5 Simple Self-Care Practices You Can Start Now

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Between work, home, friends and endless running around, do you find that weeks can go by and you have not taken even 5 minutes for yourself? Neglecting self-care is so darn easy, but the consequences can be serious. Adding simple self-care practices to your daily routine can greatly strengthen your health and emotional well-being. Note the word “simple.” If you are already stressed for time and you schedule long, complicated self-care routines into your calendar, you’ll only succeed in adding to your stress.

There is actually something magical about small acts of self-care and for those of us that may feel guilty about taking time for ourselves in the first place, simple and gentle practices hit the sweet spot. Once you get in the practice of adding small bits of self-care to your days, it will become easier and very natural to look for ways to make yourself feel good and loved.

chalkboard that reads "self-care o'clock"

Try these simple self-care strategies to get started:

1.      Block out time for self-care in your schedule. Okay, okay, I just said above that you’ll only stress yourself out more if you schedule big blocks of time for yourself. But stay with me here. It’s not enough to occasionally stop your busy lifestyle and take a walk or indulge in a hot bath. Self-care is an ongoing process. Just as you reserve time in your schedule for other appointments, set aside time to take care of yourself, too.  It’s important to adopt self-care habits that you can enjoy on a regular basis. They’ll help you avoid burnout, increase your productivity, and allow you to enjoy life. So find ways to sneak fun little bits of self-care into your daily schedule. Little ways to remind yourself that your happiness matters. One really simple thing I do is put a little note in my agenda between busy times that reminds me to go outside for 5 minutes and watch the hummingbirds at the feeder. Simple.

 2. Enjoy your favorite hobby. So many of us get to the point that, when asked what our favorite hobbies, are, we just stare blankly. You may not even know what you enjoy anymore. This is actually great! It gives you the freedom to just dive in with some inspired action taking and try any hobby you can think of. No pressure to like it or have it be THE one. Try a bit of this, a bit of that. Try things that you are certain you won’t enjoy. Allow yourself to be stretched and maybe surprised by what sets off little sparks. I always felt an obligation to make things like journaling my hobby. But it was always forced and I never lost myself in it. I’m currently learning to make all kinds of things with concrete and holy wow do I enjoy it. Funny thing is that it clears my mind so much that now journaling is more natural and enjoyable.

Whether you love to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen dig around in your garden, your favorite hobbies can be and are part of self-care.

3.      Give and allow compliments. I specifically used the word “allow” to gently nudge your mind into understanding that it is a decsion you need to make to actually allow and accept the compliments others give you. This bit of self care starts with hearing the compliment, pausing to stop yourself from deflecting the kindness, and simply smiling and saying “thank you.” Note the period there. You say thank you and allow that compliment. I honestly think this is one of the greatest forms of self-care there is.

Once you can allow those compliments, collect them! Keep a folder on your computer desktop where you collect the compliments you’ve been given. When you catch yourself starting to spiral into negative self-talk, crack that baby open and see yourself the way others see you.

The other side of this coin is getting your mind used to scanning your environment for positive things. I’ve benn addicted to negative and critical thinking since I was in the womb, so I fully understand how hard of a shift this can be. But, by golly, once you make the switch from looking at what is wrong, to looking for how darn cool people are, your life will change. It will flipping chagne.

If you sit back and observe your thoughts, I bet you actually do have a lot of positive thoughts that you could share with people every day. But your rational mind tells you to hush up and that you’ll sound stupid if you tell them what you’re thinking. Pfffft. Start today with just one easy compliment (I really like your shirt.”) and keep at that every day until it feels natural. Then go more, go bigger, go crazy with compliments.

4.      Remove clutter. Whether you decide to clean off your desk, declutter your closet, or clean out the fridge, removing clutter will uplift you. Clutter can drain you physically and mentally. It can also make you unhappy as you try to move through your day.  Eliminate the things that no longer serve you. Stop holding onto things because you “should.” Don’t allow yourself to guilt yourself into keepinng something because you spent money on it. If you have been holding on to something because you may need it “one day” get rid of it. Make space.

5.      Do one selfish act. Even doing one tiny selfish act that makes you happy can do wonders for your day. You can enjoy just that one thing without feeling guilty about it! If you struggle with self-care, it’s often because you spend all of your energy and time taking care of others. There’s nothing left in your well for yourself. By taking the time to do one selfish act, such as reading your favorite book or ignoring a boring phone call, you’ll be restoring your own importance.

Self-care often takes a backseat to work, family, and other obligations.However, without stopping to take care of your mind and body, you’re at risk of burning out and getting to where you feel stuck. Start making time for your self-care practices today! 

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