How to Design a Self-Care Routine That You Will Stick With
Zoey had a typical 9 to 5 job. But that doesn’t mean she was free after 5 pm. On the contrary, Zoe had more things to do. She had to hit the gym and shop for groceries and necessities. Then she had 10 pages of her novel to read, catch up with friends, cook at home and spend some time on a presentation due next week.
If you think about it, Zoey is doing it all. She is a master of self-care. But what are the chances that Zoey will stick to this routine in the long run? There seems to be too much on her plate already. One tiny mishap and it will all crumble down. Or will it?
Self-care is not a cut-throat contract. It is a settlement, you make with yourself. Zoey has been following this routine for months now. Let’s learn from her.
The Practical Definition of Self-Care
Any and all activities that enhance your overall health is self-care. It can be broken down into eight chief categories:
· Physical – Pertains to exercise, nutrition and rest.
· Psychological – Pertains to mental health and the ability to be mindful (awareness of the present)
· Emotional – Pertains to the ability to regulate your feelings and constructive self-expression.
· Social – Pertains to having a network of trustable and loving people who support you.
· Professional – Pertains to maximizing your potential and talents to achieve your goals.
· Environmental – Pertains to the space you occupy both mentally and physically
· Spiritual – Pertains to your virtues and principles, which serve as a guide to your life.
· Financial – Pertains to your ability to afford necessities and save for future.
Including all this in your life can be an overwhelming task. Here is how you can do it as efficiently as Zoey.
4 Steps to a Lasting Self-Care Routine
Take some time off to sit with a pen, a paper and your thoughts. List down all the things you feel are important to you. They can be anything – from finding a partner to ride your tandem bicycle with, to owning the house of your dreams. Do not filter anything. Simply daydream and put your thoughts, needs and desires on paper.
You will end up with a long list of goals and wishes. Ideally, you should take a break before revisiting the list. When you are refreshed, revisit the list. Now order them in terms of priority and accessibility. Think about time limitations and the responsibilities you already have. You might find many things on the list that you truly don’t want to do. Take out the trash.
One Step at a Time
It took six days to create heaven! So do not expect your life to change instantly. The secret of sticking to routines and habits is starting small. Take tiny, consistent steps. For example, if you want to start exercising, don’t spend 2 hours on your first session. You will be sore and less likely to continue.
Start with 5 minutes of warming up. Do that every day. Slowly, your threshold will increase. Apply this to every self-care habit you want to add to your life. Want to read more? Start with 1 paragraph a day. But do it every day.
Review and Feedback
You should track your habits. After a week or a month, sit and review your progress. This will help you address the problem areas. You will learn where and why you are messing up. This is also a way to know if you truly want to do something. Say you always wanted to learn how to paint. You spend a week, painting every day for 5 minutes. But you didn’t enjoy it much. Well at least now you know what you don’t like. No regrets!
Rinse and Repeat
When building a self-care routine, start with one habit at a time. Slowly include more habits and follow the same process. Be patient. Remember – never overestimate what you can achieve in a day and never underestimate what you can achieve in a year.