Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on

When you hear self-care, what do you think of it? How do you take care of yourself? How do you define self-care?

Are you thinking of bubble baths or long walks in the quiet woods?

Sure, self-care can look like that.

But, self-care can come in different ways.

Before we go any further, write down the top ten ways you practice, or want to practice, self-care for yourself.

Make a simple list in your journal.

Don’t stress out about it.

Jot a few things down and let it go.

Now, let’s talk about other forms of self-care.

Self-care can look like drinking plenty of water every day. It can be eating healthy, avoiding trigger foods, or even simply emptying the sink after you eat a meal.

Self-care can be what you put on in the morning, your clothes, your outfit. It can be wearing make-up. Self-care can be not just getting a manicure or pedicure; it can be keeping your nails looking nice between salon visits. It can be doing your hair, even if that entails nothing more than running a brush or comb through it once a day. Self-care can be putting your hair up at night or wearing a sleep cap to protect your hair while you sleep.

Self-care can be buying that pretty journal and sweet little pen, but it is also using that journal and pen to keep track of your thoughts on a daily basis or to track what you do every day.

Self-care can be vacuuming your living room. Self-care can be sewing up some pillowcases for your bed pillows that make you think happy thoughts. Self-care can be donating your time to a cause you truly believe in and want to support.

Self-care can take the form of reading a book for ten minutes a day. It can be knitting or crocheting for a few minutes, or a few rows, every day.

Self-care can be cleaning out your closet and getting rid of everything that makes you feel less than thrilled about yourself. Self-care can be skipping the ultra high heels to wearing flats instead so that you are comfortable.

Self-care can look like not wearing your grandmother’s favorite pin, but just pulling it out of the drawer where you keep it wrapped up and hidden most of the time so you can touch it and think of her every now and then.

Self-care can be wearing a certain perfume, even when you are alone because it reminds you of something or someone that makes you happy. Self-care can be the bar of soap you wash with, the scent of your laundry detergent, or the type of potpourri/incense that you use around your home.

Self-care can look like eating a chocolate bar even though you are on a strict no-sugar diet because you had a rough day and need a treat…or because you finished a big project and you need a reward, a little treat.

Self-care can look like so many little things that we can overlook or not even think of as self-care. It can be things we do every day and we never give a second thought to, like what we wear every day, whether we go into the office or stay home on the couch all day.

Now, take your journal back out. Make another list of ten things you can do, or want to do, to take care of yourself.

How are the lists the same? How are they different?

Do you still think you want to use everything on both lists?

What other ideas do you have now that you have seen a different side of self-care? What things do you want to incorporate into your daily routine?

Take your planner out or your monthly calendar and write in one single small way you will practice self-care every single day for a month.

It can be all of the same thing. For example, I will braid my hair every single day of the month. Or, maybe you will wear your watch every day for a month. Maybe you will wear a dress every day. Or flats every day. Maybe you will use that certain perfume that you normally save only for special occasions. Or volunteer at the animal shelter.

You can also take a long hot bubble bath every day. Or go for a walk in the woods. You can sit on the couch and read while eating chocolates for hours at a time if that is what lights you up.

Keep track of how well you stick to your choice for a month. This way, you will be able to see, after the month is over, if you want to continue doing this or maybe you want to change it up to something different. Maybe you want to wear slacks throughout the week, but only on the weekends will you make a real effort with your hair. Maybe you want to exercise three days a week, while you also go for weekly manicures. Whatever combination you want to try, try it out.

Journal about how these activities make you feel. Anything that comes up during the process, be it good or bad, so you can track how the experience makes you feel.

Do things that make you feel good about yourself. Leave the rest by the wayside.