How To Build Habits Of Self Care

Self-care is more than a mantra or a saying, it’s a way of life. It’s daily deliberate actions that prioritize your well being and help you build self-confidence, self-awareness and self-compassion. As with anything, it takes time to build healthy habits and self-care is no different.

We are all busy people and it seems that finding time for ourselves always ends up at the bottom of the priority list.

Work, appointments, and everyone else seem to take precedence. But what if we cared for ourselves in the same way we care for others? Self-care should be a priority and not an afterthought, but how do we make that happen. We can’t just think this mental shift into existence.

Where to start
For me, the first step to building a life filled with self-compassion was determining why I wanted to make a change.  My first step was to throw myself into the practice of self-care. I read articles, sought out mentors and looked for tools to help build a daily self-care practice.

The next step was developing a list of activities that brought me joy and helped me recharge. Sometimes it was as simple as taking a bath and other times it was pushing through the discomfort of sitting with my thoughts to examine my fears and anxiety about life. Little by little I was able to build a list of activities that helped me care for myself beyond my physical health. Exercise and healthy eating were part of my whole life wellness, but I needed to go deeper to address my mental health.

Once I had that list of activities to choose from, I needed a method to hold me accountable and ensure I actually did the activities that I had deemed valuable. Something more pressing, or something more fun always seemed to get in the way.  I had to purposely find ways to schedule my self-care. Over the past two years, I have used various methods to track my habits and hold myself accountable. Tracking these metrics helps me also celebrate my progress and recognize impact of my actions.

What about when you have no time?
That’s where the self-care menu comes in. I have divided by menu into categories based on time so that even when I only have 5 or 10 minutes, there are options to choose from that meet my self-care goals.

Despite how far I have come, there are times when I let my self-care rituals fall to the wayside.
I notice that during these times, I am plagued with self-doubt and the negative self-talk takes over. My insecurities are heightened and anxiety threatens to derail my progress.  The scary part is how convincing that inner voice can be. You’re not good enough, you’re not pretty enough, you’re not skinny enough – the list goes on and on. I began to see a pattern though. The more time I dedicated to focusing on self-care, the quicker I was able to bounce back from this negative rhetoric. It was my self-awareness that made me stronger, and more capable of developing my confidence.

Armed with this knowledge I decided to make self-care my number one priority and I hope you will too. Self-care is  a frame of mind, an attitude and understanding that your body and mind are worth caring for. They are worthy of attention, care, and compassion. By taking preventative measures to incorporate self-care activities you will build resilience.

Mental resilience will in turn help you conquer the obstacles that life throws your way – loss, trauma, self-doubt or anxiety to name a few.

So now it’s time for a self-assessment and making a plan for your next steps. Are you currently making time for self-care? If not, why? What are the obstacles standing in your way? Take some time to determine where you want to go from here. If you decide to make self-care a priority in your life, get clear on why. Having an understanding of why you are making changes will help you stay motivated and give purpose to your self-reflection. So now, it’s time to get started. Don’t wait for the weekend, a holiday or that perfect instagram photo opportunity to take time for you. It’s a way of life and you can start today! You are worth it.
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