What are you doing for National Self-Care Day on July 24th?
Maybe you’re taking the day to relax by the pool and soak in the sun, or doing some cleaning around the house to refresh your space. Maybe it’s a walk or a recipe you’ve been wanting to try. Maybe it’s curling up with your latest book and a cup of coffee.
The key word in self-care, is SELF. It cannot be defined, contained or internalized by anyone but you. You and only you get to determine what self-care means in your life.
And we all need it in our lives. And not just on National Self Care day.
It’s far too easy to slip into a routine of serving goals, serving others and serving a greater system. We all do it. We wake up, bust our bums at work, come home, take care of the people we love, check off the to-do list, and all of a sudden, it’s time to go to sleep and start over.
Rinse, and repeat.
You don’t feel the negative consequences of this right away. It’s a slow burn–a build up of self-neglect. Then it boils over, in the form of anxiety, self-deprecation and dehibilitating burnout.
You deserve more than that. You deserve to feel rested, healthy, valued, and at peace. You deserve a life that serves you, not just the other way around.
I am not implying that’s always an easy task.
Self-care, like any goal, requires consistency and committment.
But you don’t need to be a self-care fanatic or have a terribly rigid wellness routine to achieve it. It’s small steps, everyday moments of pause and dedication to yourself, that take you in the direction of genuine self care.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve laid out a few steps for you to try. Keep in mind that you can make your routine as personalized as possible. Feel free to add some things or substitute different activities with ones you enjoy more. Maybe that’s listening to an audio book while you walk, or blocking off time to have some “me time” with your favorite documentary series. Customize this routine in a way that makes the most sense for you.
Let’s dive into all things self-care!
1. Establish a morning routine.
One of the best things you can do after you wake up is make your bed. Not only will making your bed keep your space looking organized and clean but doing this habit every morning can actually improve your mental health.
Finding my favorite morning (and evening but we’ll get to that later) products really made my routine. I am a big fan of body scrubs for waking up in the shower, vitamin C serums for starting the day off fresh and the Tula cooling and brightening eye balm.
I also recommend taking the time to have a quick shower. It helps to wake you up and leaves you feeling immediately refreshed. Use a shampoo and conditioner that you not only love, but that targets YOUR needs. Again, self-care is personal, and self-care products should be too.
If your hair is color-treated, you might consider a toning shampoo. If you struggle with hair thinning or hair loss, you might consider a solution like spironolactone. If you have a dry scalp, or curly hair or hair that needs volume, there are options! Remember that these small moments are your chance to take care of yourself and feel confident. That’s so important.
The same goes for your skincare routine. We have some recommended favorites below.
Fuel your body with a delicious breakfast after getting ready for the day. Try out a new recipe like a high-protein smoothie bowl or some fluffy pancakes, or stick to what you know and make your favorite breakfast dish. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for many reasons. Just to name a few, breakfast boosts your energy and fuels your body with necessary nutrients.
2. Get your body moving.
Whether you want to sign up for a group spin class, do some yoga in the living room or do a high-intensity workout on your own, get your heart pumping and sweat dripping. Exercise is a great way to stay physically active, relieve stress and do something that’s just for you. Whatever your exercise goals are, you can incorporate a block of time within your self-care routine to move your body.
Keep up with the latest exercise trends by doing a ‘hot girl walk.’ (lol, we love it.)
Take this opportunity to enjoy the weather while also exercising. Walk around your neighborhood while listening to your favorite podcast, book or a walking playlist. Also, bring a full water bottle with you so you can stay hydrated.
Whatever you decide to do, do it for yourself. Take the time to connect with your body and enjoy yourself.
3. Treat yourself to what you enjoy and RELAX.
Show yourself some self-love by treating yourself to doing or buying one of your favorite things. If you haven’t caught up with your girlfriends in a while, get together for some lunch at a local spot you love. Enjoy some good conversations while eating delicious food. Catch up with each other on life, and give any life updates you have.
If you want to keep enjoying your alone time, that’s fine too! When you’re on your walk, walk to a cafe and treat yourself to a smoothie or coffee. Curl up with a book. Listen to a podcast.
You don’t have to leave your house to treat yourself. You can sit right on the couch in your living room. Turn on the TV to binge-watch your favorite show or start a new series you have been dying to watch. Want to spend less time looking at a screen during your day of self-care? No problem. Grab a puzzle and try putting it together by the end of the day.
Take a bath. Light some candles. Do a face mask. Fill the room with essential oils.
Or, blast some punk rock music and dance around the room in your pajamas.
Whatever you choose, choose it for you.
4. Set boundaries.
I know this doesn’t FEEL like classic self-care, but I promise it is.
One of the best things you can do to take care of yourself is actually saying no. It’s not mean or selfish or cruel to be honest about your needs.
Sometimes, you don’t have the emotional energy to hang out with friends, have dinner with family or go to that happy hour. Some days, you may not be in the right head space to even go to work, and you need to take the day off.
Say no. Take the time you need.
And, set boundaries. Like not answering work emails after 5pm or when you’re on vacation. Not answering texts when you’re spending 1:1 time with your partner or out on your daily walk. Protect your time. Protect yoruself. That is self-care too.
5. Organize your space.
This can at times feel more like a chore than it does self-care, but it really is about taking care of yourself and the environent you get energy from.
This doesn’t mean deep-clean the whole house! But it does mean take care of the spaces that matter most to you. I know for me personally, the spaces that only I spend time in are the most neglected in the whole house. My office, my bedroom and…my poor poor car.
This is because I prioritize cleaning the spaces that others enjoy first– the kitchen, living room, family room, etc., before I prioritize my own space.
Self-care is taking care of things just for you–to serve you. Including your space.
6. Drink water and eat healthy.
This goes back to basic human needs, but it really is the core of self-care as well.
Your body needs water and nutrition to function the best it can. It helps your mental health, physical health and general well-being to take the time to focus on what you put into your body. It’s human care at it’s core, yet still it can be difficult to prioritize with everything else you’re managing in life.
Self-care is caring for your own needs. Remember that!
7. Get sleep and rest.
After a long day of self-care, it’s time to stay in for the night. Brush your teeth, do any skincare, and lay out your outfit for the next day.
Most importantly, put your phone away. Using your phone before bed can interfere with your sleep schedule and stimulate your brain, causing it to be more awake when you’re trying to go to bed. Take this time before bed to relax by listening to a meditation guide or reading a chapter of your book so you can get a good night’s sleep.
Take a moment to reflect on your day and see if you can implement a few more small self-care moments into your week.
Remember that caring for yourself is just as, if not more, important than caring for others. What’s the phrase? You can’t pour from an empty cup. And it’s so true.
Fill your cup. With love, rest, sustenance and joy.
You deserve it.