10 Tips for Starting a Self-Care Routine
What is self-care?
Over the years, we have heard the importance of prioritizing mental and emotional health. A way to do that is to implement self-care habits into your routine. But, what does that look like? What is self-care? The National Institute of Mental Health defines self-care as “taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health.” There is no one set definition of what self-care is. It is up to you to determine what that looks like for you. Essentially, self-care is how you show up for yourself. There is no right or wrong way to care for yourself.
It is important to make caring for yourself a habit. In order to show up your best in other areas of your life, you must show up for yourself first. Everyone always talks about the benefits of taking care of yourself and doing self-care, but where do you begin? It may feel like a daunting task at first, but it is possible to make a routine and stick to it. Here are 10 self-care tips on how to start and maintain a routine suitable for you.
1. Find breaks in your day
The biggest challenge is finding time to implement these practices into your daily schedule. It can be hard to balance work, school, and life priorities. Start small! 5 minutes in the morning, on your lunch break, or before bed is a great start to building the habit of making time for yourself.
Writing out your schedule on a calendar helps you to visualize your day and see just how many breaks you do have to do something for yourself. Visual scheduling is a way to plan breaks to prioritize your mental wellbeing and build a healthy habit of incorporating self-care.
2. Implement at least 1 self-care activity and slowly increase
When beginning to start a self-care routine, it is important to choose a task that is feasible. Starting with one self-care activity per week is a great way to start including wellness activities and also not overwhelm your normal schedule. As you adjust, you will find places to include more self-care time.
3. Find what makes you feel best
There is no one way to take care of yourself. Your self-care may look different from someone else’s. That's okay! Your self-care should be personalized for you. Do what makes you feel best and do not feel obligated to follow traditional self-care tips. A part of self-care is doing something that makes you feel good, that could be anything!
- Bike riding
- Watch a comfort show
- Eat your favorite meal or snack
- Watching the sunset
- Listening to music
- Take a bath
4. Stay consistent
In order to see progress, it is important to stay consistent and prioritize your self-care activities. Mental health is just as important as physical health, take care of your mental wellbeing as you would your physical wellbeing.
5. Listen to your body
You have to recognize how your body communicates with you to give it what it needs. You may often feel tired and sluggish, have low energy, or feel burnt-out. These are all signs that you need a break. Self-care activities should be relaxing and serve as a way to give yourself a break. Make sure that you listen to what your body needs, so that you can pick the appropriate activity that helps combat what you may feel at the time. Some days you may need a more interactive activity like a puzzle to unwind, while other days you may need a nap to recharge.
6. Be gentle with yourself
Part of self-care is being gentle with yourself. Speak to yourself positively. Do not be too hard on yourself. We may make mistakes as we go along, but try not to let that hinder your progress. Practice affirmations as a form of self-care and be gentle with yourself.
7. Set goals for how to incorporate these self-care tasks daily
In the beginning of the week write down one thing you will do for yourself by the end of the week. This goal will help remind you to complete your activity. This also aids in making mental wellness a habit.
Today I am feeling ______, but I will ______ ,so that I feel ______
8. Adjust and change if needed
Your original self-care routine may not be the one that works for you long term. It is normal to change and your self-care will change for you. Communicate with yourself about what is working and what is not working.
9. Track your progress
Marking off days when you do an activity for yourself helps you see how much time you spend on self-care. Find a good balance of what works and what does not work for your self-care.
10. Find a healthy support system
Surrounding yourself with people who make self-care a habit motivates you to maintain your routine as a healthy habit. You will find that you may be able to complete some self-care days with someone else. It is good to talk about self-care to normalize it as a part of your lifestyle, but also to keep your practices sustainable.
Start your self-care journey with Omega 3
Starting a self-care routine does not have to be super extravagant. It should be suitable to your way of living and what makes you feel best. Your routine should be personalized to your lifestyle and needs.
At Omega 3, we want to help you develop a self-care habit of getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Including omega-3 fatty acids can help strengthen the brain, improve your mood, sharpen memory, and fight depressive symptoms. Packed with 1250 MG of omega-3s per bar, you are guaranteed to get the recommended amount of omega-3s in your diet. Incorporating Omega 3 bars in your routine is easy. They are great to start off the day during breakfast or a quick snack during the day. What you eat is just as important as what you do when thinking about ways to take care of yourself.
“Caring for Your Mental Health.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health.