They say "take time to self-care" or "don't forget to self-care this weekend," yet the ambiguity of what self-care entails leaves you confused, wondering: What items do I need to focus on first?
According to Catherine Beard, creator of The Blissful Mind blog, self-care encompasses various aspects of your lifestyle, including "mental, spiritual, and environmental" factors of your day-to-day routine. Don't get overwhelmed with trying to improve all areas of your personal wellbeing at once. Taking small, simple steps can lead to progressive self-improvements with consistency, grace, and determination.
Where to start?
First, take inventory of your needs and levels of satisfaction. Questions to ponder:
Do you content with where you are at in life?
Do you experience negative thoughts more often than positive thoughts?
How does your body feel when you wake up in the morning? When you do to bed at night?
Do you feel supported by the people you interact with?
Asking yourself reflective questions helps you determine what it is you are subconsciously longing for. Be honest and truthful to yourself as you ponder the questions above to understand the items you want to work on in the next step.
What are your goals?
When starting a self-care journey, the best motivator that will keep you going is knowing where you are headed on the path. Questions to ponder:
What skills do you hope to gain from working on yourself?
Where do you see yourself in the next 12 months?
What are some habits you would like to break? Habits to improve on?
What does your ideal day include?
Write down your goals and carefully trace them to the root area of what you want to focus on in your self-care journey. Maybe you find yourself easily distracted and would like to develop a better concentration habit. That particular goal would fall under mental health self-care since you are interested in creating better thinking habits for the day.
What to do with your goals?
After stating your goals and drawing the lines to areas of improvement. Set intentional mini-goals that will help you reach the long-term goal. Brainstorm a list of activities you can engage in and every week choose a couple of items from the list to focus on. For example:
If your goal is to physically become stronger, maybe think of attending x2 fitness classes at your local/online gym, taking outdoor walks, changing your diet to a healthier option, and finding a workout, accountability partner.
You are not expected to complete all the items at once. Instead, play around and choose a few items to focus on each week to keep yourself motivated in reaching your long-term goals.
Self-care is not one specific activity that fits all. Self-care branches into a variety of subcategories that all influence our daily life well-being. Being mindful of what your body or mind needs in a particular space and time, will help you notice areas that need extra attention to grow emotionally, physically, or mentally into your best self.