Updated: May 23, 2020
My discovery and appreciation for self-care came out of my need to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Since building up a routine, I’ve incorporated many of my practices - like asking for help and creating to- ‘due’ lists- into my personal life and daily schedule.
Read on for seven self-care practices for every day of the week.
1. Start Your Day With a To - 'Due' List
Simply put, a to-due list is a to-do-list with due dates and/or priority levels. Starting your day with a to-due list will jumpstart your productivity for the day and allow you to be selective about additional tasks you take on throughout the day and week.
Do not rush through creating your to due list. Try to spend about 15-20 minutes with your list to plan out your day. Start by jotting down all of the tasks you need to complete, go through your calendar to see what you have scheduled, and set due dates and priorities levels to each task.
Lastly, be sure to make your list easily accessible at all times. This can be tasks jotted down in a journal, on a google doc, or notes in your phone.
I use Trello to organize and manage my work and personal life. The app allows me to see what upcoming (and outstanding) tasks I have for my clients, my blog, and personal life.
Check-out their Ultimate To-Do List and 7 Inspiring Templates For Productivity To Parenting & More.
2. Set A Do Not Disturb Alarm(s)
A detox from technology and tuning out can significantly improve your mental health and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.
Spending the first or last hours of your day off your phone can help give you the much-needed jolt for your self-care.
I set both morning and evening do not disturb alarms as part of my self-care routine. I find that powering off in the morning helps me avoid distractions and interruptions at work, and my night-time alarms help me decompress before bed.
For some people, powering down can make your anxiety or stress levels worse. A few suggestions to help you transition to this practice:
Turn on do not disturb for the least busy times of your day and ease into longer or different time frames.
Silence your phone calls and notifications. This will allow notifications to come through, but will not immediately demand your attention because of the no-sound alarm.
Only allow calls from your favorites or specific contact groups
Allow repeated callers to get through (if your phone setting allows).
3. Say No
One of the best things that I embraced in my late twenties is that, no is a full sentence. Before this, I would often say no with a weird (sometimes false) add-on or justification.
Saying yes, even to small things, gave me a sense of responsibility, duty, and importance. However, it also created anxiety, added stress, and a feeling of powerlessness, ultimately taking a toll on my mental health and quality of my work.With practice, I learned to say no and stop overextending myself.
Saying no, may take a lot of practice, but once you learn how to say no, you will feel more empowered, and have more time for your self-care.
If you are unsure or having issues saying no at work, check out Why, When and How to Say No at Work.
4. Complain With Solutions
Complaining offers a number of immediate gratifications.
When used as a coping mechanism, it can help us deal with unpleasant and unwanted circumstances. Venting and letting out our frustration can help relieve tension when dealing with difficult situations. Lastly, hearing your friend, coworker, or family member validate your frustration feels like a heavy lift off of your shoulders.
However, when circumstances are continually out of your control, like during a pandemic or in a fast-paced work environment, complaining can sneakily leak negativity in your life, cause you to become angrier and more stressed, and prolong your pessimistic outlook and attitude.
Complaining with the focus of resolving an issue or grievance will help you channel your needs into actionable actions. This is crucial for self-care and is directly tied to positive self-awareness and mindfulness.
5. Ask For Help
The unfortunate reality is that we are constantly giving and helping others - without asking for help, we do not get the inflow of resources to stay on top of our personal or professional responsibilities. Declining to asking for help will ultimately deplete your energy, put you at risk of burnout, and cause you to miss out on valuable opportunities to learn and advance and precious moments with family and friends.
Ask for help! It is not a sign of weakness, and is the most courageous act of self-care.
6. Schedule Routine Emotional Check-Ins With Yourself
With a work and personal life of competing priorities, scheduling regular check-ins to assess my mental state has become a staple of my self-care routine. Emotional check-ins help me proactively manage my self-care and alert me of periods of increased anxiety and stress levels.
Check in with yourself at the end of the day or each week by asking yourself:
How am I feeling? What is causing this feeling?
Have there been changes in my sleep pattern?
Was there a reaction/behavior I was not proud of this week?
What consumed my thoughts the most this week?
Slowing down and coming back to yourself will help you spot heightened emotions and make informed and emotionally grounded decisions on readjusting.
Check out Amber Rae Instagram for fun daily, weekly, and monthly check-in templates. Her templates were my first introduction to routine, emotional check-ins and have transformed my self-care rituals.
7. Commit to Doing Something For Yourself Everyday
With such busy work and personal schedules, we can forget to make time for ourselves. Left unchecked, this can have a negative impact on one's mental health. To help get ahead of this, commit to completing one thing for yourself every day.
The action does not have to be an extravagant indulgence, and this will look different for each person and likely change based on your schedule.
Some examples of what this may look like:
Making your bed
Saying a morning affirmation to begin your day
Going for a run
Making yourself a smoothie
My job and personal life typically demand support and help for others, so I prefer to complete my action at the beginning of each day. Doing something for myself at the beginning of each day helps me to prioritize my self-care and gives me a higher sense of self-love.
It's time to schedule yourself in just like you would anyone else!