Caring unapologetically for yourself is part of an essential foundation that each person can benefit from, in every aspect of their life. Our relationship with ourselves determines more than we can identify. It often doesn’t expose itself until moments of reflection, or when something calls our attention.
Learning to care for yourself is setting a foundation that will keep you going when things get tough. It will propel you forward when things shape up, and provide the strength for others to lean on when you extend a helping hand. It may not be far off to say that one’s ability to take care of themselves is synonymous with their ability to do anything. This is the backbone of self care.
The Quirks of Self-Care
If you’re not used to putting conscious effort into self care, taking time out for yourself is not always easy. It can feel awkward, rude, forced, and even selfish. The truth is, our jobs, families, friends, and lives could all see better versions of ourselves with a little self care.
Enough of that jazz, though. If you’d like an idea of where to start with incorporating self care into your life, try these four steps.
Step One: Define What Self-Care Means to You
The first step to bringing an awakening to self care in your life is to define what it means to you, specifically. It is true to say that self care is particularly abstract in its meaning because of the diverse understanding and definition of what it means.
What is self care for one person may be self-destruction for another. It’s all about understanding your individual needs, isolating what gets you going, and discovering what will keep you going.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- When do I feel happiest?
- What activities excite and energize me?
- Who do I feel inspired by?
- When do I feel at my best?
Once you answer these questions, you should have a better idea of the concepts that will drive your self care practice.
Step Two: Discover Your Obstacles
Next, take some time to reflect on the aspects of your life that make caring for yourself difficult. Part of the importance behind making time for self care is making up for the time where it needs to get pushed to the side for an obligation, a friend, a job, or circumstance. Take a moment to identify now, what makes self care difficult for you?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- When do I feel like the least confident version of myself?
- When do I feel guilty for taking time for myself?
- Who makes me feel judged for caring for myself?
- Who do I rely on to care for me if not myself?
Answering these questions will help you identify the challenges you may need to overcome to integrate self care comfortably into your life.
Step Three: Decide How You’ll Practice
After establishing what self care means to you and what’s in your way of practicing, the next step is more creative. This is where you decide what your methods of self care can and should be.
It’s important to note that although a lot of self care can be a good time and fulfilling, it can and will sometimes feel like work. This is normal and a sign of growth. Make the decisions on what your self care practice will look like by permitting yourself to put yourself first.
Use these questions as guidelines for organizing whatever ideas may have come to light from answering the previous questions:
- How much time do I have to allocate to self care?
- Can I make more time? What can I swap, make more time-efficient, or eliminate to make more time for self care?
- What senses of mine need to be activated?
- What kind of emotions would I like to provoke?
- How will I know if I’m doing it successfully? How will I feel?
- How will I keep track of my progress?
- Am I open to trying new methods if I feel as though I am struggling?
Step Four: Execute and Enjoy
Now that you’ve collected all the information you need to tackle self care in your life, it’s time to put it into action. Self care implementation might not be a simple process. It may be messier than jotting it down in a beautiful, clutter-free calendar with dates, times, and scheduled moments to breathe.
On some days, it might look like a scoop of ice cream, and other days it might look like cutting dairy out of your diet altogether.
The one key to practicing self care and maintaining it? Allowing it to evolve. Evolution is the essence of life, and life is behind the essence of self care. Ready to start your self care journey? YOU, starts here.