Tips for successful self-care.
These days, the term “self-care” is everywhere. But what does it actually mean and how can we fit self-care into our daily lives? Also, isn’t it a bit selfish to place so much importance on yourself?
Self-care means redefining your priorities.
You had every intention of taking some time for yourself today, but then life got in the way. Sound familiar? First you had to fill in for a colleague, then you stopped by to see your mom. Once back home, you “quickly” took care of preparations for the school fair, bought a gift, sorted out taxes... And before you knew it, your needs had been put on hold. Again. It’s time to make self-care a priority.
Self-care means not losing sight of oneself, reorganising our priorities, and treating one’s own needs with just as much importance as those of others – maybe even with more.
Why self-care is not selfish.
Practising self-care helps you recentre yourself and replenish your reserves. This is the only way to make sure you can be present for yourself – and for others. Think of it this way: the world needs you, so you need to take care of yourself. Those who are strong and balanced are in a better position to give some of this away if and when it is needed.
Self-care is individual.
An initial word of advice: there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to self-care. It is always a matter of individual needs. You need to decide what you personally need to feel grounded: Peace or stimulation? Time alone or the care and attention of a loved one? More short breaks throughout the day or a less busy schedule in general?
Tips for successful self-care.
Self-care starts with seeing oneself through loving eyes.
Though this may sound simple, it can be quite hard to put into practice. After all, you are probably very used to checking off the items on your daily to-do list before carving out any time for yourself. This perspective needs to change. Try to see yourself through the loving and understanding eyes of a best friend. They might laugh and shake their head at your jam-packed day. And they would most certainly give you official permission to take care of yourself.
Take baby steps.
You don't have to turn your whole life on its head to make time for a little self-care. Even small changes can make a big impact. Maybe start by writing down something that makes you feel good, then try to make space for this in your life.
Routines are helpful.
Routines can help you implement the things you identify as important, because they allow you to integrate small acts of kindness into your day – see our self-care ideas. However, make sure not to create routines that are too ambitious, that put you under pressure or that are doomed to fail from the start and just leave you feeling guilty.
5 self-care ideas.
How do other people integrate moments of self-care into their daily lives? Here are some suggestions for you to try out and tailor to your own needs.
1) A little morning routine.
Just 10 minutes can really change your day. Get up that little bit earlier and do a sun salutation or some breathing exercises by an open window, or just enjoy a quiet cup of tea before the day gets going.
2) Schedule your self-care time.
This is a tried-and-tested trick: schedule small breaks and days off just as strictly as you would a visit to the dentist or a work meeting – and then protect them. If you ever feel pressure to give up this time for other things, say very clearly: I already have plans.
3) Go by foot.
Walk to work – even if this just means getting off the bus or train one stop or station early, or parking the car a little further away to walk that final stretch. If you pass any green spaces on the way, take off your shoes and walk barefoot through the grass for a moment. This gives you (and your feet) a special moment of connection to yourself and to nature.
4) Bring awareness to the ordinary.
Whether you’re cleaning your teeth, washing your hands or eating a salad: do it with a new-found awareness. This means looking lovingly at yourself in the bathroom mirror, maybe giving yourself a little wink; notice how the soap foams in your hands and how routinely your fingers move; and eat with pleasure – without simultaneously emptying the dishwasher or scrolling on your phone.
5) An extra portion of care.
If you're looking for a little more self-care, there's nothing better than soaking in a bath with a face mask. The scent, the warmth and the brief escape from everyday life help you reconnect to yourself. You can integrate moments of self-care into the home office, too, like by placing a cooling footbath with Sage Purifying Bath Essence under your desk or putting a warm compress soaked in Moor Lavender Calming Bath Essence on your neck to relieve tension. In the evening, you can rub an oil or cream into your feet to create some conscious me-time and prepare for a good night's sleep.