12 Tips for Developing Your Satisfying Self-Care Routine

In recent years, there has been an increase in the culture surrounding self-care. This culture places a large emphasis on the importance of self-care, as well as how it is fulfilled. In a bustling, technologically-oriented society that praises those who are generous, we often find ourselves burnt out from constantly giving our time, energy and resources.

There is a stereotype about the Black community that perpetuates an image of unwavering strength. Many people believe that Black people consistently display strength and independence. This stereotypical trope is inspired by the extended history of suffering and oppression that is associated with the Black community. Yes, the Black community is filled with strong and resilient go-getters, but this strength is not limitless.

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Regardless of race or socioeconomic background, all people experience depletion. Everyone gets tired, feels insecure, or experiences some form of negativity in their life; consequently, everyone needs a pick-me-up. Self-care is one of the easiest ways to achieve this release. At the end of the day, whether you are male or female, you need self-care.

What is self-care?

We toss the phrase “self-care” around liberally, but what does it truly mean? In the simplest terms, self-care is the process of attending to your mental, physical and emotional health. This practice includes checking in on yourself to see how you are feeling, understanding and learning about who you are, and experiencing personal growth. Self-care is more than just a bubble bath or day at the spa. It includes embracing internal wellness and growth.

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Why is self-care important?

Despite common perceptions about self-care, it is not a selfish practice. Self-care is just as important as caring for others. Self-care is a vital part of one’s self-improvement, which is why the process should be enjoyable. To navigate and understand ourselves, we must be invested and present a willingness to care for ourselves. Making the process enjoyable makes us more willing and more excited to invest in ourselves.

Most evidently, self-care is a practice of self-love and self-respect. Everybody must have self-love and self-respect. Without these tools, life becomes a lot more difficult to navigate. Without self-love or respect, you begin to settle for things and people that you do not deserve. You begin to wait for the world to approve of you rather than approving of yourself. These are dangerous habits. If you want the love and respect of others, you have to first love and respect yourself. One way that you can begin to obtain this love and respect is through self-care.

If you have a stronger love and respect for yourself, you will have a greater love and compassion for other people.

Compassion is an important part of our relationships with other people because it allows us to understand the pain and suffering of others. With compassion, we are more equipped to create solutions for problems, as well as live worry-free lives ourselves. How many of us have held on to petty anger from something that someone said when they were angry or frustrated? With high levels of compassion, we are not persuaded to hold onto this anger; as a result, we live more peaceful lives.

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Self-care can also improve our confidence, creativity, and productivity. Through experiencing moments where we are required to be confident, creative and productive, we learn more about ourselves. In this process of learning about our strengths, weaknesses, fears, etc., we can grow. Growth increases our wisdom, which is one of the most valuable tools we can have.

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Finally, self-care is essential to our mental, physical, and emotional health. No one should neglect themselves to the point where they are running on empty. We need breaks to refresh and revive ourselves. Self-care practices, and rest in general, can improve our focus, thought processes, moods, productivity, and memory.

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Practicing self-care is a process.

Feel free to download or save our self-care infographic below. It has all of the research-based tips that we developed to help you curate your self-care routine.

Consider these questions when creating a consistent self-care routine:

  1. What are your self-care goals? If you need a quick pick me up, you may not want to start a journal or commit your time towards long-term health changes. If you want to incorporate self-care into your routine for a long time, then you might want to consider investing in long-term practices like exercising.
  2. What does your schedule look like? Are you looking for something to fit into your daytime or nighttime? Are you only available for self-care on the weekends? Do you want to practice self-care daily? These are some questions that are good to ask yourself if you are creating a steady routine because you want your routine to be regular. If you are unable to plan for self-care, then your routine will be sporadic. As a result, your outcomes may not be as lasting as you would like them to be.
  3. Are you willing or able to invest your resources into your routine? Not everyone can afford a monthly international vacation or a spa day. It makes no sense to invest in these luxuries if you are unable to just for the sake of it if you are going to be worried about your finances afterwards. Your self-care routine is supposed to be relaxing. Do not do things that will not make you relaxed. Travel and energy are examples of other resources that you may have to consider when curating your routine. Ask yourself if you will have to build your routine around these things.
  4. What is the purpose of your self-care routine? What kind of revival are you looking for? Is it physical? Mental? Spiritual? Social? Many of the self-care practices we recommend may intersect with one another; however, there may be some that may help you to reach your goals more than others. For example, if you are trying to achieve spiritual self-care, you may find that meditation may work better than a social media detox.
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Here is a list of 12 of our favourite self-care tips.

Save our list of carefully researched self-care tips designed to help you achieve personal growth.

1. Use a journal to monitor your moods, mark gratitude, and track your growth.

Recommended for: spiritual and mental self-care.

Journals are excellent ways for people to become self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Research shows that by writing and reflecting it becomes easier to shift your life and routine in a way that compliments what you are trying to achieve. By becoming aware of your triggers, it becomes easier to control them. By prioritizing your goals, it becomes easier to reach them. Using a journal helps to create order when you feel like your world is in disarray.

There is no correct way to start journaling. It is as simple as writing down however you are feeling. Bullet journaling is a popular trend that a lot of people use to stay organized and increase their productivity. Honestly, it does not matter how you organize your journal. Two people can have their journals organized in different ways and still have a clear picture of themselves. Journal in the way that you enjoy the most. What is most important is that you write in it consistently. To have an accurate picture of your habits, triggers, moods, etc., you must journal regularly.

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2. Indulge in your (guilty) pleasures.

Recommended for: mental, spiritual, and social self-care.

I believe that humans can be too hard on themselves. If we are working towards our body and health goals, then we do not indulge in our favourite junk food. If we are saving so we have a few extra dollars in the bank, then we do not pick up those shoes that we want. Yes, there are unhealthy habits, such as doing something every day; however, doing something every once in a while is not bad. Placing yourself on such strict regimens is not healthy. Everyone needs a moment of relaxation and fun.

One slice of cake won’t erase the fact that you’ve been eating fruits and veggies all week. If you’ve have not taken a day off in over a year, then maybe you deserve a vacation. If you find it hard to spontaneously incorporate a day to indulge, deliberately plan a day or two in the week to do something that you love to do.

3. Disconnect from social media.

Recommended for: mental and social self-care.

Social media is a great way to connect with other people, learn new things, and stay informed about our community; however, it can also be complicated. It is easy for people to get caught up in the competition that social media facilitates. The online culture suggests that to be accepted or have many followers, you must adhere to social values or social norms. These ideologies, as well as others, can be stressful and overwhelming.

If you find yourself with this toxic mindset, then turn off social media. There is nothing wrong with not participating in social media for a few days, weeks, or even months. The internet won’t fall apart if you do. If you are anxious about leaving social media, then reduce the time that you spend on it day by day. For example, start with 2 hours on Monday, 1 hour and 45 minutes on Tuesday, 1 hour 30 minutes on Wednesday, and so forth.

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4. Get physical!

Recommended for: physical and mental self-care.

Many people are turned off to the idea of exercising because of the general perception of exercise. They think its time consuming, selfish or difficult (which is all false by the way). When people hear the word “exercise” they think of sweaty gym-heads grunting as they pick up their barbells. Yes, this one way that you can exercise if you choose to; however, there are many other ways that you can engage in physical activity. Yoga, swimming, dancing and pilates are three alternative ways to exercise that don’t involve spending money on a gym membership.

The benefits to exercise go beyond just getting in shape. In the process of exercising you are achieving your goals, improving your mental health through the release of endorphins, and increasing your confidence. Sometimes it is hard to get off the couch and get physical, we understand that. It might help if you get a friend or family member to exercise with you. Mentally planning the days and time that you will exercise for can also help you prepare to begin your exercise routine.

5. Engage in meditation or prayer.

Recommended for: spiritual and mental self-care.

Both prayer and meditation are two incredible ways to engage in self-reflection. Research shows that meditation is an ideal self-care practice because the process forces individuals to become aware of their emotions and thoughts. The more that an individual becomes aware of their thoughts and emotions, the more that they can grow.

Prayer offers individuals a similar experience. Through speaking to God and practicing faith, one can use their belief to guide their self-care practices. Despite popular belief, you do not have to be religious to pray. Prayer is as simple as taking a few seconds to thank God for waking you up in the morning. You can do this out loud, or in your head. As long as you are connecting, you are reflecting.

6. Maintain a healthy diet.

Recommended for: physical and mental self-care.

“You are what you eat” is not just a catchy saying, folks! Eating and maintaining a healthy diet is just important in self-care as it is to your overall health. Eating a balanced diet provides you with the energy and strength you need to perform the physical and mental tasks that you need to do each day. When you eat a balanced meal means that you are nourishing your body. Through balanced eating, you are giving your body what it needs. This does not mean that you should only be eating fruits and veggies; this only means that you need to be eating food from all food groups at every meal.

Where you eat is just as important as what you eat. Eating in front of the T.V. or glued to your phone is not nourishing to your body. In fact, research shows that eating with distractions compromises the digestive process. Eating should not be filled with distractions; it should be mindful. To make your meals more mindful, drink water. It is recommended that the average person drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (which is approximately four 500mL water bottles). If you find it hard to drink regular water, try drinking fruit-infused water. It provides a tasty (and healthy) incentive for your health.

Some people need to take supplements to gain the recommended daily vitamin intake. If you find yourself experiencing excessive fatigue or are concerned about your health, speak to your doctor about taking vitamin or other health supplements.

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7. Just say “No”!

Recommended for: physical, mental, spiritual, and social self-care.

A lot of us are natural caregivers. We like to tend to the needs of others even when our own to-do list is overflowing. Many of us are people pleasers and do not like to disappoint others. Whatever you identify yourself as you most likely end up saying “yes” to things that you much rather say “no” to.

Sometimes it is good to say “no”. Doing so does not make you selfish or mean or lazy or disloyal. It just means that you are unable to do one task at that point in time. Taking on extra work when you have so much to do is not healthy for you. Doing so can most likely cause burnout which is your body’s way of telling you that it is time for a break. If you do not listen to your body, you may end up causing long-term damage to yourself.

If other people get upset at you when you say “no” to doing them a favour or taking on a task, then that is their problem to deal with, not yours. By taking on a task that you know you cannot do, and then not doing it looks worse than simply saying “no”. At that point, people are depending on you, and by not doing the task you look unreliable rather than busy or tired. Rather than taking on another task, simply explain why you cannot do so. Your body comes first.

8. Get some sleep!

Recommended for: physical and mental self-care.

In today’s technologically driven society, we can easily get addicted to our devices, often at the cost of our health. Many of us fall asleep while scrolling down our timelines or texting a friend. This method to tackle our insomnia can be perceived as being effective to some; however, it actually causes more harm than good. Research says that staring at a screen right before bed, makes it harder to fall asleep.

It is recommended that adults get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is vital to self-care because it allows the body and mind to rest. A full night’s rest allows the body and mind to process everything that happens to them accurately, which increases overall productivity. Napping throughout the day does not provide the same health benefits that sleeping at night does. If you have difficulty sleeping at night try turning your phone on “do not disturb” 15-20 minutes before bed. During this time, prepare yourself for the following day (e.g. pack your lunch the night before) or practice self-care routines during this time to help your body and mind wind down for the evening.

9. Go outside.

Recommended for: mental and spiritual self-care.

Now, let us clarify. Going to work or school does not count as going outside for self-care purposes. We want you to go outside and experience nature in a recreational context. Research shows that being in nature can lower stress and increase happiness. Part of this is because the sun naturally releases vitamin D in its rays. Sun rays can increase the release of serotonin from the human brain. Serotonin is the hormone that increases focus. It also is a natural anti-depressant.

Experiencing nature for fun does not mean that you have to go hiking in the woods. Even taking a walk around your block allows you to positively encounter nature. Being outdoors is vital to your self-care because the tranquil environment provides you with the opportunity to reflect. Many of us live in urban environments that rarely quiet down long enough to think. By definition, nature means natural. Natural spaces are healthy spaces. Placing yourself in a healthy space is not only good for your body, but also for your mind.

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10. Declutter your space, your mind, and your life.

Recommended for: spiritual, social, and mental self-care.

How many of us have held onto things that no longer suit the person we have become? This might be an old souvenir, a tattered t-shirt, or even a person. We might not initially recognize it but this is an act of self-sabotage. Yes, some of the things we are holding onto cause more detriment to our growth than others, but the idea remains the same: we are allowing these things to steal time, energy, and space from our lives. By holding onto things that do not make us happy, we remain distracted, stressed, and discontent.

When you remove the unnecessary things from your mind and your life, you not only become organized and productive, but you also have a clearer vision. You have a better understanding of who you are and the person that you want to be. This, in turn, is an act of self-care because you are becoming self-aware and making an investment in your future. You are growing.

11. Use positive language.

Recommended for: mental, spiritual, and social self-care.

How many times a day do we say “I can’t do this”? How often do we negate our power and our abilities with negative thoughts or speech? We have the power to manifest success within our lives by speaking positive things. There is this old saying that goes “fake it till you make it”. By speaking positively, we are essentially doing just that. The use of positive language allows us to speak success and happiness into our lives.

Using positive language is an act of self-care. By claiming the good things that we want for ourselves, we are becoming self-aware of and are tending to our wants and needs. People who speak positively, love themselves, and those who love themselves are comfortable showing love to others. The more you show love to others, the more confident and compassionate you become, and the stronger your relationships become.

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12. Let it go.

Recommended for: social, mental, and physical self-care.

This tip is very similar to tip #10; however, rather than talking about letting physical things go, this tip encourages letting go of mental restraints. More often than not, we are our own worst enemies. We can overthink our way into situations just as quickly as we talk ourselves out of great opportunities. We hold onto the pain of past experiences and the anger of past arguments. Everyone has their own demons to battle; however, the result is the same. We are holding onto things that are causing us pain rather than letting it go.

Like holding onto physical weights, holding onto emotional and mental pain makes it hard to move forward. We are incapable of seeing the future if all we do is look towards the past. Forgiving past mistakes and accepting that there are things beyond our control are examples of self-care. Liberating yourself from these mental weights makes more room to learn and grow. Letting go allows you to live a more stress-free life. With this free space and free time, you can direct your energy towards things that actually matter to you – which in the long run, will benefit you much more.

How do you practice self-care?

Comment your thoughts below!

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