Anything from lighting a candle to taking a trip to the beach can qualify as self-care. After all, nobody else knows what and when you need the things you do to keep yourself feeling happy and healthy.
In fact, self-care is sometimes asking others to wait a minute or finding the inner strength to say no. A lot of us put others’ needs first. However, when it comes at our own expense, it may be interfering with our self-care.
The good news is, you’re the expert in determining your own self-care routine. Start simple and see what works for you over time. And if you need help getting started, keep reading to learn how to build your own self-care routine.
Once you identify your needs, it will be easier to create a plan to fulfill them or to ask for them to be respected by others.
From there, it may be helpful to break self-care into four different pillars to determine what to add to your new routine. Therapists Linda Larkin, MA, LPC, and Lawrence A. Martin, MA, LPC, helped us break down these pillars:
Try brainstorming a list of ideas that you can pull from when you make time for your self-care. You can even create a running list on your phone while you’re on the go.
A few things you can consider to practice physical self-care:
A few things you can consider to practice emotional self-care:
A few things you can consider to practice spiritual self-care:
A few things you can consider to practice self-care in your relationships:
Knowing when you need self-care is just as important as knowing what you need to do to care for yourself. Creating your routine will require a little dedicated time in the beginning. However, like anything, the more often you do it, the more intuitive it will become.
A deeper level of self-care is regularly becoming attuned to your own needs, especially in settings you may not be able to control. This involves checking in with yourself often.
“Checking in with yourself” is another way of saying that you can identify and share times when your needs are not being met. Being aware of these moments, even when you can’t yet do anything to fix them, is a great and important step in developing a self-care routine.
When you start a self-care routine, one of the most important benefits is connecting with yourself and others in more intentional ways. Once you begin to practice self-care regularly, you might discover new insights, a sense of self-respect, and the ability to decompress, recharge, and stay calm in the face of trouble.
Self-care also allows you to function at a higher level and be more present in your interactions and relationships. When you care for yourself, you create space to better care for others in your life.
Starting on your journey toward quality self-care can be daunting, but the rewards are worth it. Take a deep breath. If you begin with one small step that you can easily introduce into your daily routine, it will become easier to make self-care a valued part of your everyday life in the long run.