How To Make Self-Care A Reality

I get it, you’re busy, and one of the first things to be sacrificed is your self-care routine, so how can you make self-care a reality? I’m taking for granted that you do have some form of self-care going on.  If not, head over to my article on What Is Self-Care  Hopefully, that will encourage you to at least have a think about it.

So, how well do you look after yourself?

Before you answer that, answer this – do you look after yourself?

Now, your immediate response is probably to laugh out loud. But, of course, I look after myself! What a ridiculous question!

Is it really that ridiculous? Is self-care a reality in your life?

Go on, take a minute and list all the ways you look after yourself.

Mmm, if you are anything like how I was a few years ago, that’s where it gets tricky.  Because I believed that all I needed to do for self-care was to:

  • Look after my skin – remove make-up, cleanse and tone, you know the drill
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
  • Take a walk to get away from my computer screen every hour or so

But there’s so much more to self-care than that.  Self-care has to be deliberate. An intentional act you carry out to positively influence your emotional, physical or mental health. It’s a simple concept, yet so many people overlook it.  I did!

In my article what is self-care and why it makes you a better person, I highlight several benefits.  But for a quick reference, practising self-care can help you:

  • relieve anxiety
  • improve your mood
  • and even improve the relationships you have with others (and yourself).
self-care is not doing things you don't want to do

self-care should not be something you feel pressured to do!

Self-Care Is Not…

Whilst it’s all very well knowing the benefits of self-care, it’s just as important you know what self-care isn’t.

Self-care shouldn’t be something you

  • force yourself to do
  • don’t enjoy
  • pay lip-service to

The Self-Care Secret

The secret of self-care is that it should be something that adds to you, not takes away from you. And can I also just mention that self-care is not selfish.

You need to think about your needs and know what is necessary to meet those needs.

By doing this, you act in your best interest, and you’re also taking steps to improve the lives of others too. In addition, by taking care of yourself, you’ll be better at taking care of others (and being more productive, happier, and a better person to be around). See, it’s simple?

There’s lots of talk about living a balanced life. Likewise, the work/life balance is often debated.  But what’s often missing is how self-care is an essential piece of the puzzle.

So, where do you start? There are three rules to consider.

To make self-care a reality follow the three rules

The Three Rules To Make Self-Care A Reality

1. The Basics

You don’t have to make it complicated when you first start.  Begin with an activity you find easy to do and do only one.  If you try and make loads of changes all at once, you’ll find it too challenging.  And when things get hard, we look for an easy way out.  In effect, it becomes another stressor and an item on the to-do list that you’ll feel pressured to tick off.

Start with one thing that brings you joy or helps you relax, and you’ll soon find that you slip into a rhythm and routine.

Also, when you practise self-care, you’ll find more ways of self-care that work for you. You can implement these as you uncover them.

2. Active Planning

I mentioned earlier that self-care has to be a deliberate practice? First, you have to plan your acts of self-care. Self-care won’t just happen if you don’t go out of your way to do it.

The best way to make your self-care a reality is to treat it as an active choice you make by.  For example, you can

  • Add activities to your diary
  • Announce plans in advance to make it stick, and
  • Look for new and exciting opportunities to practice self-care

3. Conscious Mind

If you don’t view your activities as self-care, they won’t serve you the way they should.

Be more aware of what actions or decisions you make, why you make them, how they feel, and the outcome of them, too.

grab you notebook and make a list

A Basic Checklist

Self-care means different things to everyone, but the reality of self-care is that there’s a basic one-size-fits-all checklist.  Which is as follows:

• Write out a list of things you know you don’t want to do. These could include:

  • attend parties, you can’t bear to go to
  • answer your phone during meals or
  • Check your email inbox outside of working hours.

If you don’t like it… don’t do it.

• Follow a healthy, balanced diet.

• Sleep well.

• Exercise regularly – for best effects, have a mix of cardio and strength exercises.

• Visit your doctor/dentist/optician for check-ups, including routine examinations and tests recommended for your age group.

• Practice meditation, yoga or deep breathing.  You can find out how I got into meditation and the personal benefits I experienced here

• Spend time with the people you love. `

• Do something every day that provides you with relaxation.

• Do at least one thing every day that you love.

• Take every opportunity to laugh.

The above list is not exhaustive and contains the bare minimum of self-care.  To make self-care a reality commit to yourself now that you will choose something off the list and explore it further.

Here’s something to get you started…

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

(and it's good for the brain)

You can even have a combination of the above. For example, I googled laughing and discovered that laughing yoga is a thing, apparently.

Numerous studies have shown that laughter reduces stress and boosts your well-being.  Have a look at this YouTube clip from Ellen (one of my favourite funny ladies) Laughter Is Good for Your Brain - YouTube.  I dare you not to laugh!

The great thing about laughter is that it is contagious, and it costs nothing – so if you want to get started today, go and have a giggle.

To Sum Up

Life’s busy.  I’m sure you have a million and one things on your to-do list, but that doesn’t mean you should put self-care on the back burner.

You’ll benefit from:

  • less anxiety
  • better mood
  • and even improve the relationships you have with others (and yourself).

Self-care should never be forced or feel like a chore.  When you do something good for yourself, you are investing in your health and welfare.

Remember, there are just three rules to follow to make self-care a reality:

  • The basics
  • Active planning
  • Conscious mind

And if you get stuck, refer back to the list for the basic requirements and get started by having a good laugh.

About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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