Create Your Ideal Daily Self Care Routine
Adequate self care allows us to exceed expectations in our lives. We can create our ideal self care routine by intentionally choosing holistic ideas to practice on a daily basis – JUST 15 MINUTES A DAY. I provide suggested activities and personal experience from my own routine development.
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What is Daily Self Care
Self care is the process of taking a moment (or two) to re-energize and recharge so that you can put your best foot forward tomorrow.
Self care can include many different activities, but at its baseline, self care requires you to think about your own needs and assess what you currently might be lacking. Everyone enjoys different things and has different personalities, so their self-care will look different.
Why is Self Care Important
Engaging in daily self care is important. People tend to push themselves too hard and deplete themselves of all of their energy rather quickly. Fatigue and burnout ensue. When this happens, only then do people think about taking a vacation or calling out sick. At this point though, these get-aways are often not enough to sustain long-term energy upon return.
Vacations and staying home are good and provide the opportunity for rest every once in a while, but engaging in daily self-care can promote regular and sustained rejuvenation. Your ideal routine must be just that – a routine.
How to Create Your Self Care Routine
When you’re planning out your self care routine, you must consider your own personal needs. Each person enjoys different things and will needs different aspects of themselves replenished each day. While I can provide suggestions of self-care activities and timing, you must be the judge of what your body needs on a daily basis.
At the core, it is important for your routine to be well-rounded (i.e., holistic). The categories I’ve provided include Mind, Body, and Spirit so as to encompass emotional, physical, social, spiritual, and intellectual health. I find that financial health and ecological health encompass aspects of health that can be engaged in periodically and at less frequent intervals and still are maintained. They don’t NEED to be part of the daily self care routine, but they can be if you would like to add these aspects.
Less Than Fifteen Minutes!
The majority of these suggestions shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, unless you want them to, so at the very least, plan for about 45 minutes per day to allot for your self care routine. While that might seem like a good chunk of time, you have the flexibility to choose when you want to complete them.
While I enjoy doing each part of my self-care routine successively and in the mornings, you can also choose to separate the routine, doing one activity when you wake up, one activity during lunch, and one activity before dinner or at your bed time. Or, you could do all three categories before bed as you unwind and relax from the day and prepare for tomorrow.
Any way you slice it, you’re in control of how your self care routine looks, what’s included, and the manner in which you complete it.
Let’s take a look at the holistic categories of the self-care routine.
Mind – bringing emotional calm
I’ve placed Mind as the first category because I believe it to be the most important in this situation. We need self care because we are mentally drained. If we can rejuvenate our minds through an ideal self care routine, we can very easily follow through with the other aspects of our routines and our days.
Meditation can be understood in many different ways, but the manner that I enjoy is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation allows us to acknowledge the emotions and feelings in our body, and allow them to pass non-judgementally.
If you’re interested in pursuing medication as part of your ideal self care routine, I recommend checking out the app Smiling Mind. Smiling Mind is a nonprofit out of Australia that provides educational material on Mindfulness. As such, their app is organized into brief chapters of meditations that you can practice in succession or a la carte. Smiling Mind also does a good job of explaining what mindfulness meditation might look like with a family, in the classroom, or in the workplace.
I highly recommend Smiling Mind because everything they offer is FREE. You heard that right – the other leading mindfulness apps are not.
Deep breathing is simple and straightforward, but highly effective.
It’s odd to think that something as simple as our breath can change how we feel and our mood. But it’s true. The holistic mindset allows you to consider the impact of these simple things, and that’s why I like it.
To use deep breathing for your ideal self care routine, I recommend the 4-7-8 method. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. The most important aspect to note is the length of your exhale in comparison to the length of your inhale.
If your exhale is longer than your inhale, you will activate the parasympathetic nervous system (calm you down). If your inhale is longer than your exhale, you will activate the sympathetic nervous system (give you energy).
Samsung health provides a visual for customized deep breathing in their app that comes with Samsung phones, but Xhalr also has a good one that anyone with internet can use for FREE.
Guys, gratitude is one of my favorites. There is SO MUCH RESEARCH out there about how keeping a gratitude list can improve our mood.
There are very few single activities that can make us happier, but the gratitude list is one of them and it’s effective.
You can keep a gratitude list in one spot, or engage in a mental conversation about the things you are thankful for daily. It doesn’t have to be a long list either – the majority of studies surrounding gratitude require a daily list of only three items.
Personally, I like to write out my gratitude list in my bullet journal (more on this later) as a separate page for each month. On each line, I write out good things that I am thankful for on each day.
Enjoy a hobby
This one is a bit more broad, but enjoying a hobby can be helpful to improve your mental health. When we do things that we love, we feel rejuvenated and refreshed.
If you already have a good hobby, let me know in the comments below what it is and how it helps you!
If not, might I suggest gardening, baking bread, or knitting.
My Hobby Experiences
At the beginning of the recent national pandemic, I began gardening in containers on my front deck. I enjoyed the container gardening because it was small and did not require many supplies. To make your own, you only needed a few five gallon buckets, soil, and seeds.
I like growing my own food because I know where it came from, and I see myself as more capable because of it.
I also began baking bread for my husband and I to enjoy every Sunday morning. It was a simple project that literally only took a few ingredients and a little bit of kneading and we enjoyed every part of the process.
While I never got into sourdough, this would be my next endeavor if I wanted to continue the bread making process throughout the week. I would recommend this book if you’re interested in getting started with bread making in your home as part of your ideal self care routine.
Another common hobby that many people enjoy is knitting or crocheting. Both my mother and mother-in-law have enjoyed crocheting and have made us many gifts. I’ve gotten fun washcloths, reusable makeup remover pads, and even a tree skirt for our Christmas tree! All hand-made too! I’ve certainly appreciated their interest in this hobby. If you’re just getting started, here’s some yarn that my mother-in-law uses, and crochet supply recommendations.
Body – Emphasizing physical sensations
The next category of the ideal self-care routine must include your physical body. Regardless of your employment or daily activities, you are utilizing your physical body every day and you must take a moment to replenish your physical needs.
Take a warm bath
If you enjoy baths, I recommend this activity as a part of your ideal self care routine. This one is best practiced in the evening after a long day, as it provides your body an opportunity to unwind.
The warm water helps your muscles and joints relax, and you could even add Epsom salts for further relaxation and magnesium supplementation or essential oils for some aroma therapy.
Play some relaxing music, sink into the warm water, and feel your stresses wash away.
Use a Face Mask
One of my favorite things to do, but one that I don’t use as often as I should is the face mask. I love that there are tons of masks available for different purposes.
This is a simple activity that is easy to apply and has a great impact on the health of your skin.
My favorite brand to use is Freeman, as they are relatively inexpensive, and they use natural ingredients. Also, they only take about ten minutes to apply, activate, and remove. The Charcoal mask + Scrub is the one that I’m currently using.
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Lymphatic facial massage
The lymphatic facial massage is another one of my favorite aspects of my self care routine. Lymphatic massage stimulates the lymph in your shoulders, neck, and face to allow for better lymphatic flow and detoxification of your body.
Our lymph are what naturally detoxify our body, but sometimes due to our lifestyle choices, the fluid gets stuck and needs a little help.
Emphasis on little. The lymphatic facial massage is not like a Swedish or Medical massage. You use specific and light motions with your ring and middle fingers to stimulate the lymphatic flow. If you’re doing it right, it should be relaxing. Mona Vand, PhD has a straightforward video explaining how to give yourself a lymphatic facial massage.
I use the lymphatic facial massage as an opportunity to oil cleanse as well, and use both grapeseed and castor oils in a 3:1 ratio to clean my pores at the same time as detoxify my lymph. I am currently using this castor oil because its cold pressed and hexane free, but Now Foods has a good product as well that is a little bit more inexpensive, and they have both castor and grapeseed oils available.
Go your body moving
Ah, the obligatory physical movement. For those of you who exercise regularly, you know that it can be highly beneficial for your physical and mental health.
In addition to gratitude, movement can help improve your mood. While the mechanism is a bit different than how gratitude works in your brain, movement is just as powerful. Movement has even been shown to work just as good as anti-depressant medications!
Some movement I recommend is going for a walk with your family or friends, going for a run, or doing yoga. One of the most up-and-coming movement opportunities is the exercise bike – you can get all the benefit of cycling like you’re in the Tour de France, but none of the unstable outdoor weather.
Spirit – Edifying spiritually, socially, or intellectually
Last, but certainly not least is the Spirit category to improve spiritual health, social health, and intellectual health. These are things that make you smile or peak your curiosity. I’ve included this group of routine activities last because these are often the things that we normally like to do, but don’t think of as part of our ideal self care routines.
Call a friend
As I’ve gotten older, calling some of my closest friends has become something I’ve cherished. I was lucky to have cultivated close friendships in high school and college, and I intend to grow these friendships throughout my life.
Calling a close friend can be encouraging and help cheer you up. I love hearing what my best friends are up to, and how they’ve been succeeding in life. I’m so thankful to have these friends and want to make sure that they know it.
Call someone you love and make their day. It’ll improve yours too.
Watch a church service online
Spiritual edification is important for our health and according to the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC), spiritual health can have significant impact on our mental health outcomes in counseling. That means, our spiritual and religious identities can affect our whole health – our holistic health.
Watching a church service online is the only activity on this list that likely has to take longer than 15 minutes, so I recommend breaking it up into chunks and watch one service throughout the week if need be. Think of each of the speaker’s points as a chapter and break it up this way.
Since the international pandemic, more and more places of worship have provided their services online on multiple platforms including the more popular YouTube and Facebook that are available at any time. Browse these sites for some of your favorite speakers, or your own church.
Read a book
One of the best things that you can do for your brain is read a book. When reading – specifically fiction – your brain has to create the scenes, what people look like, and the entire book world. This process strengthens your brain, a process that does not happen with other forms of media (e.g., television or video games).
Many people make a goal of reading x number of books per month or per year, but personally I like to include reading 15 minutes a day into my self care routine. However many books I can finish in that amount of daily reading throughout the year is how many I will complete!
If you’re unsure of where to get started, I recommend listening to Neil Pasricha’s podcast Three Books. He sits down with leading influencers, such as Malcolm Gladwell, Judy Blum, and Angie Thomas to discuss with them their top three books that they’ve read. Maybe find an influencer you are interested in and see what they’ve enjoyed reading!
Currently, I’m reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer about a young boy entranced by the wonders of Alaska. He leaves everything and dies shortly after exploring the Alaskan wilderness on his own. Krakauer uses his journalist perspective to tell the story.
Keep a journal or create a vision board
Finally, keeping a journal or creating a vision board can help you keep track of significant things in your life that have happened, but also to plan for things that you want to happen in the future.
As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy keeping a bullet journal to help me organize my life, but also to note important parts of my life. I put tickets from movies I’ve seen, plan for Christmas gifts, and keep my gratitude list in my bullet journal, in addition to planning my every day to-do’s. My Bullet Journal Pinterest board is a good example of a vision board for how I want my bullet journal to look, and how you might start your own bullet journal if you’re interested in doing so.
I am currently using a regular lined notebook because I bought it on deep sale earlier this year, but next year, I’ll be purchasing this notebook for my bullet journal. I like the grid lined formatting, back pocket for loose pages and stickers, and the pen holder.
Keeping a journal, regardless of if it’s a bullet journal, can be a good mindfulness activity and a way to invoke a therapeutic narrative in your life – a way to tell YOUR story.
What Will Your Ideal Self Care Routine Look Like?
Will you include any of the suggested activities? In what manner will your organize your routine?
When you create your ideal self care routine you can improve your holistic health by preparing and replenishing your mind and body for the stresses of each day. You won’t have to wait for a day off or a vacation to feel rejuvenated and re-energized. Take a moment today and intentionally create your ideal routine.
Disclaimer: Although I am a mental health professional, I am not YOUR mental health professional. The information provided on this website is for educational and informational purposes only and using this website does not establish a counselor-client relationship, or constitute provision of mental health services. I am not responsible for any damages resulting from your use of the content on this site, as the information provided does not substitute for collaboration with a health professional. Please consult with your health professional before making changes to your health regimen.
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Lat Updated: September 16, 2020