In the early days of quarantine, self care became a non-negotiable for keeping our mental health in check. People flocked to digital workouts, baked enough banana bread to last them until 2021, and dedicated substantial amounts of time to resetting their skin-care routines. Now that we’ve been living the pandemic life for six-plus months, though, many of us aren’t quite feeling the same motivation to prioritize our well being as we did back in March.
But self care is still just as important as it was when the world was on lockdown, which means it’s still worth taking the time to incorporate it into your everyday life. The key? Finding enjoyable routines you can stick to in the long haul. Read on for some fun self-care tips that will help keep inspiration coming, and allow you to integrate sustainable self-care habits throughout your week.
4 self-care tips to help you carve out a sustainable routine
1. Define what self care means to you
Before diving into any actionable self-care tips, start off by asking yourself: What is self care to you? What are the daily rituals you’re already doing to support you in feeling nourished, well-rested, and healthy? Maybe it’s a Zoom call with your friends, or the playlist you listen to every morning to help jumpstart your day. If it makes you feel good, it counts as self care. Start by acknowledging what you’re already doing that is working in your life, and from there continue to grow your practice. The beauty of self care is it doesn’t have to look a particular way—you can define it for yourself.
2. Take 10 minutes
Who would’ve thought that some of us are even busier working from home than we were in the pre-pandemic era? That hour that should be devoted to taking care of yourself can easily fill up with emails and meetings, and before you know it, the day is over. Try committing at least 10 minutes a day to your self-care practice. By the end of the week, you’ll have dedicated at least 70 minutes to yourself, and that all adds up. As you continue to grow your self-care habits, you can build on them from day to day. For example, when COVID initially happened, I felt trapped in my tiny studio apartment and committed to walking at least one mile every day. The act of putting one foot in front of the other gave me the time to clear my mind and get a few minutes of fresh air. Since then, my practice has continued to grow, and I’m now walking at least 3.5 miles nearly every day. Starting small and working my way up helped ensure that the practice became an integral part of my routine, and can be applied to whatever sort of self care works for you.
3. Embrace activities you enjoy
The key with self care is to try something that you actually like to do, whether that means dusting off your old yoga pants or trying dance class to get your groove back. Movement can be an exciting way to boost your self-care practice, and not every workout needs to be high intensity. Some days you may feel like taking a HIIT class while other days are reserved for a restorative stretch class—either way, your body will thank you. Get creative, and most importantly, have fun.
4. Let go
Take a moment to evaluate the role you’re playing in supporting or interrupting your self-care practice. Is there a particular routine that you need to let go of? This is an opportunity to be both gentle and real with ourselves about what’s showing up in our lives, which means asking yourself if there’s an opportunity to do less in one area to make room in another. Collectively, we are experiencing so much uncertainty, and we must give ourselves permission for our self-care practice to look different or change over time. In one season of our lives, we can find ourselves inspired by high-intensity workouts and in another season we may be called to take more walks and rest. The goal of our self-care practices is to ground us, not stress us out. Continually checking in with your needs allows you to determine what’s best for you in these times. As you create space for new possibilities and let go, it’s important to be kind to yourself and honor where you are in the present. When we allow ourselves to be in the moment, we choose words and actions that align with what our bodies need. And remember: It’s a continual practice.
Need more self-care tips? Check out the video below to see how one editor uses her practice to prioritize mental health.
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