Self-love or self-care is popular, but it's not all facemasks and candle-lit baths.
Self-care is all about looking after yourself and learning to prioritise your needs. It is too easy to get caught up in the hamster wheel of work, friends, family, and partners and realise you have not stopped and taken care of yourself in a while. Because the definition of looking after yourself is broad, many types of care can fall under this category. It can take the form of slowing down and relaxing (face masks and candle-lit baths) or securing your future through retirement or end-of-life planning. Read on to learn how to practice self-care.
The essence of self-love and self-care is making time for yourself. It is scheduling time for things that are important to you or improve your life. It is also about creating an environment where you will flourish. Here are some ways you can practice self-love.
Life is stressful, and you need time to relax and unwind. Ideally, you should schedule some downtime daily, but you can also schedule a big chunk of unwinding time once a week. What you do with this time is up to you. You can do facemasks and paint your nails if that helps you relax. You could meditate, do yoga, or listen to your favourite music through noise-cancelling headphones and take ten minutes to shut out the world. Disconnect from the noise and chaos of the world and relieve the stress.
Your health should be a huge priority and something that you safeguard. When your health starts to deteriorate, the rest of your life also begins to crumble. You do not need to eat clean 100% of the time and always get eight hours of sleep, but you should aim to make healthy decisions most of the time. Eat primarily healthy, get eight hours of sleep most nights, do some movement every day, and drink plenty of water most days. It would help to get regular check-ups with health professionals to catch any health conditions early and reduce stress.
Time management is one of our favourite self-love tools. We don't mean packing your day down into ten-minute increments; we suggest scheduling your day in a way that works best for you and not overbooking your calendar. As much as many of us would like to believe differently, we cannot be in multiple places simultaneously and cannot work uninterrupted for 8 hours straight. Be kind to yourself and realistic about your time. Feeling overwhelmed is a huge reason for procrastination.
Your physical environment can impact your mental health. It is easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed if you look around and have a chaotic home environment. Make sure your space is clean, tidy, and organised to improve your mood and productivity. Spend 5-10 minutes every evening doing a "reset" where you return your environment to its tidy state. Put away things you used in the day and wipe down messy surfaces.
Being in an environment that you love can also have a significant impact on mood and productivity. Having artwork or plants can boost your space to turn it into someone you genuinely love to be.
The people you have in your life have more influence than you know. If you surround yourself with positive, supportive, and successful people, you will subconsciously take on more of those traits. If you surround yourself with negative people who complain and treat others poorly, you will take on more of those traits. So, surround yourself with people who support you, care about you, and admire you. Relationships should be a two-way street; on average, you should get as much support as you give.
Looking after yourself includes looking out for the 'future you'. No matter what age you are, it would help if you put some time aside to do the following:
These can be simple tasks. Put aside an hour or two one weekend a month to tackle one piece at a time. Handling these tasks will mean less stress and peace of mind that your future is taken care of.
Setting aside regular time to do hobbies you love is a massive aspect of self-care. It is easy to feel burnt out and unmotivated when you feel like all you do is work, eat, and sleep. Spending time on hobbies and things can help you get back your joie de vivre. It doesn't matter if you are out doing classes and group activities or staying at home knitting; do something just for you.
Goal setting, when done correctly, is a form of self-love. It is a contract to improve your life and get you a step closer to your aspirations and what you value. When you work on your goals regularly, you prioritise the things vital to you and work towards being the best version of yourself. Break your goals into bite-sized pieces so you can work towards them regularly.