Do you find yourself saying that you are too busy to slow down and take care of yourself? Maybe you find yourself spending more and more time at the office and focusing on the overwhelming to-do lists you often give yourself. You have probably heard about self-care and even know that it’s important when it comes to helping prevent burn out and self-destructive behaviors, but somehow, it’s still often forgotten and neglected as an essential part of your life. If this resonates with you at the deepest level, then read on.
Whether you have an hour or even just a few minutes each day to dedicate to a little self-care, it’s time to finally make it a part of your daily routine. We have created the self-care tool kit below to make it easier for you to rest and relax and take care of yourself. This tool kit includes self-care for the mind, body, and soul and offers simple yet key tactics to help you care for yourself and slow down.
First, we delve into the mind and what it needs most. That phrase “stop and smell the roses” comes to mind and is a great start to bringing self-care practices into your life that are targeted towards your mind. Many of us find ourselves on autopilot while we do our daily tasks, such as brushing our teeth, making our morning coffee, and even driving to work. Take these moments and pay attention to the task at hand and consider how you are feeling in that moment and think about the sensations you are experiencing. We also recommend starting your day off right by reading something inspirational. It can be a quick chapter of one of your favorite books or even an article you came across one day that you promised yourself you would read when you had the time. Many of these things can be done easily between tasks, including spending 10 minutes to declutter. Clutter in our homes, in our offices, and even in our cars can take up mental focus and make our minds feel clouded. Take just 10 minutes each day to tidy up your desk, gather up loose things in your car, or clean the kitchen to help put your mind at ease.
While self-care has a deep impact on our minds, it also affects our physical body as well. One of the most important things you can do as self-care for your body is to get a full night’s sleep. Put the electronics away and try and clear your mind for a half hour before bed to help you get the rest you need. It’s also important to include about 30 minutes of physical activity during your day and making sure your body is well nourished. If you are finding yourself struggling to maintain self-care for your body, then consider adding a small self-care item to your routine each week. If you don’t eat well, it’s great to take slow steps. That might mean reminding yourself to eat regularly, drinking more water, or avoiding snacking at your desk. Self-care is all about you, so do what works best for you.
Self-care for your mind and body often reflects the self-care you have done for your soul. Taking care of your soul is just as important but is quite often the most neglected self-care and sometimes comes with the stigma that it doesn’t work or isn’t worth the time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Taking a few minutes each day to write in a journal is one of the best self-care practices. Not sure what to write? Consider starting your day with a gratitude journal and just focus on listing three things you are grateful for that day. Other mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation are also great for the soul and bring you back to center while helping you focus better. Another great self-care practice for your soul is speaking to someone and allowing your thoughts to be shared. This can be with a friend or loved one or it can be with a therapist who can guide you and help you make sense of your emotions and thoughts.
Self-care is not hard if you take it one step at a time. It can be overwhelming to feel the need to add so many new practices to your life, but it’s best to just start with one or two at first. Taking care of yourself will help you to feel more at peace and it can even improve your productivity and overall enjoyment of life. Use this tool kit as your guide and consider creating a physical tool kit if that makes it easier to follow. Depending on what self-care you plan to try you can create a small tool kit next to your bed that includes a journal and pen, an eye mask for restful sleep, and a bottle water along with healthy snacks or something that resonates with your new self-care goals. Whatever makes your self-care journey easier to accomplish is the way to go. You’ve got this and we are behind you all the way.
(2015) Bush, A. D. Simple self-care for therapists: Restorative practices to weave through your workday. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.