How I Practice Self-Care Every Single Day

posted by Andrea | 10/10/2018

For a very long time, I had the underlying impression that “self-care” was a luxury or an extravagant indulgence… definitely not something the average person could achieve on any sort of regular basis.

I considered self-care to be all those extra, over-the-top things people (mostly women) did to unwind after a long week, escape from an over-worked lifestyle, sooth emotional turmoil, or run away from problems.

  • luxurious spa treatments
  • exotic weekend getaways
  • expensive shopping sprees
  • copious amounts of wines or other alcoholic drinks
  • fancy chocolates and rich desserts
  • bubble baths with candles and high-end spa products
  • manicures, pedicures, massages, facials
  • etc. etc.

I figured I must not be “good at self-care” as I don’t do or enjoy any of the things listed above (except maybe the rich dessert!)

But then I felt a little guilty for not being good at self-care, guilty for not taking time for myself, and guilty for not making “me” enough of a priority in my daily life.

How silly!

Of all the things women are programmed to feel guilty about, of all the things we are told we should worry about, of all the things we feel we must accomplish each day, self-care should NOT be grouped in with these activities!

 

As I’ve thought more about self-care these past few months, 3 specific thoughts came to mind.

1. Self-care does not need to be extravagant!

It doesn’t need to be expensive

It doesn’t require traveling… or even leaving your home.

It doesn’t require spending money.

It doesn’t require eating or drinking crazy numbers of sugar and calories.

It doesn’t even require much planning or forethought at all.

If you’ve also been under the erroneous impression that proper self-care requires extravagant amounts of time, money, energy, calories, etc. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to what self-care looks like in my life (keep reading!)

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2. Self-care should not cause added stress or guilt.

Half the women I talk to feel STRESSED because they DON’T take any time for themselves and just keep working day-in and day-out in attempts to keep their busy lives from totally unraveling. They know they should try to do more for themselves, but those thoughts just cause more stress because they have no idea how they could possibly fit anything else into their jam-packed days.

The other half often say they feel GUILTY because they DO take time to ‘get away’, to do something for themselves, to practice self-care. They feel like they should be catching up on laundry, working ahead in their careers, making freezer meals, spending more time with their family, getting a jump-start on holiday planning, etc.

Self-care feels like a losing battle at times — we feel stressed if you don’t do it, but guilty if we do!

If this sounds familiar, I would encourage you to take a deep breath, let go of all preconceived ideas of what you think self-care SHOULD look like, and keep reading!

 

3. There is no right or wrong way to do self-care.

If you’re in the “stressed out” category I mentioned above, part of that stress might be due to the fact that you’re worried about doing self-care the “right way” — and really, there isn’t a “right” or a “wrong” way to do self-care. It’s all individualized based on your own personality!

As long as you are focused on treating yourself kindly and doing something to actually CARE FOR YOURSELF, you can’t really be wrong.

If you’re not sure how to treat yourself kindly or adequately care for yourself, you are not alone! So many women I talk to have no concept of self-care (other than it must mean spending lots of money at the spa or going on a luxury vacation.) Just keep reading…!

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In my opinion, self-care should be something we enjoy, something we can effortlessly work into our everyday lives, and something that reduces our stress (not causes unnecessary stress or guilt because we fear we aren’t doing it “right”!)

This is what self-care looks like for me (at this point in my life).

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Self-care might look very different for you — in all honesty, it might look very different for me in another 5 to 10 years! The point is, we’re doing something to CARE FOR OURSELVES.

If we can achieve that on a regular basis without feeling guilty, stressed, or always wondering if we’re doing it “right”, we are on the right track!

Stop what you’re doing and write down 5 ways you can practice a little self-care today.

  • Maybe it’s passing up that 2nd brownie in favor of of a more nutritious alternative that will ultimately make you feel so much better.
  • Maybe it’s turning the TV off instead of watching “just one more episode” of your favorite Netflix series so you can get to bed at a reasonable time and feel more rested tomorrow.
  • Maybe it’s sweating it out in the gym even though you have 100 other things you could be doing, because you’re working towards a goal and you don’t want to let yourself down.
  • Maybe it’s surrounding yourself with people you love and people who make you feel great.
  • Maybe it’s working a period of rest or quiet into each day — a time when you can do whatever you want to refresh and regroup.
  • Maybe it’s honestly evaluating your current time commitments and limiting yourself to a reasonable number of extra tasks so you stop feeling overly busy and stressed.
  • Maybe it’s staying away from the mall because you know you can’t go in without buying something and you have a specific savings goal.
  • Maybe it’s grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting at a park with a friend or your spouse.
  • Maybe it’s actually waking up when your alarm goes off instead of hitting snooze 5 times.
  • Maybe it’s doing one small thing every day… just because it makes you happy.
  • Or maybe it’s manicures, massages, bubble baths, wine, and chocolate — not my choice, but great if they work for you!

Self-care does not need to be extravagant, it should not cause you extra stress or unnecessary guilt, and it really can’t be done “wrong”… 

How do YOU (or will you) practice self-care on a regular basis?

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31 comments

  1. liina

    10/15/2018

    I’ve been a long time reader and love your content. The ads flashing and popping up all over your page are highly distracting, and I am choosing to not read here because of them. I wanted to let you know in case others feel the same way and leave too. It is a shame.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    If you’d like to receive my content without the ads, you may sign up for my free daily emails. You’ll get the posts emailed directly to you each afternoon, and they shouldn’t have any ads 🙂
    Also, please keep in mind that this is my job… I’m sorry you feel my desire to earn an income from my job is a “shame” but please know that the reason you have been able to enjoy my blog for such a long time is because of the ads and sponsored posts that allow me to continually provide all content on my blog completely FREE for you and all my other readers.
    Thanks for sharing your opinion.

    [Reply]

  2. Mariángeles

    10/13/2018

    Great post. I totally agree!
    With postpartum depression I totally forgot about myself ☹️ I lost any possible self-care habit I once had… Almost three years later, I’m slowly going back to myself and my scrapbooking, which used to be my hobby
    I still have a lot of work to do with my health, both mental and physical, but getting there! ❤️

    [Reply]

  3. Linda

    10/10/2018

    Great article Andrea!! What a blessing you are.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Linda!

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  4. Cathy Howell

    10/10/2018

    I would add just one thing to this music! it soothes my soul and also relieves stress. I remember growing up and mom turning up the radio and everybody in the house would stop and have a dance break. my children can say the same of the house they grew up in and now my grandbabies enjoy the dance breaks also!!! Awesome article btw

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good point — my kids LOVE dance parties!

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  5. Jenny

    10/10/2018

    This post and the comments made me reflect on how this changes over our lives! Some of the things people do seem silly or over-indulgent, but maybe to them it’s not. I like simple: tea, book, chocolate, walk, cheap outing with friend, etc. The point is that I know it is good for me to “treat” myself a little bit and know that I matter, and that (I think) life should be at least a little bit fun and joyful!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes exactly! I’m totally not a bubble bath, spa person — but I know other people wouldn’t want to wake up earlier or so the things I do to care for myself.
    And yes, life definiteliy should be VERY fun and joyful!

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  6. Donna

    10/10/2018

    This is my new favorite post! I love your writing as it always makes me see things in a different way. I’ve always hated the terms “self-care” or “treat yo-self” or “me time” – examples of these types of things always seemed to result in “paying for it later” – which produces guilt! I so enjoy the examples you gave which are ways you can genuinely care for yourself.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks so much Donna!

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  7. Alissa

    10/10/2018

    I was just thinking about self-care today. One statement that struck me when I heard it on a podcast (and has stuck with me) is, “There is a difference between self-comfort and self-care.” I think both can be valuable but often when people (women) say, “I am taking a day for self-care” their list of activities strike me as more self-comfort.

    Right now self care looks like – going to bed on time, finding one moment of joy each day (and feeling thankful for it AND not feeling like I have to document it, just taking a moment to say “Wow what a great moment”). If I get to drive somewhere by myself, I like to drive in silence. It feels like a treat these days.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is SO good — Thanks for sharing Alissa! I love the “self-comfort” versus “self-care” — they definitely ARE different!

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  8. Amie

    10/10/2018

    The best self care item you mentioned was getting enough sleep! I don’t do this and that is not showing self care!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    honestly, you’re probably right. It’s so simple, but NOT so easy to do!

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  9. JoAnn C.

    10/10/2018

    This is a timely post for me today. When I was my mother’s full-time caregiver, I would get up two hours early so I could read and drink a cup of hot coffee for an hour before I would get myself ready for challenges of the day. LAST WEEK, a year and a half after her passing, I realized I didn’t have to keep getting up early. I could sleep in an hour and a half every morning. Yay me!. A simple and beautiful, way to treat myself.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — good for you! Enjoy your extra sleep 🙂

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  10. Gaynor

    10/10/2018

    One of mine is sitting down with a cup of tea to read your blog Andrea! Another is doing some craft work. I’m 60 and have NEVER done craft work but since I retired a couple of years ago I’ve got into it a bit, especially Christmas decorations. I like to use some natural elements so have been painting rocks, doing pebble art and making wreaths, as well as paper angels and xmas trees from antiqued paper (dyed with coffee). I use Pinterest for inspiraton and just find it so relaxing – it’s like being back in art class in school. When my husband asks what I’m doing I usually respond – playing!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — glad my blog has been a relaxing source of self-care for you!
    Enjoy those crafts!

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  11. Diana

    10/10/2018

    Love your list! Mine is a cup of tea in the afternoon, pretty much regardless of how much else there is to do around the house. I work better after that small rest!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I was just talking with a neighbor about this yesterday. She has coffee EVERY day at 3:00 (just before he kids get home from school). I’m not a coffee or tea drinker, but I thought that was a great idea! A way to regroup before the kids arrive home!

    [Reply]

    Diana Reply:

    How do you survive?! Just kidding! It’s not the caffeine for me, but a hot, flavorful beverage is a comforting moment and relaxes me. That “regrouping” is a real thing! Getting ready for the crazy that’s left in the day 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha! I’ve never been a “caffeine” person and although I LOVE the smell of coffee, I do not love the taste! My “rougrouping” time is sending the boys upstairs for a bit while Clara is napping… I prep dinner and clean up the main floor so it LOOKS nice. Then we look at books quietly until Nora gets off the bus — which is when ALL the craziness begins! 🙂

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  12. Michelle

    10/10/2018

    AWESOME- thank you.

    [Reply]

  13. Annette Silveira

    10/10/2018

    I agree with everything you’ve said. I would add-a hot bath with Epsom salt and apple cider vinegar once a week. Such a luxury for me.

    [Reply]

  14. Meghan

    10/10/2018

    Mine are:
    Having a well stocked pantry
    Freezer cooking
    Working out at least three times a week
    Going to bed a little early to read my Bible, do devotional
    Going to the bathroom when I need to and not putting it off. Haha.

    [Reply]

    Olivia Reply:

    “Going to the bathroom when I need to and not putting it off. Haha.”

    You MUST be a mom – lol!

    Add to this list an un-rushed shower, and reading after putting my 2yo to bed (when I’m not too tired and just pass out instead).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know — so funny! I laughed, but I know it’s true!

    [Reply]

    Meghan Reply:

    I actually had this conversation in my head today: “I really need to go. Gotta get this one more thing done. SELF CARE! I’m going to the restroom.”

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh you are not alone — sometimes I’ll end up holding it for hours and hours without realizing it. Dave things I’m crazy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Great list Meghan!

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