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How to Create a Self-Care Routine

Mary-Lauren O’Crowley, NCC, LPC 

Self-care is all about a daily routine that you follow and that ultimately helps you take care of yourself and keep your mental and physical health manageable. You may already feel motivated to implement a self-care routine, but simply understanding the importance of self-care is one thing and actually finding the time to put it into practice is another. For that, you must know and understand certain aspects of the self-care routine.

How to create and stick to a self-care routine

In order to start a self-care routine, you must understand what self-care is and what is not. The common denominator of a self-care routine is that you get some enjoyment and relief out of the activity. Here is a 5-step approach to developing a great self-care routine: 

  • Find what makes you more centered and focused, as self-care is not one size fits all. Everyone may have variable choices of things that make them happy, whether it is a color, a smell, or an activity.
  • Brainstorm and think of ways how you can incorporate these things into your daily life routine. Start by small steps like adding a color or smell you like, and then add activities gradually after every one or two weeks in your routine.
  • The next step is to set goals for incorporating these self-care behaviors in your daily life, as after you decide what self-care to stick to, you must come up with some goals and deadlines for how often and when. Be realistic and take baby steps, instead of pushing yourself once and all, as this will help you progress more by measuring your goals in the future, and after that, setting up more challenging goals. 
  • After a week, evaluate the results and how much improvement has occurred in your better feelings and positive health, then use this as a motivation to stick to the self-care routine for the rest of your life. 
  • As you progress, adjust and boost your approach gradually, as self-care requires trial and error.

More self-care means more self-awareness, which means self-love and will ripple out from others you meet daily in the form of compassion, kindness, and gratitude. 

  The most common barrier to self-care is actually finding motivation for starting and following it. It feels great to know and read about self-care and decide to start it the next day, but then the real day goes unchanged from your normal days. You may get caught in this cycle of lack of motivation many times in your self-care journey. You may feel it useless or boring to follow the routine, or you may feel relaxed skipping for a day, but all these are due to a lack of real motivation and well-set goals. 

 How to actually stick to physical and mental self-care

As many people often suffer from a lack of motivation in self-care, it is important to map out a self-care plan that you will actually stick to. You must first acknowledge that there are various benefits of a self-care routine, such as a reduction in stress and anxiety, improvement in mood and productivity, pain relief, and an increase in self-acceptance and self-awareness. For that, first of all, determine the right self-care activities for you, and figure out what’s been holding you back. Then build self-care into your schedule, set self-care goals, work on building sustainable habits, and focus on your own self-care habits. You must also try to be more forgiving and patient with yourself. Sometimes, doing self-care with friends and family also helps to stick to it properly. 

If you or someone you know is struggling to implement sustainable healthy habits, please reach out to the intake specialists at Symmetry Counseling today!

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