If you had asked me about self-care a few years ago, my response would have been very different than what it is today. In the past, I’ve used self-care as sort of an “emergency response plan” that I turned to whenever I was completely stressed out and overwhelmed. Like so many other people, I viewed self-care as selfish and had somehow convinced myself that self-care had to be earned. Now, I know better. I know and understand the importance of regular self-care. To help you incorporate regular self-care into your daily routine, I’m going to list some self-care ABCs so that you’ll have a toolbox to refer to as you create a lifestyle of self-care.
Self-Care ABCs: Activities for Your Self-Care Toolbox
A – Aromatherapy. Diffuse essential oils to help improve mood. Some of my favorites are Ylang Ylang, orange, and lavender.
B -Be kind to yourself. Even if you’ve messed up, show yourself some grace. Life is hard.
C – Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Text messages are cool, but there’s something about hearing a friend’s voice that makes you feel good. Be careful, though! Make sure you choose the friend that’s guaranteed to make you laugh and feel good. Don’t mess around and call that friend that’s going to stress you out! Save that phone call for another day.
D – Distance yourself from people and things that stress you out or overwhelm you.
E – Eat your favorite meal. There’s something about a fancy meal that puts me in a better place.
F – Fall in love with yourself. When you look in the mirror, highlight the things about yourself that you like instead of criticizing the things that you don’t like. Also, spend some time reflecting on your good qualities.
G – Give. Whether it’s your time, talents, money (some of it, anyway), or your things (again, some of them), giving to someone in need makes you feel so good!
H – Hug someone. Hugging a loved one or a pet can have positive effects on your mood.
I – Icecream. Need I say anything else? There’s a reason that children get so excited when they see the ice cream truck. It’s proven to make you happy. I’m serious. LOL.
J – Jokes. Tell them or listen to them. Jokes make you laugh and laughing is a form of self-care.
K – Kickboxing. Kicking and punching are great for fitness, but it’s also a great stress reliever. Before you kick and punch somebody that’s getting on your nerves, get involved in a kickboxing class so that you can relieve stress the safe (and legal) way!
L – Laugh often. Laughing improves your mood. Find ways to laugh as much as often, whether it’s hanging out with people who make you laugh or watching funny movies, regularly expose yourself to guaranteed sources of laughter.
M – Meal plan and meal prep. I’ve started planning and prepping my family’s meals for the week and it has made such a difference in my life! I’m no longer stressed out about what’ I’m going to cook when I get home from work. As often as possible, incorporate little life hacks like this to help reduce the feeling of stress and overwhelm.
N – Normalize self-care. Don’t just reserve self-care for rough days or days when you feel sad or stressed. The goal is for you to make self-care a regular part of your life.
O – Organize your closet or some other area in your home that needs decluttering. Several studies have shown that organized spaces are better for your mood.
P – Play. That’s right. Playing is an excellent form of self-care! So go ahead and dance, play frisbee, play a video game, or whatever else you consider fun.
Q – Quiet time. Periods of peace and quiet help to calm the mind. Try to create some quiet time in your life each day, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes.
R – Read a good book.
S – Say No! Saying no is hard to do, but it is such a major act of self-care. Taking on too much or taking on activities out of guilt is draining and leaves you feeling bitter. Learn to say no more often.
T – Take yourself on a date! I love to treat myself to a day of eating and shopping. I’m also not above catching a movie by myself. I love my “me” dates because I get to choose exactly what I eat, buy, and which movie I watch!
U – Understand that self-care is not negotiable! Your health and well-being should be of utmost importance to you. Make self-care a priority, not an afterthought.
V – Visit people and places that make you feel good.
W – Write a handwritten love letter to yourself. Include all the things that you love about yourself. Motivate yourself. Encourage yourself. Make it the best letter that you’ve ever written. Then, put it someplace so that you can access it on a day when you’re feeling down. I promise it will brighten your day!
X – XOXO. Love yourself enough to take time for self-care.
Y – Yes. Say yes to self-care. Self-care is not selfish, and it doesn’t have to be earned. Take care of yourself!
Z – Zone in! Get in the self-care zone regularly. Create a lifestyle of self-care for yourself so that you can be the best you!
Refer to these Self-Care ABCs whenever you need some self-care, but you aren’t exactly sure where to start.