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How To Start a Self-Care Routine That Works For You

This is a guest blog post by Thalia-Maria Tourikis. Her content on self-care and living a slow-paced life truly sings to my heart and I knew she was my kinda gal and the perfect woman to share her thoughts on a self-care routine.

How To Start a Self-Care Routine That Works For You

Self-care is essential.

Not just for your overall well-being, but for your productivity too. Because as the viral saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

One of the most effective ways to make sure we are keeping ourselves “full” is by indulging in a self-care routine. The more you rest and take care of yourself, the more nourished you feel, so you can keep showing up as the healthiest version of yourself.

The problem is, self-care has been getting a bit of a bad rep lately.

Open Instagram or TikTok and chances are when you search “self-care” you will be bombarded with hundreds of videos showing beautiful, slender girls drinking green matcha lattes, waking up at 5 am and heading to the gym, doing a 12-step skincare routine or going on a hot girl walk.

Even I have to admit, that version of self-care is overwhelming AF.

Who has the time to spend 3+ hours on their self-care routine let alone wake up at 5 am and look pristine?

The truth is, that aesthetically-pleasing and perfect depiction of self-care is not real. Because self-care isn’t always about indulging in a skincare routine, having bubble baths or going to bed early.

Self-care is anything you do that brings you joy. Yes, it can be pretty messy sometimes and uncomfortable but it is what you choose to do within your self-care routine that is the important bit.

So don’t be influenced by what others are doing (or copy others for that matter) and build a self-care routine that works for you.

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What is self-care?

Simply put, self-care is any activity you do to help take better care of your physical, mental and emotional health.

It doesn’t always have to be external like drinking green smoothies or meditating. Self-care can be entirely internal where you set boundaries, practise self-love and find a deeper respect for yourself. (Yup, this can be the messy part!)

And while I’m on the subject of what self-care is and isn’t, let me debunk a few more myths for you.

  • Self-care doesn’t have to feel like a chore or be expensive – Self-care needs to be something you look forward to, not something that you feel the need to do because everyone else is doing it. So make your self-care routine enjoyable! Make it fun! But most importantly, make it work for you!
  • Self-care is supposed to make you feel good both inside and out – Yes, it might feel uncomfortable sometimes if you’re digging deep and connecting to your emotions but everything you do to take care of yourself needs to have a positive impact on you.
  • Self-care doesn’t need to be overly long or complicated – You are more likely to stick to something if it easily fits into your lifestyle. So do away with the 5-hour self-care routines and keep it short and sweet.
  • Self-care looks different to everyone – There is no right or wrong way to build your self-care routine. As long as you are gaining something from dedicating space to “me-time” then you are doing it right.

The benefits of self-care

Before we jump into how you can start your own self-care routine, let’s first look at the many benefits of self-care.

For starters, engaging in self-care can improve your overall quality of life. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, increase energy levels, and enhance self-esteem.

Self-care can also help you become more resilient in the face of challenges and better equipped to manage life’s demands.

Other benefits include:

  • Improves physical, mental and emotional health
  • Boosts productivity and creativity
  • Reduces the risk of burnout and exhaustion
  • Nurtures better relationships with others
  • Teaches you to appreciate your own company
  • Encourages personal growth and self-awareness
  • Increases overall happiness and life satisfaction

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How to start a self-care routine in 5 simple steps

Now that you’re clear on what self-care really is and how this version can benefit you, let’s look at how you can build your routine.

Here are 5 simple steps to implement today:

1. Find a gap in your schedule and commit to just 10 minutes a day

Taking care of yourself is essential but it doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to be effective.

In fact, self-care can be as short as a 10-minute practice.

As long as your self-care routine makes you feel good then that is all that matters. And if 10 minutes of self-care is all you can commit to within your schedule, then that is okay. Remember, a little bit of self-care is better than nothing!

So how can you commit to just 10 minutes a day?

Incorporate it into your daily routine. This can be as simple as setting time aside to read in the morning or going on a short walk to smell the flowers. It can be taking plenty of breaks throughout the day and getting ample fresh air. It might also look like taking a proper lunch break or going screen-free at mealtimes.

Doing things as simple as taking a few deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed, or putting on your favourite song and dancing around your bedroom for a few minutes can also make a huge difference to how you feel.

Incorporating self-care into your daily routine is essentially filling up your day with little moments of joy, gratitude and reflection.

So to recap, keep your self-care routine short and simple so it can fit easily into your lifestyle.

2. Set an alarm

It’s a fact that we are more likely to do something if we have a trigger to prompt us.

So set an alarm at the time when you’re most available during the day and say to yourself, “Ok, it’s time for a self-care break!”

Using an alarm to prompt you into taking a self-care break can be an effective way to establish a consistent routine and turn self-care into a habit.

Whether it’s a daily reminder to take a few deep breaths, stretch or simply take a break from work, having a trigger can help you prioritise your well-being and stay on track with your self-care goals.

TOP TIP: If your alarm goes off and you really can’t get away for a self-care break, then at least spend a few minutes checking in with yourself to see how you are doing. Reflect on what currently feels good and what feels off. And think about the small steps you can take to make the rest of your day 1% better.

3. Focus on your needs first

Self-care isn’t all about hot baths and pampering. It’s about human needs.

So when you choose to indulge in self-care, make sure you are doing something that you will actually benefit from. For example, don’t force yourself to go on a run if all you want to do is rest and relax with a good book.

By being able to pinpoint what you and your body need in terms of nourishment, you can be intentional with your self-care routine and choose an activity that better fits your needs rather than indulging in a random activity that you won’t benefit from.

Familiarise yourself with these 8 pillars of self-care so you can be more intentional with your routine and go directly to addressing your needs.

“By being able to pinpoint what you and your body need in terms of nourishment, you can be intentional with your self-care routine and choose an activity that better fits your needs rather than indulging in a random activity that you won’t benefit from.” Thalia-Maria Tourikis

4. Choose rituals that you actually enjoy

It’s important to remember that self-care is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

If you don’t enjoy yoga, then don’t force yourself to do yoga just because it’s a popular self-care activity.

Instead, take the time to test out different rituals to find what works best for you. This might involve trying out different activities, such as reading a book, going for a walk in nature, or spending time with friends and loved ones.

Don’t just copy what others are doing on TikTok or Instagram and wonder why you don’t look forward to your self-care routine.

Do what works for you always.

5. Build the habit

I know building a self-care routine may seem like a difficult and inconvenient thing to get into the habit of doing, especially when you’re busy. But once you get going I promise you’ll never look back.

Build the habit of self-care so it becomes just as natural as brushing your teeth in the morning.

Implement the above tips daily, or on a consistent basis, over the course of 6 weeks to establish your new habit and experience the long-lasting benefits of self-care in your day-to-day life.

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Author bio

Hey lovely reader, I’m Thalia, a holistic wellness blogger with an anti-hustle approach to life and building a business. I value calm, peaceful moments and encourage wellness through simplicity, self-care and slow living.

My blog, newsletter and social media channels exist to help you mindfully balance and navigate your day.

Along with being a self-care advocate, I’m a major bookworm, food enthusiast and travel lover. My goal in life is to buy a vineyard in the south of France, drink wine all day and eat bread and cheese while reading in the sunlight.

For more realistic wellness tips and self-care ideas, you can find me on Instagram and Pinterest under @notesbythalia

For more insight into my own wellness journey and everything in between, head over to my blog notesbythalia.com

And for a moment of calm straight to your inbox every Wednesday, you can sign up for my newsletter at notesbythalia.com/subscribe

Lots of love, Thalia xx

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