Self-care is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family. It directly impacts your happiness vitality, and it has the power to give you a longer life.
According to the International Self-Care Foundation, lifestyle diseases account for 63 percent of annual deaths worldwide. This astonishing number caught the attention of the World Health Organization, and they launched a self-care initiative that focuses on increased physical activity and healthy eating.
The significant action taken by the WHO validates the necessity to practice self-care, and the easiest way to do that is to have a plan that blends seamlessly into your daily life.
Today, you'll learn about the different types of self-care, build your plan, and have a plethora of self-care ideas categorized by the amount of time you have available. So let's get started!
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is the practice of hitting the pause button for your life and taking five minutes to make yourself a cup of tea, fifteen minutes to call a loved one, or getting outside and reconnecting with nature. It is the practice of deliberately taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Self-Care Is Like Self-Medication
You slow down to gauge your health, and then based on what you need, you sprinkle in this and that to make yourself feel whole again.
According to healthcare professionals, self-care has to be our top focus in our daily life. How we choose to eat, sleep, move our bodies, cope with stress, enjoy downtime, and socialize helps promote health and prevent disease.
Can Self-Care Really Do All That?
Yes. And when you take care of your own health, you can better care for others. You have more energy and resilience, and you are also more likely to feel happier and less stressed. All of these things make you a better friend, partner, parent, and person.
Are There Different Types Of Self-Care?
There are several types of self-care, but we'll focus on the core three, mental, emotional, and physical, for this article.
Research shows taking care of your mind increases confidence, satisfaction with life, and reduces stress. Psychological self-care is about learning healthy coping strategies that effectively reduce anxiety, help you manage stress, and promote overall self-awareness when you need to unplug and take a break.
Focus on this area of self-care if:
You're under a lot of pressure. That can be with your work; maybe you have a house full of kids, or an aging parent who needs more support. Making sure you choose activities that help you decompress will be crucial for your overall health.
Emotional self-care is about looking within and acknowledging your feelings, practicing gratitude, setting boundaries, and self-compassion. Regularly practicing self-care allows you to feel more confident managing your emotions during intense situations. This means fewer moments where you lose it in front of the kids and more times handling stress with ease.
Focus on this area of self-care if:
You have a lot going on where you are stretched too thin and burning your candle at both ends. Maybe you have a hard time saying no to people and you end up volunteering your time doing things that don't excite you.
Or you're a perfectionist, and you go over the top trying to make everyone around you happy, and you feel let down when things don't work out, or they don't react the way you thought they would. Choose a healthy amount of self-care activities that promote emotional health when building out your plan.
Physical self-care involves actively caring for your physical bodies. Healthcare providers encourage you to have a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and move your body daily to prevent illness and promote health.
Overall health and well-being start here, and it begins with how you treat your body. If you have your self-care plan, eat healthily, exercise regularly, and get the right amount of sleep, you have the building blocks to make sound decisions regarding the other forms of self-care.
Focus on this area of self-care if:
You are not sleeping well, meaning you can't fall or stay asleep. If you struggle with anxious feelings, exercise can help release extra energy. If you don't feel your best and want to feel stronger and more vital, adding more physical activity to your daily routine will improve your health.
Other Important Areas Of Self-Care
There are several areas of self-care that we won't dive into for the sake of time, but a couple are worth mentioning for your to look up on your own.
Social self-care. Make sure that you are connected to other individuals, families, and communities. That you have close relationships and people that you enjoy spending time with is how you take care of this area of your daily life.
Another one worth mentioning is spiritual self-care, the act of deliberately caring for your spiritual side through prayer, meditation, or some other form of connection with a higher power or divine source.
What Are The Main Benefits Of Self-Care?
There are many benefits to self-care. When you take time for yourself, you have a higher sense of pride, and you want to continue to make healthier choices in your daily life.
It's like the saying goes kindness begets more kindness. Investing time in yourself sends the message that you're valuable, something to be treasured, respected, and honored. And so, your subconscious moves through the day, making decisions based on this belief. Isn't that beautiful?
The main benefits include improved mental health, reduced stress levels, improved physical and emotional health, improved overall well-being, and enhanced relationships.
How To Build Your Easy Self-Care Plan In Three Simple Steps
Reading an article filled with ideas is excellent, but you're busy; you want someone to put together a plan so all you have to do is implement it.
Together let's build a self-care plan that you can stay consistent(ish) with based on the amount of time you have in your life. That way, you walk away today ready to start investing in yourself.
Grab our freebie below, print it out, and let's get started.
Step One: Choose One 30-60 Minute Block Of Time In Your Week
Everyone has more time than then they think. True or False? I believe this is true. However, there's a good chance you said false because you feel overworked. If you believe that you don't have time, I have an exercise for you before completing this first step.
Track where you spend your time for the next three days. When you have five minutes, what do you do? And at the end of each day, look at your phone usage graph (where it shows you how you've spent your time today) and make a note of which applications you spend the most time on and how much.
After the three days, I am confident that 100 percent of you will come back and complete this exercise. Okay, let's get back to step one.
Step One Continued:
Look at your week and pick one day where you have 30-60 minutes to spare and block out that time, as if you have a standing doctor's appointment. This is the day of the week where you will invest the biggest chunk of time into yourself.
Now look at the self-care ideas lists (below) and fill in your calendar with what you will do during that block of time.
Pat yourself on the back; you now have four days this month that you wouldn't otherwise have where you're going to invest in yourself!
I will walk you through the process of setting up my own self-care plan so you can see it in action.
Wednesday afternoons, I have a free hour, and I will block off that time as if I have a standing appointment with a healthcare provider. Next, I will choose an activity from the self-care ideas list. I picked two ideas, paint a craft project and a long walk on sunny days.
I added those to my calendar, and now I have four blocks of time to care for myself in the next 30 days.
Step Two: Choose Two 15-30 Minute Blocks Of Time In Your Week
We are on a roll. Next, look at your week and pick two days where you have 15-30 minute chunks of time and block those off as if you have important meetings.
Quick tip: You place perceived importance on these blocks of time; it helps prevent you from ditching dates with yourself, should something pop up.
After you find the two time periods, block off that time for the entire month and do the same thing explained above: fill in the self-care activity you will exercise during that time on those days.
You should now have a total 12 self-care blocks of time in your monthly calendar at this point: four 30-60 minute blocks and now eight 15-30 minute blocks.
I found time on Mondays and Saturdays that work best for 15-30 minute blocks of self-care time. I looked through the self-care ideas, and I would like to start reading again and continue walking outside.
Since my Monday block is 15 minutes, I plan to read during that time and walk on Saturday for 30 minutes. Now that I know the days and activities I'll do during my time block, I'll add these to my calendar.
Step Three: Fill In The Remaining Days With Five-Minute Self-Care Breaks
You are on fire and are already on the final step to building your own plan! The last step is to take the remaining days and fill them in with five-minute breaks to do something for yourself that does not involve your phone or an electronic.
Why? Because you probably do that now with your five-minute breaks, it's not good for your mental health or your health in general. So that's the rule, no electronics.
Once you see where you can sprinkle in these mini self-care breaks, block off the time and write the activity into your calendar that you'll do.
Now you should have a total of 28 self-care blocks scheduled in your monthly calendar: four 30-60 blocks, eight 15-30 minute blocks, and sixteen five minute blocks.
I have Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday to fill in yet for my calendar. I decided on Tuesdays to do a gratitude prayer before I start to work; Thursdays, I'll get up a stretch for five minutes; Fridays I'll make myself herbal tea; and Sundays, I'll stand outside and watch the clouds. Now that I know my days and activity, I'll transfer them to the calendar. The activities can change each week or make it simple and keep it the same.
Practice Your Self-Care Routine For 30-Days
Now that you have built your beautiful plan, all you have to do is practice self-care for the next 30 days. Research shows 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 give your neurons a little extra boost and go for the whole 30.
Self-Care Ideas: Based On The Amount Of Time You Have
Below you will find menus of self-care ideas based on the amount of time you have. Whether you have five minutes or a luxurious 60 each activity list is categorized based on time to make this as easy as possible for you.
Self-Care Ideas: If You Have Five Minutes To Yourself
Typically we grab our phones when we have a quick five minutes to spare but there are so many things we could so instead to maintain our health.
- 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
Self-Care Ideas: If You Have 15 Minutes To Yourself
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
Self-Care Ideas: If You Have 30 Minutes To Yourself
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
Self-Care Ideas: If You Have 60 Minutes To Yourself
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
Share Your Plan With Your Family And Friends
It can be helpful to share your self-care plan with your family and friends. This way, they can help you stick to it and support you. You may also want to ask them for ideas on things that help them take care of themselves. The goal is to create a supportive community around self-care.
What If I Mess Up And Miss A Scheduled Time?
Plan to mess up because life is messy. Have grace with yourself, stick to the plan the best you can, and when (not if) you mess up, pick up where you left off, and continue. The point is not to be perfect but to start actively practicing self-care.
You're Up: It's Time To Take Action!
The final step is taking action. Before you dive into creating your plan, take a break from your screen and pick one self-care idea to do right now. You will feel the benefits of caring for yourself immediately.
Then come back and start diving into the work of building out your 30-day self-care plan. Just think by this time next month, you will have deliberately taken time to care for your mind, body, and emotional health. I'm so excited about how good you're going to feel!
For Extra Support Join The Candle Family
If you enjoy laughing, tips on how to practice self-care, while managing your busy life, and of course candles, we invite you to join our Candle Family. We host monthly challenges, game nights, and post regularly in our private facebook group Bella Vida Family Join our family today and be surrounded by supportive positive people in 2022!