Did you know that 80 percent of Americans plan to practice self-care this year? That's so inspiring, and we want to help you succeed in your journey because the one thing that will get in the way of a consistent self-care routine is self-care ideas.
In today's blog post, we take a deep dive into the benefits of taking care of yourself (some will surprise you), and we laid out the best self-care ideas for you based on the amount of time you have. Stick around till the end because we're going to help you take what you've learned and create a 30-day self-care plan that fits your lifestyle.
Why Is Self-Care Such A Big Deal?
The idea of taking time to care for yourself caught the attention of medical professionals when they saw the direct correlation between overworked, stressed-out patients and the rise of physiological and psychological disorders.
It was the era when Americans glorified work and set into motion the unrealistic standard that if you were not busy 99 percent of the time, you'd be perceived as unsuccessful.
The beautiful pushback from the hustle-hard mindset has empowered us to take charge of our health, and you'll discover simple practices start implement today.
Why Do I Struggle With Self-Care If It's Important?
There are a few reasons why you struggle to maintain good care habits. A primary reason is because you have too much on your plate, and you feel guilty taking time away from your responsibilities.
The second reason is thanks to another societal message that says you should be able to do all things for all people at all times and look good doing it. And the only reason you still believe this is possible in 2022; social media.
Anytime you want, you can pick up your phone and peek into someone else's filtered life and see them doing all the things and looking perfect doing it. Even though you tell yourself, it's a snapshot and not reality, your subconscious internalizes it differently. You see them in their perfect outfits, doing all the things, not looking rundown, and you feel like you need to do more, not take a break to relax.
You Get A Bigger Dopamine Rush Helping Others Or Getting Things Done
The third reason why you struggle doing things for yourself is because it feels better helping someone else or even crossing something off your list, than it does to care for yourself.
Scientists hooked people up to functioning MRIs and watched their brains release more dopamine (our feel-good hormone) flood their brain when they helped someone else or whittled down their to-do list, versus taking time for themselves.
So not only are you fighting some pretty big societal messages not you have biological system not on your side! See why sometimes it feels like staying consistent on your plan is an uphill battle?
Self-Care Isn't Selfish; It's A Necessity
That should be plastered on Pinterest; because, in reality, you're not the best version of yourself when you run on fumes.
Taking a break from responsibilities allows you to recharge and reconnect to the reasons why you are working so hard, your family, and things you're passionate about.
How Has COVID Impacted Self-Care?
The pandemic has impacted us in grave and beautiful ways. One massive benefit from this global pandemic has been slowing everyone down to realize that being busy all the time is not living and self-care is essential for a happy life.
What Types Of Self-Care Are There?
Emotional self-care is about looking within and acknowledging your feelings, practicing gratitude, setting boundaries, and practicing self-compassion. In a little bit we'll look at the importance of boundary setting and why they are often missed when discussing care ideas.
Scientists proved that taking care of your mind increases confidence, satisfaction with life, and success at navigating daily stressors. Psychological self-care is about learning new coping strategies for dealing with curveballs and preventing feelings of depression. It also includes activities that are effective in reducing anxiety and that help you manage external pressures.
One of the best care tips that should be at the top of your self-care list is breathwork. Once you master breathing, you can navigate through pretty dicey waters.
Your breath determines how fast your heart beats and based on how many times your heart beats per minute, that determines what parts of your brain fire. And that, in turn, decides what hormones and chemicals are released into your body and inevitably how you will feel.
Self-care is often associated with a bubble bath, sheet mask, and of course, candles flickering in the background.
Although those activities are unique, we can't forget to take care of other aspects of our body like regular physical exercise, proper nutrition, and quality sleep. When we care for our physical health we feel good in the present and ward off preventable illnesses.
Why Is Self-Care Important For Mental Health?
Your mind will stay in a constant state of motion if you allow it. Doing something for yourself forces your brain to turn off work mode, step back and process your emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
Take Time To See If You're On The Right Path
Incredible things happen when you slow down your brain. One is it allows you to check in on your level of contentment with your life. When you pause and look up from the daily grind, you can ask yourself, Am I happy? And you can make sure your daily choices align with your core values and goals.
A midlife crisis generally occurs when someone hasn't taken the time to pause the grind mode, and has gotten so far off their path he doesn't recognize who they are anymore.
How Can Self-Care Lower Anxiety?
To look at how self-care can lower anxiety, you need to understand what anxiety is. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, or unease about an upcoming situation.
When you're overwhelmed or anxious, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Self-care allows you to put your worries on hold and slow down your mind to clear your head. Once your mind slows the thoughts from racing, you can prioritize what things you can control and what you cannot.
What If I Can't Shut Off My Mind?
If you're unable to slow down your thoughts and you have trouble sleeping because your brain doesn't stop, contact a qualified professional in your area. There are many ways to help, and sometimes it takes fresh eyes to give new ideas.
Can Self-Care Reduce Stress Hormone Cortisol?
When we take the time to relax and recharge, our minds and bodies can function better. Cortisol is released when we are under pressure. Cortisol is like Advil; it's meant to be used sparingly and only when you really need it. However, since our society has rewarded exhaustion; cortisol has taken up permanent residence in many of our bodies, which is not good.
What Does Chronic Stress Do To Your Body?
Chronic stress is the leading cause of health issues in today's society, and it can lead to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and many other illnesses. Having cortisol in your bloodstream constantly causes premature aging and weight to accumulate in your midsection.
Cortisol is a superhero hormone designed to help you flee from dangerous situations, not help you get through your daily to-do lists. So it is essential to find ways to manage pressure and take care of yourself.
Can Boundaries Be A Form Of Self-Care?
Yes! Part of self-care is saying no to some things, so you have the time to say yes to yourself. It requires you to set boundaries.
What Types Of Boundaries Are There?
There are several types of boundaries from psychological to social, but for the sake of this article, we will limit them to the core three:
Boundaries Around Work/Home
In a world where money means more than your health, you must have boundaries around how much work gets to rule your life. For example, do you check work emails at home, do you have the ability to check your work email on your phone? Can work contact you during non-work hours when you are not paid extra for this inconvenience?
Boundaries Around Your Immediate Family/Those Outside Your Family
Who gets to take away your time from your family? What an important question we all need to ask ourselves. For example, if it's essential to have family dinner three times a week, and you've decided that there are no outside interruptions during dinner, a boundary would be all phones are turned off or put on silent.
Boundaries Around What Brings You Joy/What Steals Your Joy
Think of three to five things that bring you joy in your daily life. Now think of the things that steal your joy, and as much as you can remove those things.
For example, let's say you love to read, which fills your cup. However, you got into the habit of picking up your phone when you have a break in your day, and that dang comparison game, on social media, steals your joy.
Break that bad habit by choosing one or two times a day to purposefully check social media (for some time and set a timer). Then when you have some spare time pick up your book and fill your bucket with things that matter to you versus the meaningless scroll.
How Does Self-Care Impact Physical Health?
It impacts physical health in huge ways because it helps you build resiliency. When you take care of yourself, you ward off possible illness and disease from entering your body.
Self-care gives our bodies time to rest, which is why we often feel better after self-care activities than before them. We also become more aware of changes in our bodies, and it helps us tune into signals that something may be wrong. Caring for yourself can also lower blood pressure and reduce chronic pain symptoms over time.
Why Do I Struggle Coming Up With Self-Care Ideas?
Coming up with self-care ideas is like asking yourself, what's for dinner? And when you're exhausted and ready for the day to be done, you just want someone to tell you what to make.
It's the same way with self-care ideas; they are hard to come up with, and your brain is shot, so thinking of one more thing to try to do is not going to happen.
So what do we do when we have five minutes or a luxurious 60? Grab our phones! When you look up from your phone, you don't feel revitalized and refreshed like you just took a walk outside or nourished yourself in some other way. We feel meh.
That's why today, you'll have the best self-care tips to come up with a self-care plan that will fit your lifestyle. That way, the phone can stay put, and you can reap the rewards from those precious free moments in your day.
Self-Care For Moms
When you become a mother, your brain automatically becomes hyper-focused on your baby. You don't even get a backseat in the car, and that's how far off your radar you become. And this is the time you need to give extra time to yourself.
The best thing I ever did was get an accountability partner. Another mom to help hold me accountable. Even if it was to see if I showered that day or took a walk around the block, it was a lifesaver to have someone in the same boat as me.
If you're struggling to find a mom friend, check out your community education center; they typically have parent and baby classes.
Self-Care For Dads
There's a societal standard that men need to provide or they are not worthy of a good life. I know this is slowly changing. However, it's still there, and men feel that.
At the same time, children need their fathers to be in their lives interacting with them daily. It means fathers can't be off working constantly and then come home and be expected to be in a good mood and play with the kids instantly without some downtime for themselves. Dads need their daily care routine as well.
Self-Care For Kids
Self-care for kids is vital. Think of everything going on in their little bodies from growing, learning, mastery of skills, and more. Research shows that self-care activities can teach children to be independent, compassionate towards others, and resilient.
It allows your child the space they need to process their emotions and thoughts so that they don't have a temper tantrum at the grocery store or a meltdown when it's time to head back to school. And when you have a self-care routine that you enjoy together, it can be a memorable bonding experience between you and your child.
Best Self-Care Ideas: To Do With Your Kids
You can do so many ideas as a family to incorporate self-care into your everyday lives. You can go on daily walks together, have scheduled breaks from technology, family dinners, and have a recreational hobby that you all enjoy.
One of my favorite self-care ideas is sharing our highs of the day around the dinner table. It's an activity that promotes reflection, gratitude and slows us down.
Some other ideas would be to dance with your kids, cook healthy meals with them, try new things, or have a reading time where you read as a family.
What To Do When You Have No Time To Practice Self-Care?
I challenge you to track where you spend your time for the next three days. When you have five minutes, what do you do? Track your phone usage and see which application you spend the most time on.
I bet you will find that you have time sprinkled like confetti throughout your day. And like we have mentioned, self-care doesn't need to be this long-drawn-out thing; it can be a five-minute meditation, a walk around the block, or as easy as reading one chapter of your book.
How To Prioritize Self-Care?
You prioritize caring for yourself by changing how you look at self-care. It's not a luxury; it's a necessity. For example, if you had a health scare and the doctor gave you an exercise regimen to follow to lower your risk factor for a heart attack, you would make that a priority. Self-care needs to be at that level.
Some days you will give yourself two blocks of five minutes, and other days you will have time to go for a walk with a friend. Self-care is fluid, and it fits into your schedule as you need it. With that said, let's get starting with ideas based on how much time you have.
Best Self-Care Ideas: When You Have Five Minutes
If you have a break from work, or you're waiting to pick up your daughter from dance, rather than pick up your phone, choose one of these activities:
- Take some deep breaths
- Get up and stretch your body
- Listen to your favorite music
- Name three things that you're grateful for
- Fill your water bottle
- Do something that makes you laugh
- Text someone you love
- Hug someone you love
- Drink a glass of lemon water
- Donate to a charity
- End your shower on cold
- Dance to your favorite song
- Ask someone for help
- Watch the clouds or listen to the birds
- Start a worry list to get out of your head
- Think about something you're looking forward to (an Amazon package or a visit with a friend)
- Get outside for some fresh air
- Do absolutely nothing for five minutes
- Apply your favorite essential oils
- Buy yourself a fun treat
- Practice positive self talk
Best Self-Care Ideas: When You Have 15 Minutes
A lot of good things can happen in 15-minutes. You can give yourself a facial, declutter your space, or make yourself a cup of tea. Here are some more fabulous ideas:
- Read a chapter of your book
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle
- Write down your three highs of the day
- Read some positive affirmations
- Make a homemade face mask
- Buy yourself flowers
- Write five things you love about yourself
- Make a bucket list for the season
- Declutter 10 things
- Drink a cup of herbal tea
- Plan a date night
- Get out in the sunshine
- Look through fun photos
- Watch the sunrise
- Write someone a letter and snail mail it
- Unfollow toxic people on social media
- Tidy up your desk
- Come up with a new morning routine
- Plan a family night
- Get take out for dinner (easy clean up)
- Research a healthy snack
- Sit outside, don't do anything but sit
- Plan for a mental health day
- Create a relaxing evening routine
- Go for a leisurely walk around the block
Best Self-Care Ideas: When You Have 30 Minutes
You managed to get 30 free minutes all to yourself, now go through the list below and pick one activity to fill your bucket:
- Take a hot bath with candles and Epson salts
- Light your favorite candle
- Clear out your inbox
- Practice a yoga flow
- Snuggle your four-legged friend
- Walk-in nature
- Paint with watercolors
- Color in an adult coloring book
- Take a nap
- Declutter a drawer
- Watch your favorite show
- Sit by the water
- Make a salad
- Plan a spa day
- Watch a motivational Ted Talk
- Go out and grab a special coffee
- Plan a day to unplug
- Spend one on one time with your kids
- Go for a bike ride
- Establish a comforting night routine
- Buy someone you love a gift and ship it right to them
Best Self-Care Ideas: When You Have 60 Minutes
The elusive free hour is yours for the taking; congratulations! You deserve to take your time and enjoy every second. Below you will find a healthy list of ideas to choose from:
- Declutter your closet
- Get a massage
- Plan a getaway
- Make a vision board for the next 6-12 months
- Visit with your BFF on the phone or in-person
- Do something for the first time, like paddleboarding
- Listen to your favorite podcast
- Research a new hobby
- Spend time with someone that inspires you
- Cook your favorite meal
- Research home cleaners and hire someone to come in 1-2 times a month
- Do a digital detox
- Go to your happy place
- Get dressed up and put on makeup
- Listen to an audiobook
- Give yourself (or get) a pedicure
- Do creative art
- Rearrange a room in your home
- Bake a treat
- Visit your local farmers market
- Go on a picnic
- Visit your library
- Meet a friend for morning coffee
What Are 10 Self-Care Activities To Do As A Couple?
We all need to do self-care for ourselves, but it's also a great thing to do as a couple. It helps us bond, stay connected, and keeps us on a healthy path:
- Go for a walk
- Lift weights
- Have a picnic
- Learn something new together
- Take a phone break
- Read a book together
- Couples massage
- Try a new facial together
- Cook a healthy dinner
- Go to bed early and sleep for 8 hours
What Are Three Pro Self-Care Tips?
Self-care is defined as doing something deliberately to care for your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Self-Care Tip #1
Treat yourself to your favorite food or beverage is one of the easiest ways to care for yourself. You take time out of your day to go and purchase something special just for you. Then you sit down and slowly enjoy. See how easy caring for yourself can be!
Self-Care Tip #2
Try new things. You get an endorphin rush when you try something new, making you feel good. It can be a new restaurant, a new coffee shop, cooking yourself a fresh cuisine, trying out a new activity, or maybe a DIY project.
Self-Care Tip #3
Spending time with an old friend or member of your family is excellent for your feeling of well being, spirit, and brain function. Whether you go out for coffee, take a walk around the park, or have a chat, hanging out with our loved ones is a great way to recharge.
How Do I Come Up With A 30-Day Self-Care Plan?
Now we have arrived at the fun part, coming up with your customized 30-Day self-care routine.
As you can see, implementing a self-care practice is a lot easier now that you know it can be as easy as a walk around the block.
Step One: Choose One 30-60 Minute Block Of Time In Your Week
You want to look at your week and pick one day where you have 30-60 minutes to spare. If you feel this is not possible, go through the exercise I laid out above, where you track your time for three days and look at your phone usage and what applications are getting the most of your time.
Let's say on Wednesday afternoons you have a free hour. You're going to block off that time as if you have a standing appointment and not is now your big self-care deposit. Then scroll up to the ideas list for 30 and 60 minutes and fill in your calendar for the month with what you will do each Wednesday afternoon.
Step Two: Choose Two 15-30 Minute Blocks Of Time In Your Week
Next, look at your week and pick two days where you have 15-30 minute chunks of time and block those off and do the same thing as explained above.
Step Three: Fill In The Remaining Days With Five-Minute Self-Care Breaks
Last, take the remaining days and fill in with five-minute breaks to do something for yourself that does not involve your phone or social media.
Step Four: Transfer These Blocks Into Your Calendar For The Week/Month
Now that you have your plan built out, it's time to commit to your routine. When you enter time blocks into your calendar, add the self-care activity you will do. That way, when the time comes to practice, there is no thinking; you take action.
The last step is based on your personality. If you function best with things laid out well in advance, you can plan out your whole 30 days. If you like some flexibility, take it one week at a time, knowing that you have committed to doing the full 30 days.
Practice Your Self-Care Routine For 30-Days
To be successful at any habit, you need to practice it for a minimum of 21 days. Why 21-days? It takes that long for your brain to create new neurons so that the new habit becomes your new normal. So let's get bonus points and do it for an entire month!
It's About You
And while you can't always afford to take a luxurious 60 minutes for yourself each day, there are plenty of quick and easy self-care ideas that will help you get back on track if your days have gone off-course or just need something extra special. Take some time today to choose one idea from this list to implement in your life. You deserve it!
For Additional Support: Join Our Candle Family
Self-care is one of our core company values. That's why we host monthly challenges and post regularly in our private facebook group Bella Vida Family about how to incorporate self-care into your busy life and encourage your to maintain a healthy practice. Join our family today and enjoy like minded people that will help you stay on track in 2022!