Self-Care How to Get Started. It’s easy to get started on your self-care journey. Below are 8 simple starters for self-care that should help you find some ways that you can add self-care to your busy days. I’ve tried all of these and do many of them every day (who doesn’t want to prioritize sleep??). I’d love to hear from you on what you’ve tried and what is most useful for you.
Sleep is one of the most underrated yet most important pieces to our overall well-being. Lack of sleep contributes to a host of problems, and can seriously affect your health, mood and productivity. Most healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. So, if you’re one of those people who brag about how you function “just fine” off of just a few hours, consider that you might just be doing yourself a huge disservice.
If you find yourself stressed out, lazy, overwhelmed, and just feeling a little run-down, try to prioritize sleep as part of your self-care process. Maybe you can’t jump from 5 to 9 hours in a night but consider where you may be able to add an extra hour to start. Consider what may be keeping you from sleeping regularly, and what changes you can make in your life to eliminate some of those concerns.
Running on less than 7-9 hours of sleep has potential adverse effects that you may not have considered, such as weight gain, inflammation and poor mental health. If you think you can’t get more sleep because your life is just too hectic and busy, start small! Start by setting a strict cutoff for when you’ll turn off your phone or laptop and go to bed. Then, try going to bed just ten minutes earlier for a while. Even if you don’t fall asleep right away, you’ll be training your body and mind to get into sleep mode. Once you get used to that, you can slowly add more time. It really works!
Start a Meditation Practice
Meditation is one of the best self-care practices you can do because it really can be so simple, yet so effective. If you’re new to meditation, you may feel like it’s not something you can do, but rest assured anybody can learn to meditate effectively.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to “let your mind go blank,” sit in an uncomfortable position folded on the floor, or meditate for hours a day to reap the benefits. Just a simple breathing exercise when you feel stressed is all you need to get started.
Try this box breathing technique:
- Inhale deeply and slowly for a count of 4
- Hold for a count of 4
- Exhale deeply, fully and slowly for a count of 4
- Hold for a count of 4
- Repeat this sequence three times
Try a meditation App to develop a more consistent practice. Many are free and have excellent beginner meditations anywhere from a few minutes to much longer, and they guide you through the process. I like the Calm app and use the free option, the paid option is not necessary unless and until you are ready to commit to a more consistent meditation practice.
Spend Time Outside
This is my number one go-to. I try to get outside for a walk every day – sometimes in the city but often at a nature preserve or the Boardwalk at the Zoo. Nature is incredibly soothing and grounding. If you can, spend ten minutes (or more) outdoors in nature. Go for a walk at the park or sit outside in your garden. If there aren’t many natural settings around, just being out in the sunlight or inhaling outdoors air will do wonders for you. Consider something taking a quick walk during your lunch break instead of eating inside for the whole time. This is a great activity to do with a friend so be proactive and call that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
More Self-Care How to get Started: Stay Hydrated
While this is simple, it’s not always easy to stay on top of this one every day – but I try. Drinking enough water is so vital for overall health. Making sure you drink enough water each day is an outstanding self-care practice. You might like to download an app on your phone for tracking your water intake; that way you can stay on track each day.
Aim for 64 ounces (8 cups or 2 liters) of water each day to start and go up from there. (The general guideline is 1/2 your body weight in ounces so if you weigh 150 pounds that would be 75 ounces).
Start a Journaling Practice
Journaling your thoughts is one of the best ways you can get to know yourself, find creative solutions to daily problems, and clear your mind. Your journal doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can start a free, private account on any blogging platform such as LiveJournal, store it on your hard drive on your computer, or buy a physical notebook to jot down your thoughts.
Spending just five minutes each morning or right before bed at night, writing out your thoughts goes a long way toward improving your life.
Tech Free Time
At any given time, most people are using some technological device. If we’re not staring into our smartphones, we’re on our computers, watching TV, listening to music… sometimes more than one of these at once!
Simply unplugging for an extended amount of time is a healthy self-care practice because it brings you into the present moment. It’s okay to avoid exposure to stimulation 100% of the time.
You can be there in the moment, using your senses to examine the world around you in real-time.
Start Tomorrow Today
Getting tomorrow’s goals and plans situated today is one of the biggest stress-relievers. Something as simple as thinking about the big things you want to accomplish and listing them down can take as little as 60-seconds, but it allows your mind to let go for the night.
It’s even better if you visualize your next day, but that’s not necessary. Simply organizing and planning just that little bit can help ease your mind, which can help you get better sleep.
Make a Date with Yourself
Finally, making a date with yourself to engage in self-care activities is alone a powerful tool for expressing your self-importance and self-worth. Just like you’d schedule an urgent meeting with your boss in your calendar, you should schedule essential meetings with and for yourself, too.
Whether it’s some time at the gym or even time to curl up and read your favorite book (or time to take a nap), prioritizing the things that you need to function at your personal best will go a long way in keeping your self-care routine top-notch.
Self-care doesn’t have to be an elaborate process. The more habitually you can incorporate positive, uplifting practices into your daily life, the better off your whole life will be.
Give some of these self-care ideas a try and see how your entire life improves. Let me know below what self-care practices you enjoy.
Check out inexpensive products to support your self-care journey on my Self-Care Products Under $20 Post and respond in the comments to let me know your favorite self-care activity.