TRMC brings you a complete guide to understanding all the areas of your life in which you can include self-care, and how you can do so.
We’ve already shared with you a few quick ways to practice self-care, as well as some tips on how to actually make time for yourself, but your journey to building a strong self-care routine does not end there.
Dealing with emotions can seem daunting, but it’s vital that they are not overlooked or bottled up. Finding ways to acknowledge and express how you’re feeling on a regular basis will help to lighten the load you may not even realize is weighing you down.
This can include going to counselling or therapy, checking in with yourself regarding your emotional maturity, talking to family and friends about anything that may be bothering you, or even allowing yourself to take a break just to feel everything out.
If you’re reluctant to talk to anyone about some of the things weighing down on you, journaling is a great way to become more comfortable with communicating your emotions. If the old fashioned pen and paper don’t feel right to you, you could always try a journaling app – like this one called Daylio, that asks simple questions each day about how you’re feeling and what you’ve been up to. It’s a great way to slowly ease into talking about how you’re feeling and what’s going on in your life, without having to be too specific or open.
We’ve talked about how to make time for yourself, but here’s the why.
Spending time with ourselves doing the things we love, getting to know ourselves and reflecting on our values and accomplishments allows us to focus on honouring our current selves, taking a break from the pressure we are constantly putting on ourselves to work harder and be better.
While self-improvement is a key part of your personal development, it’s important to balance it out with a good amount of self-care, remember that YOU brought yourself to where you are now, which is something to be proud of and definitely worth celebrating.
One of the more commonly talked-about ways to practice self-care is physical activity. Hitting the gym or working out at home may work well for some, but there are many other ways to be kind to your body as well.
The best place to start is making sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. Establishing a bedtime routine and trying your best to stick to the same time every day can help your body and mind get onto the same page when it’s time to get some rest at the end of the day. Try setting aside 30 minutes to have some tea, read a book (try to stay away from screens, social media or the news), or listen to a guided meditation before you head to sleep.
Paying attention to the food you’re putting into your body is also a great way to practice physical self-care. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean being overly strict with yourself about what you put into your body, but just making sure you’re getting enough nutrients to fuel your body with.
In terms of physical activity, if doing a full work-out routine seems a little too daunting, try focusing on yoga and stretching instead. This can also be a great time to practice mindfulness – which we’ll also get to later.
Lastly, remember to get rest. Down time is an equally important part of physical self-care. Tune into yourself and experiment with different combinations of these strategies to see what works best for you.
While the amount of social connection needed will vary from person to person, the idea that we need to be so independent that we are able to take care of ourselves all on our own is a toxic myth. Biologically, humans are meant to rely on one another – and it is important that we feel as though we do not have to face anything alone – we all need a support system. Think about who you have in your life that you feel safe around and remember that you can always go to them when you need to vent or hear some advice.
On the flip side, social self-care also includes setting healthy boundaries when necessary. This means knowing how to say “no” to prevent taking on too much or neglecting your personal time, limiting contact with toxic people in your life, and reducing exposure to potentially harmful or heavy sides of social media.
While we’re on the topic of social media – while it is important to stay informed on important subjects and participate in meaningful conversations, a great way to also take care of your mental health throughout all of it is to also look at the good that’s happening in the world.
GoodNewsNetwork is an app that provides you with all positive and feel-good news happening around the world. This is a great way to try and maintain your mental and emotional well-being while you’re out there participating in all the heavy but important conversations happening on social media.
As mentioned earlier, self-care is an important part of all aspects of your life – and it’s definitely not something that needs to be left outside of the workplace.
Making sure that you’re taking breaks, managing your time to reduce stress is essential in maintaining a positive workspace. In addition, it’s also important to make sure you’re in an environment that is supportive, appreciative and welcoming – while there is usually room for improvement in any workspace, it’s up to you to decide which actions you’d like to take to make it happen.
In extreme cases where the workplace could be considered toxic, seeing if you can switch departments or looking for a new job may be the best thing to do for your mental health. In other cases, try leading by example by taking some extra time to appreciate those around you to bring some positivity to everyone else’s day.
Although it may not be the most exciting or enjoyable aspect of self-care, money management is an important part of limiting future hardships and stress that could have a negative impact on your mental health.
It’s important to plan ahead by budgeting, planning, and having a separate emergency savings account set aside for any costly expenses that may come up unexpectedly. In addition, financial literacy is something often overlooked by young generations until it’s too late – but being aware ahead of time can also save you a lot of future stress and help you to feel prepared for anything that may come up as your financial situation changes.
Check out this free online personal finance course that covers all the basics – from budgeting to borrowing, to real estate and more.
Making sure you have a healthy and safe living environment is one of the key foundations of your daily self-care routine. Having a safe space where you can unwind and be yourself, free from any negativity is vital.
While understandably, some aspects of your living situation may be out of your control. However, keeping whatever space is in your control organized and kept in a way that makes you feel good can make a world of a difference – even if it’s as simple as adding a few pictures of your loved ones or reorganizing your digital workspace.
It may also be helpful to think of a few go-to spaces you can turn to if your living space is not making you feel so great, such as a close friend’s place nearby (where you can maintain social distancing during the pandemic), coffeeshop, or quiet spot outdoors.
Spiritual self-care is often said to be the moderator between physical and mental health – which can be a huge help when coming up with your own personalized self-care routine. Taking time to understand yourself, your needs and your emotions will help you to better understand which kind of self-care practices best suites you.
Some people feel spiritually connected through religion, some feel it through nature, and others feel it through introspective practices such as journaling or meditation.
No matter what your self-care routine looks like, mindfulness is great for anyone looking to be kinder to themselves and become more in tune with their emotional and physical needs.