Mental Health

4 Steps To Begin A Self-Care Routine (When You Think You’re Too Busy)

Self-care is incredibly important, but when our schedule is packed full of commitments, it can be easy to neglect. In fact, many of us may not even feel like self-care is a worthwhile priority. We may think it’s selfish to put ourselves first when we have work, children, and school-related things to attend to day to day. The fact is that this can’t be further from the truth! For many of us, our problems with anxiety and depression can be greatly alleviated simply by starting a self-care routine. If you’re having trouble taking time for yourself, then follow these four steps to get going on your own self-care routine.

If you’re someone (like me) who often reads inspirational posts online but forgets the information shortly after, don’t forget to download the worksheet that accompanies this article so you can apply the information directly to your life.

1 – Realize that self-care is a worthwhile priority

The first step is to realize that it is not selfish, and it is necessary to make time for self-care. Even though society may make us feel guilty for doing things that we enjoy just because we enjoy them, we just have to make it clear in our own minds that “I am worthy of time and care.” That book series you’re loving but haven’t been able to pick up for weeks? A long, warm bath? A 30 minute walk around the block? If you’ve been feeling anxious or depressed, then it’s time to think of these activities not as “nice to do” but as medicine. Since, they truly can be.


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2 – Remember Elizabeth Gilbert’s “animal-within” analogy

Elizabeth Gilbert recently spoke about self-care in the context of an extremely helpful analogy, in a piece for Oprah’s website. She explained that all of us have an “animal within” that has simple needs, just like any other creature. She reminds us to think about what we’d do if we were given a sad, anxious puppy to take care of. Would we get annoyed and tell it to figure itself out? No, we’d comfort it, give it time, and give it the necessary care to allow it to thrive. Remember to think of yourself like an adorable puppy, or even your best friend, when you begin to tell yourself you don’t deserve what you need.

3 – Apply the concept of minimalism to your time

Minimalism is generally a concept that is applied to objects, not time. However, the sentiment is the same: when you remove what you don’t need, you have more room for what matters. In fact, many of us are filling our schedules with time-suck activities that we don’t even truly want to do be doing, they’re distractions to guard us from discomfort. Browsing the web aimlessly, and Netflix binging are examples of this! This week’s worksheet includes a table for you to write out your schedule, since once you write out what you’re actually doing all day it’s much easier to change it. You may have more time available than you realize – 15 minutes here, and 15 minutes there adds up to 30 minutes! This is plenty for a self-care routine.

4 – Use the morning and evening for self-care

Our days are often busy, and it’s completely understandable that you can’t spin your own life out of control in order to add self-care. So, my advice is to use the morning and the evening, since this is generally your time! In fact, it’s quite simple to even create more time in the morning. You won’t miss out on any sleep either, if you simply go to sleep a half hour or even 15 minutes earlier and use that time to do what works for you – meditate, journal, drink tea, or even just jump into bed with your child and give them a cuddle.

My video on this topic:

Did this help you? Don’t forget to download the worksheet below, and interact with our community at Jolvie: A Mental Health Community on Facebook! 🙂

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