I love chatting all things self care with my audience and readers on social media; so, recently I asked you on Instagram stories to share your self care questions and wow, did you guys understand the assignment! You came at me with EXCELLENT questions that really dive into what self care is (versus what it often feels like it should be) and below are the answers to the most frequently asked ones.
Q: How do I start a self care practice?
A: Self care is personal to you and your needs so there really is no right or wrong way to start! Think about actions and activities that help you feel good and support your emotions. Check in with yourself and see what your body and mind are telling you. Do a body scan - start at your head and visualise checking in with each part of your body to see how it's feeling and what needs your attention. And finally, don't be afraid to try new things - if they feel good, great! If they don't, learn from that and try something else.
Q: How can I avoid self care feeling like another item on my to do list?
A: First ask yourself why self care might be feeling heavy for you - is it because you feel you need to meet certain standards? Are you comparing your self care to that of others or maybe you've modelled your self care practice around ideas you've collect from others and it's not really working for you? Next reflect on what you would like self care to look and feel like for you - what activities would you like to do more or try out? Finally, don't make self care performative; your self care practice is personal to you, you don't have to share it on social media or announce it in the break room at work. Self care can be soft, gentle and quiet if that's what feels good.
Q: How can I establish a self care 'routine'?
A: Remember that self care doesn't need to be on a time schedule - you don't have to book it into your google calendar or tick it off a list at the end of the week. Instead of focusing on creating a 'routine', reflect on how you can use your downtime and breaks to fill up your cup. Self care can be mindful breath work at your desk when you recognise you're feeling stressed or it can be planning to do a local walking trail at the weekend. It will change from week to week depending on what your personal needs are, just be sure that when you find time to check in with yourself that you do something that responds to your personal needs at that time.
Q: How can I find what type of self care is best for me?
A: Get to know yourself! I always say that the most important relationship you will ever be in, is the one you are in with yourself. So, if you want to learn what type of self care is the best fit for you, then you need to work on that relationship and spend some time getting to know yourself a bit better (which in itself is self care). Take yourself on a coffee or lunch date and spend sometime reflecting on self care in your journal. Try new activities and see what you like, research local workshops, try a new craft or hobby, read a new genre of book or listen to a different type of music. The more new things you try, the more you learn about what makes you feel good and fills up your cup.
Q: How can I pull myself out of a self care rut?
A: First of all try and take some pressure off yourself - it's totally okay to slip on your self care practices, it happens to us all! Then reflect on what your barriers or blocks to moving forward with your self care routine might be - I have a whole post on just that topic, so maybe start with the prompts in that and go from there. Remember that self care is about doing what feels good, so do something that brings you joy, mix things up and don't be afraid to try something new if what you have been doing isn't working anymore.