Self care is suuuper important. We forget it sometimes, we neglect it sometimes, but everybody knows it, deep down. We know there are loads of ways to practice self care – activities, tasks, techniques, ways to treat yo’ self, and more.. but those different tasks can sometimes turn into “luxuries” that we only partake in every so often.
So the question becomes, how do we make self care a true habit?
You create a daily self care routine, of course!
Uhh, Allison, what’s a daily self care routine, and how do I create one for myself? I don’t know what things I should be doing.. and can I even fit anything else into my day?
You’re just full of good questions today, friend!
In this post, we’re going to learn How to Create a Daily Self Care Routine – as well as how to prioritize self care, and learn a few (okay, several) different activities and techniques you can pick and choose from to piece together your own daily self care routine.
Sound good? Let’s dive in!
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How to Create a Daily Self Care Routine
Step 1. Prioritize Self Care
At some point, you’ve got to decide (or learn) that taking care of yourself is a worthwhile job.
Try your best to stop feeling guilt about spending time on yourself.
You are important.
Your health is VITAL.
Your mental health is VITAL.
You need and deserve to take a break, relax, rest, and recharge.
The people who you report to, or the people who count on you cannot do so if you’re not okay.
Have you been on an airplane and actually paid attention to the safety procedures demonstration given by your hard-working flight attendants?
They tell you to Use Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Helping Others.
You know why?
It’s because if you use all of your time, energy, and resources (in this case, time, energy, and oxygen supply) helping those around you.. you’re going to be in bad shape. No matter how well intentioned your help is! You’ll use up everything you’ve got and have nothing left for you.
So just like on a flight, you need to learn to take care of yourself before others.
Don’t confuse this with an encouragement of selfishness! Quite the opposite, in fact.
If you’d prefer this message another way, try this quote on for size:
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
So however badly you WANT to help your kids, be there for your spouse, support your parents, encourage your friends, report to work, do your duties… you can’t do that if you’re not… well, you!
If you start to question whether you “have time to spend” or “have time to waste” (omg it’s not a waste!) on yourself, remember the promises you’ve made to other people. You’ll cook for the family, you’ll clean the garage, you’ll go to that meeting, send that memo, make Thanksgiving dinner.. whatever.
You find those promises important and compelling, and you will absolutely hold up your end of the bargains. You made promises, after all.
But what about the promises you make to yourself?
- I will take care of my body. It’s the only one I’ll ever get.
- I will take care of my mind. It’s the only one I’ll ever get.
- I will not be stressed over things I cannot control. I deserve to relax, let loose, have fun.
- …. and on and on and on.
You’ll keep promises to others. Why wouldn’t you keep promises to yourself, too?
Convincing yourself that YOU ARE WORTH it is the first step to prioritizing self care.. and THAT is the first step to creating a daily self care routine!
Step 2. Block Your Time & Create a Schedule
Creating an actual schedule is a super important part of creating a daily self care routine!
Humans have this weird quality about us that I can’t quite put my finger on.. but without a schedule, we seem to feel like we can just do whatever we want.
For most people ‘do whatever you want’ tends to translate to sleeping all day and playing video games, OR working themselves absolutely to the bone.
But. Schedules seem to make things more real, more permanent.
When we have a schedule, it’s like our brains revert back to “school mode” where we have assigned classes at specific days and times each week. We feel obligated to do the work that is required of us.
With a schedule, we turn into what Gretchen Reuben calls “Obligers” We do what is required of us from without, rather than things we are motivated about from within. We need extrinsic motivation, if you will.
Whatever you call it, the external accountability of having a schedule really works!
Those blocks should be non-negotiable, all you-time.
If someone wants to meet up during your self care routine block of time or your S.O. wants to have a date then.. politely ask to reschedule. Stream the show later, call your mom back in a couple of hours, or do whatever you’ve gotta do… just keep that block of time dedicated to YOU. ONLY you.
How Much Time Should You Spend on a Daily Self Care Routine?
Maybe consider a half or full hour in the morning, a few small breaks during the work day, and a bigger chunk of time for yourself in the evening!
Truly, the possibilities are endless, as long as you can eat, drink, poop, take care of your family, and keep your job 🙂 Really, whatever works for you works for me!
There is no perfect daily self care routine.
There is no right way to practice self care.
There is no wrong way to practice self care. (except not doing it)
Don’t worry about trying to match those Instagram models who have picturesque bathtubs in Bali or overlooking the Eiffel tower.. that is UNREALISTIC.
Spend as much time as you want to, and are able to on your daily self care routine.
Logistics of a Daily Self Care Routine
Don’t feel like you’ve got to choose ONE daily self care routine and stick to it every day for the rest of your life…
Yes, you need to create a schedule for yourself to make sure you actually, really do your daily self care routine. But that does not mean it must be the same thing every day, week, month, whatever.
You can have a weekly schedule where the activity changes each day: Mondays I do Yoga, Tuesdays I Meditate, Wednesdays I Journal.. etc.
You can choose to have a monthly schedule where you do one activity per week: Week 1 I’ll do Yoga, Week 2 I’ll Meditate, Week 3 I’ll Journal.. etc
Same goes for a Yearly schedule. Maybe you’ll choose 1 activity to do per MONTH.
Another option is to have a “go to” list of self care activities and ideas that you can do any time (not something you’ll have to go out and purchase supplies for.. you should just be ready). Then, each day when your self care time block comes around, pick an activity and DO IT.
To help with decision fatigue or analysis paralysis.. you can go a little wild and draw one out of a jar! (if you don’t feel like choosing your preferred activity quit quickly)
Hooray for spontaneous, decision-free self care!
No matter how you decide to schedule it, you need to prioritize self care, and then not only MAKE time for it, but literally ASSIGN time for doing self care. Daily.
Step 3. Stick to the Schedule You Make .. really.
I already talked a bit about how schedules seem much easier for us to stay on task, keep focus, and do what we set out to do…
My theory is that our brains associate schedules with our past experiences with school, class schedules, bell schedules, and the obligations of school. We feel compelled to do “what we’re told” if we have a schedule.
This is GREAT news for you! (Even if you hated school back in the day).
USE THIS mental association to your advantage, and stick to your schedule.
A schedule is basically worthless if you don’t stick to it.
I mean, not only are you NOT achieving what you set out to achieve, you also wasted time and energy even MAKING the schedule that you’re now ignoring…. don’t be that guy.
Once you prioritize self care, create a daily self care routine and schedule it… then stick to that schedule!
Step 4. Repeat Your Schedule Until Your Actions Become Habits
Now that you’ve prioritized self care, created a daily self care routine, scheduled that routine, and stuck to it.. you might be thinking that you’re all done!
It’s smooth sailin’ from here!
That routine isn’t going to truly stick with you until you repeat it often enough that it becomes a habit. Until it becomes ingrained in your life, and starts to solidify as not A daily self care routine.. but YOUR daily self care routine.. and then, simply: YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.
That’s the key here.
To create a true routine (one where you don’t have to go back and double check the schedule to make sure you’re doing the thing you wanted to do right now), you’ve got to not only DO the thing, but repeat it. A LOT. Until it’s a habit. Until your natural inclination is to just do that thing.
Some people say it takes 27 days, or X number of hours or repetitions. Who cares about the number??
Just do it. Do it a lot.
Before you know it, you’ll have a daily self care routine solidified and running your day, making you feel better and better all the time!
So, what do you DO during that self care time that you have prioritized, scheduled, done, and repeated??
There are seriously SO MANY options for self care. Contrary to popular belief, those aren’t all “treat yourself to a $40 pedicure twice a week” or “go out to a $20 movie every night” or other BS like that.
Self care is about taking care of you, and giving yourself the space, time, and quiet you need to get back to a calm, happy center.
Choose from these simple self care tasks, rituals, and tips to create your own personalized self care routine
Activities, Tasks, & Techniques To Choose From When Creating Your Daily Self Care Routine
Morning Self Care Ideas
These are things that can only be done in the morning, or will specifically provide you with benefits if you do them quite early in the morning, or just after waking up.
- Sleep In
- Wake Up Early
- Watch a Sunrise
- Morning pages
- Eat breakfast
- Drink Water
- Set goals / tasks for the day (SMART goals and reasonable expectations only!!)
Afternoon Self Care Ideas
To be honest, I’m not sure that there are specific “afternoon” self care ideas that ONLY apply to afternoons.
The ones I’ve included here can certainly be done anytime.. but I think they’re most effective when done during work (during a break, of course) or just after your work day has ended, rather than first thing in the morning, or just before bed.
As always though, you do you.
- Drink Water
- Eat a [healthy] snack (don’t forget to eat and work yourself to death)
- Go for a walk – outside!
- Take a 5 minute meditation break
- Call a friend
- Chill out. Veg. Relax. No reading, no texting, no thinking, no talking. For at least 15 minutes
Evening Self Care Ideas
Many of these ideas for your daily self care routine can only be done at night, or will benefit you most in the evening!
After a long day of work, be it raising kids, attending meetings, shipping products, making calls, teaching munchkins, or anything else.. you need and deserve to relax your body and mind.
You need restful sleep, and to awaken each morning stress-free and ready to take on the day!
- Watch a sunset
- Low lighting
- Listen to relaxing sounds (rain, white noise, fire crackling)
- Read a chapter of a book
- Clean face (wash off make up + skin care routine)
- Fall asleep to an audio book
- Reflect on your day by journaling
- Set out your clothes for tomorrow
- Plan out tomorrow’s schedule
If you want even more specifics on a great nightly routine for self care, head on over here for your new Nightly Routine.
Self Care Ideas for Any Time of the Day
There are LOTS more self care ideas here.. but I didn’t want to box you in and feel like they had to fit in a specific time of day. As long as you’re not getting in and out of bed, taking a break from work, or looking at the sun or stars in specific celestial locations – you can basically do anything any time you want.
That’s a whole lot of power, right!?
It is. But as Uncle Ben taught us, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
So since you can do whatever you want whenever you want… it’s time to decide to take care of yourself. It’s time to MAKE time for self care.
These tasks, activities, and ideas should help you really spend time with YOU. Make sure your body and mind are in the right place. Reconnect with nature. Socialize. Have a few quiet, spiritual minutes each day.
I truly don’t care which self care ideas you take and add to your own personal daily self care routine. I just want to you to relax and focus on you!
So, here are some ideas for self care that you can do at whatever time of day you see fit!
- Listen to a podcast
- Read a book
- Eat healthy, real foods
- Socialize with other people! IRL is best
- Go for a walk
- Go outside! See sunshine! Get fresh air!
- Tidy Up
- Garden (Indoor or outdoor gardening!)
- Drink Tea
- Drink Coffee
- Craft: coloring, origami, cross stitch, etc.
- Light a candle, wax burner, incense, etc (but PLEASE turn it off or blow it out before leaving the house or going to sleep!)
- Learn something new (a language, a craft, read about a new topic you’re not an expert in)
- Practice a craft (play an instrument, paint a watercolor, etc)
- Cooking – (a fun, healthy recipe)
- Puzzles or Board Games (shift your focus & have fun)
- Gardening (indoor or outdoor)
- Dancing (in a class, your car, or just for fun around your house)
- Try something NEW (food, activity, tv show, experience)
- Deep Breathing Exercises
- Cuddle your pet
- Cuddle a person!
- Do something nice for someone else
- Work out – in an exercise class or alone
- Unplug (for at least 30 minutes)
- Write down 3 things you’re grateful for today
What will be in YOUR self care routine?
I’m TOTALLY curious about what you’re going to add to your own personal daily self care routine.
If you’re like me, a night owl, you may opt for only one or two self care activities in the morning (when you’re basically a zombie and can’t appreciate them anyway), and pack them in in the afternoon and evening.
Or, if you’re like my best friend, an early riser, you may find yourself doing AMAZING things in the morning, and just going to sleep early at night.
You could be anywhere in between. And that’s perfectly okay!
This is supposed to help YOU get in touch with YOUR self and help YOU relax. You. Do. You.
Things to Remember About Daily Self Care Routines
It’s super simple to create a daily self care routine! Just follow these simple steps:
- Set priorities
- Choose morning, afternoon, and evening self care tasks
- Make a schedule
- Stick to it and repeat!
And you’re all set, and ready to relax!
and remember, make good life choices!