So you want more self care in your life! That’s great! But if you’re anything like me, you’re already juggling a to list as long as your arm and aren’t quite sure where self care fits into your day. This is where a self care routine (or several!) come into play.
Having a focused, go to routine will allow you to take the time you do have and transform it into something relaxing, engaging & useful to your self care, without being overwhelming or stressful – which it can be if you’re not prepared.
This post is part of the Love Myself 2020 Challenge in Collaboration 5 other fantastic bloggers! To Read about or join the challenge Click Here!
Trust me, I often feel overwhelmed! Having 3 children, life to live and a blog to keep filled with interesting content for you guys often leaves me in a complete dizzing state of confusion, unsure which direction to head or what to focus on. I don’t have everything down yet, but having a self care routine to hand definitely helps.
SELF CARE ROUTINE 101
You may have walked into this thinking that ‘routine’ means your whole day; or morning, afternoon or evening. It does, or can do, but when it comes to self care I want you to start thinking differently about routines.
A routine is a process of steps that are completed in the same order, a checklist if you will.
Creating a specific self care routine you can easily reference when you need it takes the pressure of thinking what to do for your self care.
By doing this in advance, I have time to actually focus on the self care I’m practicing.
Overtime, I’ve created several different self care routines that I can reference depending on what I need in those moments or how much time I have.
This approach means I don’t overwhelm my brain, or spend half my ‘me time’ focused on working out exactly what I need in that moment.
FINDING YOUR FOCUS
As with anything self care, it completely varies depending on who you are and what your self care focus is. My beginners guide to self care is a fantastic place to start to learn all about the basics, the different areas and some ideas of activities that are relaxing & engaging.
If you’ve already been there, done that, then have you checked out my Self Care quiz? I designed this myself to help briefly identify which of the self areas you would most benefit from focusing on.
Often when we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, we can feel like we need to do all that things all the time.
Instead, I want you to adopt the mantra of ‘one step at a time’.
Making small, gradual changes and instilling daily practices over time are going to be much more beneficial to you in the long run that trying to tackle all 7 areas in one go!
Have a quick go at the quiz. It only takes a minute!
CREATING ROUTINES OR RITUALS FOR YOUR OWN SELF CARE
When I took the quiz while writing this, the area I most needed to work on was my psychological self care – and I’m not surprised!
This is the beauty of the resources I create for you; they are designed to help guide you through the fog and clarify exactly what you need.
I work hard at making self care a priority in my life, but often if my workload increases or there’s a lot going on around me, it can slip.
That’s why I use this exact process to create my go to self care routines. I know the things I love to do, that make me feel better, more relaxed and focused.
By using this simple 3 step strategy I can them create go to routines for when I am feeling a bit flustered. And you can too!
You can create just one go to routine or you can create several depending on your lifestyle – again, it’s all in your control. Remember, one step at a time. Do what you feel comfortable with, what serves you the most. You’ll always be able to come back to and create more overtime.
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3 Steps to Self Care Routines
1 Chose a Time of Day or Length of Time
The first step to any routine is figuring out either a) a time of day you’ll practice it, without fail OR b) an amount of time you’d like to focus your routine for.
I know for myself, having a set time of day doesn’t always work. But having a go to 30 minute self care routine is much more flexible.
If I find myself with a spare 30 minutes I can grab my routine reference sheet and go through each item, step by step.
Is my day predictable?
Does it always follow the same structure?
Can I chose a set time each day to focus on self care without fail?
Do I want a morning routine, evening routine or something I can slot into my life when I need it?
2 What is your routines purpose?
I have a fitness routine for when I go to the gym (and it’s not just about my workout!).
I have a calm routine for when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
I have a skincare and pampering routine – I actually have 2! A short one for day to day, and a longer version for when I have plenty of time to relax.
In order to create a go to routine you need to understand what you hope to gain from it. You can use your quiz results as a guide to help you establish what the purpose of your routine(s) is/will be.
Is it a daily routine you want to practice without fail?
Do you want a routine to help you change your emotional state?
Do you need a go to quick fix for Self Care?
Are there routine variations which will fit different situations?
- Morning Self Care Routine
- Lunchtime Self Care Focus
- 15 Minute Go to Routine
- Child Free Me Time
- Re-Grounding Routine
- Meditation Ritual
- Work focus Routine
SAVE FOR LATER
3 Creating Your Routine Structure
Your self care routine should consist of things which serve you. That comfort, calm and refocus you.
But more than that, your actual routine is more than just the self care practices you’ll be.. er.. practicing! its not just the single thing you will be doing. Its the atmosphere you’re creating.
I mentioned my fitness routine above, and yes, working out is definitely self care!
But rather than just grabbing my trainers and heading out, giving myself a clear checklist of what my routine consists of allows me the headspace to truly shut off the rest of my ‘to do list’ and my worries, and focus on myself.
It isn’t just my workout plan, it’s more than that. It’s packing my bag of everything I need; fresh towels, clean clothes, a protein bar. Filling my water bottle and preparing my workout playlist. It’s deep breathing while I shower & sitting quietly to meditate before I get dressed.
I take comfort in my routine as it helps me mentally prepare for my self care, my ‘me time’ and for returning back to ‘life’ afterwards.
To create your own self care structure, having chosen what the purpose of your routine is above, start by choosing what self care you want to practice.
Will you be reading, going for a walk, exercising, having a bath and relaxing?
If you’re stuck for ideas you can find 63 of them here to give you some inspiration!
Now you have your ‘thing’ I want you to think about 2-3 steps before & after that will help you to create the atmosphere and feeling you want.
You can of course add more if you want to, but 2-3 is a good starting point. For these steps, focusing on how your senses are involved in your self care can be helpful as well as practical steps such as having everything you need nearby before you start.
Here’s an example fo a calming routine focused around reading.
Make a drink.
Light a candle.
Switch phone onto silent.
Read for 30 minutes undisturbed.
The structure of your routine should be simple but comforting to you.
How will I prepare?
What do I need?
Which senses help calm me the most? (smell – a candle or incense, sound – calming music, touch – a warm blanket)
Whether you have your routines saved in your phone for quick reference, or printed out and written down, by creating your routines in advance you’re allowing yourself to fully focus on your self care in the moment.
I hope as always, this has been helpful for you! Let me know in the comments what you found useful (or not!!) and what your first self care routine will be!