Unintentionally this year I started on a self-care path. It wasn’t what I had intended to focus on in 2016 but it seems to be put in front of me again and again. I used to think self-care involved a lot of manicures, which I wouldn’t be mad about. But over the course of the last 3 years, I’ve found out that it means a whole lot more than that. And I should take it seriously. I don’t have kids right now but when I do I want to be with them for as long as possible and one of the ways I can do that is making sure to practice good self-care principles.
Here are some of the ways I’ve started caring for myself on a daily basis
- Drink more water. I’ve upped my water intake quite a bit over the last couple of months I’m still not getting the daily recommended amount but I just keep working on it. One of the ways I get the most out of my water is by keeping a water bottle with me when we go places where before I wouldn’t have anything unless we went to specifically get a drink. I also use the Fitbit app to help me keep track of how many bottles I’ve had, you would think it would be easy to remember how many times you’ve filled up your bottle but your mind starts thinking about other things and you forget.
- Yoga & meditation. I started yoga to be more flexible and to help reduce anxiety but with regular practice it has turned into something more. I wish I could explain it but there is some sort of mind shift I’ve experienced now that I don’t have words for. I take the time to check in with how my body is really feeling and really listen.
- Activity. I’ve only got one body and I really want it to be the best it can. And I’m getting there slowly, being stronger and having more endurance each week is my main goal for my activity.
- Mindset. This one is the most surprising to me. I never thought that my mindset could really help me in the long run while taking care of myself.
- Taking a Break. Taking a break mentally or physically from some of the day to day activities that drain me has been huge. I’m very fortunate to work for myself so that when I need a break I can go out and take a walk around the city, grab a cup of coffee or just explore in a different direction.
- Trying something for creativity’s sake. Sometimes I’ll just want to work on a for fun personal project by stretching myself creatively. This helps me mentally get in the zone for working on creative projects of coming up with blog topics to share with you!
- Letting go. This has probably been the hardest for me. I’m a type A personality I want, no need things to be perfect. I make plans and lists and am not very spontaneous. But I’m working on it. I try not to let myself worry over every word in an email that I send out to clients. I try to let go when we are out on a walk and get hungry before we make it to our original destination. I try to step back from my concerns and say is this something that I really want to spend my energy and brain power on? Does it really matter if we leave the house by the arbitrary time I set in my head? Usually, these answers are no and it feels really good and life feels more simple when I’ve let some of these things go.
- Close my Inbox & turn off email notifications. Going along with being a type A personality I am also a people pleaser. I would check my inbox for emails all day long which is exhausting in and of itself. Then I would jump on any email that needed my attention trying to solve the problem immediately. While quick communication is important for me when working with clients there hasn’t been an emergency that needed addressed that quickly. I’ve decided to start looking at my email only three times a day. Once in the morning, once at the end of my work day and once in the evening. Not only does this help me stay focused on what I’m working on it helps with my efficiency as well since I’m not using up precious minutes a day checking my email over and over.
- Setting boundaries. As a freelancer, it sometimes is hard to turn off the work part of my mind or my day and it is even worse sometimes because I really love what I do. Sometimes, I start working at 7 am and will still be working before I go to sleep at night. I’ve made a conscious decision to set some work boundaries for myself. When I’m done working for the day I spend a few minutes planning out my tasks for the next day then I clean off my desk. It helps me mentally realize I’m off work. If I do plan on working in the evenings, which sometimes I do when Gunnar has meetings or we are planning on working on a project together, I shift my hours instead of working the whole time. I’ll sometimes get my house chores done during this time or read a book go for a walk. I’m still working my “hours” they are just split up.
- Nurturing relationships. One thing that I didn’t even originally think of as self-care was my relationships. My friends are important to me and if I get busy and don’t nurture them they then become old friends and acquaintances. I don’t want that to happen so I take a little time each week to send out some snail mail, text, call or email my friends to let them know I’m thinking about them even if we can’t get together to hang out in person.
In general, I feel much better physically and mentally after working on these areas of my life. The biggest change overall was changing my mindset on what Self-Care was all about. It isn’t something selfish or something that has to cost money, although who is going to argue about the value of a massage or facial when it comes to self-care… not me! I hope that you find these 10 Self-care tips helpful when planning your own self-care strategy.
Do you have any favorite self-care tips to share? Comment below I’d love to hear how you take care of yourself!