How To Take Better Care Of Yourself At Home
According to guidance from the World Health Organization self-care is indeed living up to the hype. Self-care helps us “promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” Please note that while this definition states “with or without the support of a healthcare provider,” no one is advocating you to forgo accessible, routine primary care in place of a #SelfCareSunday. However, in disadvantaged regions or even more local areas where access to quality healthcare is a barrier to receiving proper and consistent treatment, self-care can be better than no care at all. So, recapping: We know what self-care is and how it may benefit us, but what is the best way to do it?
Starting Your Self-Care Journey
The beauty of self-care is: It is like a rainbow – a collective idea that presents so many different colors or variations. The practice of self-care is a spectrum of tastes, what works for one may not work for another. One person may gravitate towards healthier eating habits and daily yoga, while their friend prefers weekly acupuncture and massage sessions. Another person may find their groove in daily meditations or physician-approved herbal remedies. Whatever the selection, no matter your gender, you can take better care of yourself.
The unpopular truth about self-care is: Everyone is telling you to do self-care, but these activities can be expensive. Weekly massages, regular mani-pedis, and constantly jet-setting across the globe can add up. Another unpopular truth? Self-care doesn’t have to be that. Often times when we see #selfcare on a social media post, someone is spending money on a retail service or trip. But what do you do if you can’t afford to #TreatYourself, but you still want to treat yourself? What if your ideal activity is sitting on a tropical island sipping a Mai Tai, but your reality is that your budget isn’t giving that? What are some simple self-care strategies you can consistently use at home?
Steps For Building A Self-Care Plan
- Identify what being mentally well looks like for you.
Consider brainstorming and writing down what you look like at your best. Free of all stress, what does being mentally well look like for you? What self-care activities are you doing? Which ones are bringing you the most joy? List all these activities.
To get you started, here are some simple self-care activities you can do at home:
· Take a bath or shower with essential oils
· Read a book that brings you empowerment or inspiration
· Meditate anywhere from 3 to 30-minutes
· If you live near green spaces, get out of your home and into nature
· Get creative (i.e., sing, write, draw, color, paint, play an instrument, etc.)
· Connect with your body through a yoga session
- Rank your list.
Consider organizing your list based on the activities that bring you the most joy based on your current mental state. For example, let’s say this week you were struggling with self-love. Based on the mini-list above, your ranking could go as follows: (1) Reading a book about self-love for 30 minutes, (2) Talking a walk outside, (3) Connecting with your body through a yoga session, (4) Meditating for 5 minutes, (5) Taking a bath with essential oils, and (6) Singing. You could do one activity or all six. The point is to make sure you rank them based on their priority to you, so if you only get to one that day, you’ll get to the one that makes you feel the happiest.
- Make an action plan to make your self-care a priority.
After you make your list and rank the activities, make an action plan to ensure that you prioritize yourself. Decide to block out 30 minutes of your day, each day, for self-care. If you can’t do 30 minutes, try five minutes. It’s important to make sure that you are showing up for yourself as much as you are showing up for others.
- Secure an accountability partner.
We aren’t meant to do life alone. As much as we think it can be us against the world, it’s not reality – nor is it healthy. Share your action plan with others like your partner, friends, parents, and/or children. Let people know. This serves a dual purpose: (1) you gain accountability partners, but also (2) people are aware of your scheduled boundaries for self-care.
- Set the date or date(s) for your self-care activity.
Put a date on the calendar so you know it’s real. Block the time out on your work calendar, shared family/friends calendar, or even your personal calendar hanging on the wall. With visible time blocks allotted for yourself, there is less of an excuse because you already made a slot for it.
- Follow through.
Stay true to the work you put in and follow through on your self-care plan. Remember you are doing this for yourself so that you can ultimately be a better and more whole you.
When Self-Care Isn’t Enough
There may come a point when you exhaust all your tried-and-true self-care methods, and your mental state is not improving. At this point, it may be time to seek professional help. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself regularly, but also love yourself to know when it is beyond your capabilities. Loop in your therapist if you have one and if you don’t have one, aim to get one. As a trained professional, they can help you navigate your struggles and possibly refine your self-care strategies to better serve you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Starting this self-care journey may seem hard at first. Stick with it and try your best to push through the discomfort. Enjoy loving on yourself. You deserve it. Remember when the flight attendant tells you to put your mask on before assisting others? Similarly, you have to fill up your cup before you can pour it into someone or something else. You only pour out of what you are full of. Care for yourself and fill up that cup.
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