The phrase ‘self-care’ has become synonymous with self-indulgence and materialism.
It only takes a quick scroll on Instagram to find pictures of goopy face masks or glasses of wine held by a well-manicured hand with the hashtag #selfcare. If you google the phrase, your computer screen is flooded with articles offering the best meals or spin classes to help care for your mind and body.
As we grow older, the idea of “me-time” seems to float further and further away from our grasp. Schedules fill up and to-do lists grow, and any chance of personal time is quickly pushed aside for others. Our lives are a constant juggling act of career, family, relationships and more, and taking just a moment for ourselves feels like a selfish act.
Caring for yourself isn’t selfish nor unworthy of your time. It’s essential for managing stress and it’s also your best defence against becoming a burnt-out shell come Sunday evening. Don’t let the hedonism behind Instagram’s glossy #selfcare movement trick you into thinking that self-care is only for those with extra dosh or an empty schedule.
Put simply, self-care means doing things that nourish your mind, body and soul. It’s less about Instagram-worthy manicures (don’t get us wrong, we love a good mani) and more about those daily tasks that make you feel whole and help you reach your goals. To us, self-care revolves around making healthy decisions that boost your wellness, whatever that means to you in the moment.
Sometimes that means an early morning jog to help clear your mind. Maybe you practice self-care by reorganising your wardrobe from scratch. Or, it’s creating a delicious and nourishing meal made with wholesome ingredients. If it makes you feel well, that’s self-care.
There’s a difference between pampering yourself and caring for your overall wellbeing, although they sometimes intertwine. Sure, those once-in-a-blue-moon salon appointments can be considered self-care, but it’s more than just a “treat yourself” attitude. It’s about investing time into your mental and physical health, so you can live a life that benefits both you and those around you.
Ready to make self-care a regular part of your lifestyle? Read on to learn how you can design a realistic self-care routine that you’ll actually make time for.
Let’s kick off your sustainable self-care routine by figuring out what makes you feel well. Are you stressed or anxiety-ridden? Maybe you should look into different breathing exercises to do before bed or practising meditation to help you feel connected. Feeling stiff or sore? Think about incorporating some gentle stretching into your daily routine.
Match this list with activities that you know will make you feel good, even if they’re not something you do often. For example, if bullet journaling helps you regain focus, add it to the list. If box helps you feel mentally “on point”, pop it on the list. If you can think of something that will boost your overall wellbeing (regardless of whether you actually enjoy them or not), jot it down.
Next, on the self-care agenda, identify your top three self-care tasks. Whichever acts of self-care you choose to prioritise are completely up to you and what makes you feel good on the inside. To help narrow down your list, we recommend picking the activities that will have the greatest overall effect on your wellbeing or could be easily incorporated into your daily schedule.
Personally, we like to chisel out 15-minute increments in our schedule and specifically dedicate that time for self-care. And scheduling them in before the kids wake up is a bonus too. What’s been pencilled in gets done, so scheduling is a must.
Don’t force yourself into a routine that clearly isn’t working for you. Self-care is (quite literally) an act of self-love and only you know what’s best for you. But a word of caution: Aim for what feels good in the long run. If getting up at 5 am for meditation and exercise feels painful at the time, but makes 100% difference to how you do your day, guess what, it’s worth it!
If you find yourself skipping tasks, try rescheduling them or simply adjust the activity to make it easier to stick to. After all, self-care shouldn’t be a strict regimen but flexible and easily adaptable!