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How to Start a Self Care Routine to Reduce Stress

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Let’s talk about how to start a self care routine.

Fortunately, starting a daily self care routine is easier than you think. You don’t need a lot of time and money to start a daily self care routine.  All you need is a commitment to yourself.

So let’s start there. 

Make a commitment to yourself for the next 7 days.  Follow this 7 day self care routine plan and complete one action each day. 

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How to Start a Self Care Routine Day 1 – Practice Self-Reflection

how to start a self care routine

To start off these 7 days of healthy self care habits, let’s start with a little self-reflection.

It is a great way to learn a little more about yourself and understand when and where to focus your energy.

Take Moments of Quiet Time

For the best self-reflection, you won’t have any other distractions. You can’t focus on yourself and learn more about yourself if you have constant noise and distractions all around you. Wait to do this until it is quiet and calm wherever you are.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness gets you into the state of being more present and just accepting the current moment. It is all about allowing your thoughts to come in and accepting them for what they are.

Write in Your Journal

To explore even further, get out your mindfulness journal and start writing. This is one of the best ways to self-reflect and gain more clarity into your life. You can discover dreams you didn’t know you had, goals that might have shifted, and new thoughts you want to explore a bit further.

How to Start a Self Care Routine Day 2 – Take the Time to Read

how to start a self care routine

On day 2 focus on reading more and discovering new things to explore when it comes to books.

Find a Good Time in Your Routine

Before finding something to read, you need to figure out when reading would best fit into your daily routine. Consider your purpose for wanting to read more.

If you tend to get tired after reading, then fitting it into your nighttime routine is a great option. It will relax you and give you a quiet activity during your nighttime self care ritual.

On the other hand, if you want to read a life changing self-help book or something like a non-fiction thriller, reading at night is probably a little too much stimulation for your brain. In this case, read earlier in the day.

Read Something New

Even if you are a seasoned reader, there are probably some genres you tend to avoid. Now is a great time to experiment and try something new.

Choose a brand new genre of book, or if you already know what you love to read, try a new author. Check out the best sellers or new releases at your local book store.

Take Your Reading to another Environment

To mix things up a little, read somewhere you aren’t used to. Just changing your environment can change your mindset during this activity.

That might mean sitting in a different room in your home, going outside in a relaxing hammock, or bringing your book to a nearby coffee shop or park.

How to Start a Self Care Routine Day 3 – Do a Creative Activity

how to start a self care routine

People are often under the impression that to benefit from creative activities, you have to be a naturally artistic or creative person, but that isn’t the true!

There are many ways to be creative, whether you feel it comes naturally to you or not.

Find Something You Enjoy

When it comes to creative activities for self-care or to reduce stress, you want it to be something you enjoy doing. You don’t have to be good at it, so don’t worry about that.

Just find activities that use the creative part of your brain and that you would enjoy doing.

Not into drawing or painting? No problem! There are many types of creative activities, including:

Creativity is a Form of Self-Care

One of the best things about adding a creative activity to your routine is because it acts as self-care. It gives you time to do something just for yourself, where you are relaxed and having a good time. There are no rules or obligations, and you can do it alone or with other people if you prefer.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

You will also notice that you have reduced stress and anxiety with more creative activities in your life.

You get into a type of relaxation zone when focused on a craft or art project. During that moment, you aren’t thinking about anything but what you’re working on.

Tip: Don’t Be a Perfectionist!

It is important to remember that you don’t have to be a perfectionist, and shouldn’t be. It’s not about the end result, but the experience itself.

How to Start a Self Care Routine Day 4 – Get Outside

Far too busy female professionals spend the majority of their life indoors, and don’t realize how much they can benefit from getting outside.

That is why we wanted to focus a day on getting outside and improving your health thanks to nature and a little vitamin D.

Transform Your Day with Sunshine and Fresh Air

how to start a self care routineThe combination of nature, fresh air, and vitamin D is really healing for your body and mind.

You may have already noticed that when you spend more time outside, such as at the beach, at a park, or lake during the summer, you just feel better. It boosts your mood and gives you more energy.

Use This Opportunity to Move Your Body

how to start a self care routineYou can also use your time spent outside as an opportunity to get in a little light exercise.

Most activities to be done outdoors will be at least a little active, like going on a walk or hike, exploring nearby areas, working in your garden, playing with your dogs, and so many other activities.

How Changing Your Environment Can Change Your Life

The reason we recommend going outside is more than just the boost in energy and happiness you get from the sun’s UV rays. It also helps to change your mindset.

Just being in a new environment can cause you to think about things from a new perspective.

Bring a sketchbook or journal

Not sure what to do outside? If you aren’t going for a walk and just want to sit and rest, there are plenty of ways to pass the time.

Take a long a sketch book and draw things you see, or…walk with your journal to do some self exploration in a soothing outdoor setting!

How to Start a Self Care Routine Day 5 – Move Your Body

how to start a self care routine

As you embark on your journey to improve your sleep and reduce stress, it helps to find a way to move your body. It should be gentle as well as enjoyable, so these tips will help.

Gentle Movement

The first rule for moving your body should be to make it gentle. This is meant to help with sleep and stress, so we’re not looking for a strenuous weight lifting or HIIT workout here.

Gentle forms of movement might include:

  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Stretching
  • Tai-Chi
  • Barre workouts
  • Conditioning workouts

Enjoyable Movement

You also want to find forms of exercise that you actually enjoy doing.

how to start a self care routineIf you absolutely hate yoga, you shouldn’t be doing it. You don’t have to do what others recommend, what your best friend likes to do, or even what you have done before.

Find something you love to do, and that is the activity you will stick to. Dancing your heart out with the kids or some friends may be the ideal workout for you.

New and Adventurous Movement

Lastly, try to find some forms of movement that are new for you, or you haven’t done in a while. This is how you will find movement that you enjoy doing.

Take a local class, try a new online workout program, or ask your friends what they recommend you try out. There is no lack of exercises to try out.

How to Start a Self Care Routine Day 6 – Create a Nighttime Ritual

how to start a self care routine

With two days left in this 7-day habit forming series, it is time to work on your nighttime routine.

So many women talk about their morning routine, but take their nighttime routines for granted. With a good nighttime ritual, you will be able to sleep much more soundly.

What is a Nighttime Ritual?

First, let’s go over what a nighttime ritual is and how it can benefit you.

It helps improve your sleep – Having trouble getting to sleep? The nighttime routine is one of the best ways to get better sleep.

You can reduce your stress – Stress at night often happens when you are either rushed, or suddenly all the stressful thoughts from the day pile up on you. A relaxing nighttime ritual can help with this.

What Should You Include?

There are no hard and fast rules for a good nighttime ritual, but it would typically include the following things:

Wind-down time – This is when you gradually start getting ready for bed by shutting off lights, doing any nighttime chores, taking a shower or bath, and your skincare routine or brushing your teeth.

Relaxing activities – You can also add more relaxing activities to the nighttime routine, like writing in a self care journal, reading, or listening to music.

Some self-care – Lastly, you may want to include a little bit of self-care, like a meditation ritual you do in the evening or sitting in your room with some nice essential oils and a good essential oil diffuser while you read.

How Long should it Take?

The amount of time you spend on your nighttime ritual depends on how much time you have, but starting about an hour before you intend to go to sleep is a good guideline.

How to Start a Self Care Routine Day 7 – Be Grateful

how to start a self care routine

You have made it through the seven days of healthy habits for self-care, stress, and sleep! On this final day, you’ll spend some time practicing gratitude.

Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

The reason you will hear this recommendation so often is because of how beneficial it can be just to spend the time appreciating all the current blessings in your life.

When you practice gratitude, you:

  • Appreciate the little things
  • Reduce stress about what you don’t have
  • Improve relationships with others
  • Feel happier and more fulfilled

Different Ways of Practicing Gratitude

The great thing about gratitude is that there are many ways to do it, depending on how much time you have and what you prefer.

Here are some different ways to practice gratitude:

Write gratitude in your journal – The simplest method is to write what you are grateful for each day in your gratitude journal. Choose about 5-10 things to add each day.

Think grateful thoughts – You can also simply think about what you are grateful for as things happen.

Have a gratitude jar – This is more on an as-needed basis. When something good happens in your life that is a little outside what is normal for you, write it down on a piece of paper, fold it, and add it to your gratitude jar.

Fitting it Into Your Day

It is also very easy to fit a gratitude practice into your day. Since it only takes a few minutes a day, you can do it during your morning or nighttime routine, or even when have a lunch break.

What are 5 things you can do for self-care daily?

Here’s a quick checklist

  1. Self Reflection
    • Practice Mindfulness
    • Write in a journal
    • Enjoy a few moments of solitude
    • Note 3 things you are grateful for
  2. Read
    • Read something new
    • Enjoy reading something motivating
    • Read something inspiration
    • Read something spiritual
  3. Do a Creative Activity
    • Adult coloring, drawing, painting
    • Decorate a room in your home
    • Sewing, knitting, scrapbooking
  4. Exercise
    • Walk
    • Dance
    • Ride a bike
    • Play Frisbee with the kids
  5. Sleep
    • Create a night-time routine
    • Go to bed at the same time each night
    • Wake up at the same time every morning

CONGRATULATIONS!

You’ve just started a simple, but effective self care routine.  Now all you have to do is stick to it.  Take it one week at a time.  Wash. Rinse. Repeat!

Before you know it you will be living a more stress-resilient, enjoyable life!

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