The Ultimate Self-Care Guide

“You can’t pour from an empty cup”

Raise your virtual hand if this is familiar: No time for yourself. Too often the first thing to be pushed aside when life gets too demanding is caring for ourselves. We stop exercising because we don’t have the time, we order in (usually those devilish comfort foods) because we are too tired to cook, and we give up treating ourselves to time out or those fun and uplifting things we look forward to.

Stress levels hit the roof and send us gifts of irritability, sadness, and a good dose of the overwhelms.  I think we would all prefer gifts of calmness, happiness, and good health, right? 

What exactly is Self-Care??

It is all those things we do for ourselves to keep shining on the inside and outside. Eating nourishing food, moving your body so it gets a good dose of those euphoric endorphins, finding time to do FUN stuff. It is about doing nice things for YOU. Caring for your body, mind, and soul on a regular basis. Not pushing yourself to the back of the line.

Self-care should be part of your daily routine, and I also recommend making time on a weekly, and monthly basis to do some extra special things for yourself.

The easiest way to add a self-care routine if you don't have one (or if it is sporadic), is to MAKE TIME. Easier said than done, I know. We are full of excuses: We are all super busy. There will always be demands of our time. There aren't enough hours in the day. Or we promise ourselves that we will do it when we are less stressed, or busy. Reality check: That will never happen! 

Make a promise to yourself now that you will make time for de-stressing, rejuvenating and nourishing your mind, body, and soul. 

Put it in your planner just like you would any other appointment. If you have a family, it can be extra demanding to find the time for yourself; so a little creative thinking might be needed. Ask your partner if they can look after the kids once a week for an hour or 2. Or, find a friend who has kids and alternate babysitting duties. If you have older kids explain to them that you need half an hour after dinner to yourself with no interruptions.

An example of a self-care routine:

Daily:

  • Meditating before bed (even 5 minutes has amazing benefits)
  • Eating nourishing meals
  • Exercising
  • Napping
  • Listen to an uplifting podcast on the way to work

 

Weekly:

  • Taking a long bath with essential oils
  • Sit outside in nature: picnic in the park or walk on the beach
  • Meal planning so your next week's meals are organized

 

Monthly:

  • Have a massage
  • Plan a fun adventure with a friend: see a new museum or art gallery, try a new restaurant or coffee shop

If you need some fresh ideas to add to your routine, read on! Start slowly and add more as you become a Self-Care Professional.

♥  Every time you receive a compliment (no matter how small you think it is), write it in a journal.  You can look at your little collection of love from other people whenever you need a lift.

♥  Read an inspirational biography about a woman who you admire.

♥  Who are your favorite inspiring people? Write down the qualities you love about them and start trying them yourself. You will add your own unique twist to the mix! Think about HOW those qualities present: Do you admire someone’s effortless style? What can you do to create your own version of that style? Is it because they keep it simple, and wear classic styles? I love the pin-up style, but I don’t dress head to toe that way, instead I add a red lip or wear a pretty vintage dress. Or do you admire confidence in someone? Look at how they stand, their posture, and how they carry themselves. Start there and notice how different you feel when you hold your head high with your shoulders back. 

♥  Find some nature to recharge in.  Even if you live in a concrete jungle, you can connect by just looking up at the sky. See the beauty in the small things instead of noticing the littered streets or honking horns: A pretty colored leaf or a dandelion flower pushing up through the concrete. Try to get out into the forest, or go to the beach, or park regularly.  Science has proven that the energy is different out in nature. Those little ions do magical things! ever notice how good you feel after a day at the beach or in a forest? Ions!! (Funnily enough it is the negative ions that do the magic to make us feel so positive!). 

Take a seat and breathe

Take a seat and breathe

♥  Meditate: it changes your brain. It decreases the size of the amygdala, which is responsible for fear/anxiety/stress. Just 5 minutes of meditation each day can make a difference to how you feel. (And look at your face after a meditation..wow! Instant 5 years off.)

♥  For those who want to ease into meditation: try coloring! There are so many gorgeous books out there, and it really is like meditating. All that focus shuts off the chaos in the brain. Or try knitting. 

♥  Consider changing what magazines you read: do you feel good after reading them? Do you compare yourself to the so-called “perfection”? Even though most of us are aware of the magic power of filters and photoshop, the perfect images can still play on our self-esteem. Find uplifting versions to feed your mind and soul. 

♥  Watch your favorite “feel-good” movie.

♥  Cook a nourishing meal that tastes better than anything you can order in. Find a new recipe online, or treat yourself to a new cookbook.

♥  Buy some brightly colored flowers each week.

♥  Create a fun music playlist. Keep it upbeat with music that makes you happy.

♥  Make a promise to yourself that you will only fill your body with real food that is nourishing, and vow to cut out processed and artificial food. Take it slowly; it doesn’t have to be all at once. 

♥  Call a good friend when you are sad, even if you don’t feel like talking. It always works! 

♥  Talking about friends: choose them wisely. Do they make you feel good, and uplifted? Or are they always complaining and negative? You are the sum of the 5 people you are around most.

♥  Keep a list of all the fun things you have done this year. Look back on it to be inspired, remember the good times, and get a boost of fun! 

♥  Be a tourist in your own city. Book a tour, or go to a museum or art exhibition. Appreciate the fun things you have close by. 

♥  Volunteer: this is great when you are feeling low because helping others in need always uplifts. 

♥  Stay in bed ALL day and don’t you dare feel guilty for it. 

♥  Dance around like a crazy person to your favorite music.

♥  Soak in a warm, luxuriously scented bath. I love to add a can of coconut cream and 5 drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil (but get someone else to clean the bath afterward hehe).

♥  Give yourself a massage with some sweet smelling oils. Or some invigorating peppermint!

♥  Put on some red lips (or hot pink) and feel like a movie star. (You ARE a movie star btw…you are starring in your own movie every second of every day, so create the leading role you desire)

♥ Keep a journal. 

♥  Make a vision board: fill it with pictures and quotes and all things that inspire. (They work. Trust me. I’m waiting patiently for my house on a cliff top. I think the current owner is making sure the veggie garden is well-established for me) Or make one on Pinterest. (Oh how I LOVE my Pinterest!)

♥  Treat yourself to a massage: find a discounted one on Groupon or try a student clinic. Or take a course with your partner and learn how to give each other massages.

♥  Have a spa day at home: scrub/defuzz/primp and pamper til you GLOW.

♥  You know how we all have those comfy “at home so nobody will see me” clothes? Why not exchange the torn and sloppy ones for something that makes you feel beautiful? I swan around the house wearing vintage slips.

♥  Write up a meal plan for the next few weeks, and stick to it. Stress about eating isn’t conducive to feeling good!

♥  Learn to say NO so you can say YES to the things that you want. Life is too short.

♥  Move that body: don’t wanna leave the house? Do some jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, jogging on the spot etc. Or buy a DVD and do that when you feel like being cozy at home. Why? ENDORPHINS. Also known as feeling high on life. 

♥  Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love. Always. 

♥  Write down 10 things you are grateful for. Even the little things count! You will probably find you can keep going…and going… Keep it so you can refer to it.

♥  If you are lucky enough to have a garden, get out in it and soak up all that beautiful energy from the plants. Even weeding can be therapeutic. Or, just sit there and breathe. 

♥  Get a manicure or pedicure.

♥  Have your hair done. Try something new, or just have it blow-dried. 

♥  Ask for help. If you have children, ask your partner/friend/family member to look after the kids while you take some much-needed time out. Then return the favor another time. 

♥  Take a class and learn something new. 

♥  Make a list of fun things you want to do. Plan them.

♥  Find an inspiring and motivating podcast.

Rachael’s Little Pink Book of Resources

Coloring Books:

I am an Amazon Addict, but you can find them in stores too. This is one that I use: The Secret Garden. I use Gel pens because they have a fine tip.

Magazines:

Free digital subscription: http://www.aspiremag.net/

Darling magazine: http://darlingmagazine.org/

Online learning: 

https://www.duolingo.com/
Learn a language for free!!! 

http://ed.ted.com/lessons

https://www.coursera.org/
Take a course from top universities and organizations. Free access, but you can pay if you prefer to receive a certificate. 

Feel-good Movies:

♥    Stardust
♥    The Devil Wears Prada
♥    Meet the Fockers
♥    50 First Dates
♥    Sex and the city reruns
♥    Forrest Gump
♥    The Holiday
♥    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
♥    Bridget Jone’s Diary
♥    Dirty Dancing

Cool Podcasts

♥    Zen Habits
♥    A Quiet Mind
♥    The Greater Good
♥    The Daily Boost
♥    Ted Talks
♥    The Lively Show by Jess Lively
♥    The Happier Podcast

Meditation Apps:

♥    Take a break
♥    Smiling Mind
♥    Mindfulness App

What other Self-Care ideas do you have? Feel free to share below in the comments!