How to Make Your New Self-care Routines Stick
Self-care is something that is deeply personal. Because of this, I wanted to jump in and write from my personal perspective and experiences. Hi! My name is Maggie Schott. I'm the Content Manager and a team member here at BeauGen. If you follow our YouTube channel, you’ve likely heard that a dozen times already. The second reason for speaking to you directly is that this is something about which I am passionate.
In the past I’ve been a coach, a ski and yoga instructor, and started my own business. Self-care has been an important part of my journey. The times when it waned, were low points of low productivity, self doubt, and impaired relationships. Through becoming a yoga instructor in 2012, I learned the direct correlation between my self-care routines and my health and productivity. That’s when the journey to make my self care sustainable began.
In this post, I’m going to share tips that I’ve found helpful so that you can make your self-care routines sustainable.
How to Make Self-care Sustainable
Learn What Works for You
I kicked off the post with this, but it bears repeating: Self-care is deeply personal. What works for other people in your life, your community, on Instagram, etc. will not necessarily work for you. The key is to take a bit of time to look inside yourself, to listen to your emotions, and your personal wants and needs.
Once you spend some time sitting with your inner thoughts and feelings, you can begin to identify what your personal self-care looks like. You might need to express yourself, which means journaling might be a great tool for you. Or maybe physical movement is the way you work through things, exercise might be ideal for you. Maybe you need to process or order your thoughts, so lighting a candle and sitting in stillness has a profound effect for you.
Being outside and active plays a huge role in my personal mental and physical wellness so it is a big part of my self-care routines.
The key is to learn what works for you before you start trying to make it a routine. If a self-care practice isn’t right for you, trying to make it sustainable is going to be next to impossible. And if you are disciplined enough to make it happen, you likely won’t enjoy it or find it meaningful.
Don’t Minimize the Activity
It doesn’t matter how great or how small the activity is. If it gives you joy, if it refills your cup, or pours into you, then it matters. Other people might not be able to see the impact of this self-care practice. And if they can’t, then they won’t see the impact it has for you. Don’t expect others to see the value in your own routines. As long as you see it, that’s what matters.
Knitting has for years been a part of my self-care routines. If being creative refills your cup, don't minimize it just because others might not see the importance.
Spouses, kids, in-laws, even friends might not see the impact or benefit of our self-care routines. If something seems silly, small, or unimportant they may make comments or not respect the time you have set aside for them.
Try setting boundaries around your self care routines. You might try setting boundaries around the idea of self-care at first. You can explain that you are working on your self-care, or that you are trying new things. When you find what works for you, and you’ve made it sustainable, then you can set boundaries around the specific activities.
I live for obscure sports like cycling and skiing. Part of my mental health during my pregnancy was making sure that I could safely enjoy these activities. We spoke with our healthcare providers first, and then we spoke with family and friends. Most were able to respect our boundaries, even if it did make them nervous. Now that we're a year and a half postpartum I think these activities still make some people feel nervous.
Give Yourself Grace
Establishing a new routine is work. It takes rearranging your schedule, making time for this new practice or practices. If you miss a day here and there, that’s okay. Try not to beat yourself up over it.
Personally, I like to schedule the next time rather than shoehorn it into today. That means if you are doing something daily, you focus on doing it tomorrow. If your frequency is weekly, schedule your next attempt for next week.
Select an Attainable Frequency
If you are a busy mom, trying to do something at a certain time everyday can be next to impossible. Try to shoot for once or maybe three times a week at first. If you are able to make this frequency work, then you can work on ramping up the frequency.
Often we set the bar really high and in doing so we can set ourselves up for failure. Small increments can have a profound effect. If you show up once a week with energy and eagerness, you can get more out of that self-care practice than if you were trying to do it every single day.
Set Aside Time for Reflection
When you can feel the impact or the value in something, you generally want to do it again. If you are able to take time to think about the activity and benefits you’ve gained, you’ll end up looking forward to the next time. Try listening or feeling the impact of the activity while you are doing it. Then after you complete the exercise or activity, check in again and really experience the difference it has made. This means that you’ll carve out time for it, and work it into your schedule which is essential for making a self care practice sustainable.