10 Essential Self Care Practices to Help You Thrive
Do you ever forget to take care of yourself?
I know. You’re busy, and finding the time to take proper care of yourself can be hard. But if you don’t, it won’t be long before you’re burnt out from exhaustion and operating in a mental fog where it’s hard to care about anything or anyone.
I should know.
About 7 years ago, as I was chasing my dreams to become a the top ranked fitness competitor and scaling my online coaching business, I suffered a complete burn out. Adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, chronic exhaustion… I could barely get out of bed most days. I was working 60 hours + per week and had let my self care go in the pursuit of excellence.
Since that time I’ve learned the importance of self care and have made it a priority to schedule non-negotiable, self care days to recharge by body, mind and soul. I also help my coaching clients establish realistic and doable self care routines as this ultimately becomes their launch pad to achieve their greatest selves.
Now what is Self-Care and how can you make time for this in your hectic schedule? Self care has come to mean all kinds of things from spa days to retreats to clean eating, and that can leave many of us feeling like it’s beyond our reach. If we strip it back to basics, however, we can all make time for self-care with a few actionable and achievable goals to get us on the right track when we’re struggling. Here are 10 of my Top Self Care practices that help me feel re-reconnected, centered and energized daily.
1. Do Something You Love
There are so many things we feel we have to do that most of the things we want to do get pushed to the side. We can all make a bit of time, though, to do something we love that makes us happy and feel inspired. Even if that’s just 10 minutes of listening to a podcast, or 30 minutes baking a healthy dessert, it will help improve your mood. Set a time when you know you’ll be able to do that, and it might make it easier to get through all of the other “must-do” things too.
2. Spend Time With Your Favorite People
You can’t beat quality time with friends and family, but that often falls by the wayside. If all you can manage is a quick phone call, that’s a great start. Meeting up in person is even better, though, as the physical interaction will make you feel good, too. Try getting together after work or on your lunch break for a catch-up over food and drinks.
3. Mindfulness While Eating
Speaking of a sociable lunchtime, so many of us are so pushed for time at work that eating can become a functional part of life, as we wolf down a sandwich and crisps at our desk. This isn’t great for our bodies, minds, or souls. We all need to take a break, whether that’s at lunch or a different part of the day, like breakfast. Making time to slowly enjoy our food, really enjoy the taste and smells; uninterrupted by tasks and staying off our phones, is an important part of taking care of ourselves. Strive to take a proper lunch break daily. Need an inspiring meal plan and some fresh recipes? Check out my 8 Week Lean and Healthy Body Meal Plan
4. Try Journaling
Putting pen to paper is a powerful action of self reflection and connection. Start with making a list of the things you’re grateful for and flow from there. This is one of my favorite practices daily and I incorporate this in my 10 minutes of morning mindfulness routine.
5. Rock That Special Outfit
All too often we save “special” things for “special” occasions. Your living and that’s a special occasion so why wait to wear those beautiful heels or dress? There’s a place for deferred pleasure, but when the majority of your pleasure gets deferred most of the time, it takes away the fact that every day we’re alive is a special day on its own terms. Wear the shoes. Rock the dress!
6. Take a Long Bath or Schedule a Spa Day
When you’re rushing around with what feels like a million things to do, washing can become a purely practical part of your life. You shower or bathe simply to get clean, and sometimes you don’t even have enough time to do that every day (which is why I am thankful for the invention of dry shampoo!). I use lavender bath salts and essential oil diffuser to help my mind relax fully. Make time now and then to really enjoy a warm bath though, and you’ll find it’s such an easy way to relax — and much cheaper and easier than a full-on spa day. If you can fit in one of those occasionally too, though, so much the better! I budget and schedule for the spa one day every 4-6 weeks and love to get my nails, hair and facials every 3 weeks.
7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
There are plenty of reasons why it’s difficult to get to bed early. Getting optimal sleep is one of the most important parts of caring for yourself, and will help you in so many ways. Even if you can only manage to hit the hay early once a week, or can only give yourself an extra 30 minutes in bed now and then, it will start to make a difference. Do it whenever you can, and you’ll reap the rewards. Work towards the ideal goal of 8 hours per night.
8. Say No When You Need To
Healthy Boundaries are imperative for your self care. Don’t be afraid to be honest with people when you’re feeling overwhelmed, whether that’s your boss, your partner, or your friends. If you need to, you can say no. Or if you simply don’t want to do something and it doesn’t align with your goals or purpose then get comfortable saying no. Explaining why you can’t stay late to take on that extra task at work, or why you can’t travel hundreds of miles for that party this weekend, will help them understand where you’re at. They’ll respect you for your honesty, and you’ll have taken care of your own well-being without causing offense or jeopardizing your career.
9. Move Your Body and Get Outside
Exercise is beneficial in so many ways, but you don’t have to sign up to a gym or commit to a grueling fitness regime to make a change. Simply going for a walk in a beautiful setting or dancing at home to your favorite music will get those endorphins released! SO GET MOVING. You can check out my 6 Week Home Fitness Program here. All you need is a set of dumbbells and a booty band!
10. Mirror Work
1 minute of mirror work daily is one of my favorite self care rituals and one that has helped me appreciate my body on another level. Look in the mirror and say out loud 3 things you love about your body and 3 things you appreciate about your body. You can’t hate yourself into a version you love so start speaking positively to your body and watch great things unfold for you. Our bodies are always working for us NOT against us and when we truly appreciate this we accept ourselves for what we are and appreciate our amazing bodies. Repeat after me: I AM ENOUGH.
Little and Often Wins the Day
With a little bit of attention to your own self-care, the fog will lift.
You’ll feel more connected to yourself and the world around you.
You’ll delight in small pleasures, and nothing will seem quite as challenging as it did before.
Like that luxery car, you must keep yourself tuned up to make sure that you don’t need a complete overhaul.
Incorporating a few of these tiny self-care ideas in your day will help keep you in tune.
Which one will you try first?
Remember we all chose where we invest our time so chose wisely and design an inspiring routine that helps you thrive! You’ve always got this!