When you shower, is it completely on auto-pilot, unconscious of what you are doing while your mind is on other things? Or is it something you're fully present for? Choosing to use the best skincare products you can to nourish your body while cleansing it. Noticing the delightful scent of the essential oils as they waft through the air. Loving all of the parts of your body and being grateful for them as you wash yourself. This is the power of bringing intention to your self-care routine.
Consider the things you do every day to take care of yourself. What do you want to do more of or do more intentionally as part of this routine? What's missing that you could add into your life? What does your everyday self-care routine look like?
Your Enhanced Self-Care Routine
In addition to your everyday self-care routine are the things you do for yourself that I think of as enhanced self-care. It's the things that take a bit more time to do. The kinds of activities that you might dedicate a whole evening or part of a weekend to.
Do you make time regularly to go out with your girlfriends? How often do you book an appointment to take care of yourself through massage, energy work or spa services? What kinds of outdoor activities do you enjoy and when do you do them? These are some of the questions you can consider when you look at your enhanced self-care routine.
Consider the things you do regularly (weekly, monthly and seasonally) to take care of yourself. What do you want to do more of or do more intentionally as part of this routine? What's missing that you could add into your life? What does your enhanced self-care routine look like?
Self-Care During Stressful Times
It can be easy for your self-care routine to go out the window when stress crops up in your life. Whatever the situation that's created the stress, there will be activities that are out of the ordinary demanding on your time. You'll be devoting precious time and energy to thinking about whatever it is that's going on. You may find yourself spending extra time taking care of people around you.
Faced with all of that, it can be easy to let some of your self-care routine slide.
But this is the worst time to give up on the routine you've been building. Why? Because stress demands that we take better care of ourselves so that we can thrive through it instead of just surviving.
Practicing self-care regularly and with intention will help build up the muscle memory so that when stress does crop up you will have that little voice inside reminding you to take care of yourself in the best ways possible. In considering your self-care routine, is there anything you want to add in to make sure you are doing for yourself during stressful times? Are they part of your everyday or enhanced self-care? Or are they special activities you know you need to look after when you are under stress? Having a plan now will help you succeed when you find yourself in those stressful situations.
Do you have a self-care routine already? See the need for one? Share your self-care plans in a comment below.