When our daily lives are hectic it’s all too easy to forget to take care of ourselves. An occasional bubble bath or trip to the sauna aren’t enough to redress the balance, because self-care isn’t just something to be done at the weekend or on holiday. It doesn’t just mean doing something nice for yourself once in a while; it also means paying attention to your own needs and looking after yourself on a daily basis. It’s not just about giving yourself what you want, but also what you need. We want to suggest a few tips for incorporating more self-care into your daily life. If some of them seem difficult, keep going and practice!
1Be aware of your needs
Set two or three alarms over the course of the day. When the alarm sounds, ask yourself what you need in that moment: “How am I feeling right now? Am I hungry, am I cold, am I frustrated, am I stressed, do I need a break?” Then act according to that need. If you asked yourself whether you were stressed, the answer could be to take a short break and look out of the window, or perhaps step outside for some fresh air. If the question was whether you were cold, the answer could be to put on a warm jumper and make a cup of tea. It can be something small or trivial that helps to give you what you need.
2Stop self-criticism and self-critical thoughts
If you constantly find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, doing yourself down or telling yourself you can’t do something – stop! Challenge those thoughts and try to counteract them with more realistic ones. The long-term goal should be to develop a more caring attitude towards yourself. If that doesn’t work straight away, stop your self-critical thoughts even so and remind yourself: “Stop, I don’t want to do that anymore.” Perhaps next time you can go a bit further and say something nice to yourself.
3Do something that brings you joy
And not only once you have finished a project you’re working on, you’re about to go on on holiday or the pandemic is over. Joy should be a part of our daily lives. Often something small and simple is enough – a delicious drink on the balcony or in the garden, reading a few lines of a favourite book or listening to a favourite song at top volume. The only limit is your imagination. Get creative and do something that brings you joy every day.
4Write a journal
Writing a journal can help you practice self-care in many ways. For a start, it’s a good way to get to know yourself better, which is part of self-care. Regularly ask yourself questions like “What is important to me in life? What am I good at? How would I like to live? What makes me happy?” Writing a journal can also help to make you aware of your own thoughts and feelings, to develop a mindful relationship with yourself. “How do I feel? What’s on my mind at the moment? How do my thoughts change when my feelings change?” That’s a great basis for being more aware of yourself and taking better care of yourself in the long term.
Regular breaks are essential for self-care in daily life. As well as a traditional lunch break we recommend taking several breaks over the course of the day. It can make a big difference and it’s often enough to stand up and stretch, play a song, eat and drink something, walk around the block or just look out of the window. Another tip: if you work a lot at the computer or sitting down, it makes sense to be active during your breaks – for example you could try a new yoga pose. But if your work is mainly physical, you should let yourself rest in your breaks, for example by doing a sudoku or crossword puzzle. You can be as creative as you like.
Change often needs time. Trying something new usually takes effort at the beginning. Perhaps these 5 simple tips will give you the push you need to integrate more self-care into your daily life. Let us know which ones you’ve tried and how they felt!