You’ve heard it time and time again, and even more so in the midst of a pandemic, a daily self care routine is absolutely critical. You can’t pour from an empty pot. Multi-tasking isn’t a real thing for the vast majority of people.
No matter how it’s said, it can still be tough to actually implement self care in your daily routine. This is especially true in the middle of a pandemic when you might be working at home along with a partner or roommates for the first time or taking care of children around the clock.
You can only go without self care for so long before you will naturally reach for unhealthy methods of coping. The exact amount of time you can go will vary person to person, but ultimately something will have to give.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms can range from substance abuse that leads to stays in a nearby drug rehabs to harmful practices such as severe food restriction.
Everyone could do better when it comes to self care, even those who undertake healthy methods on a daily basis. If you’re ready to implement more or better self care into your life, it’s important to know what to avoid just as much as what to consider.
Mistake 1: Doing Everything At Once
It’s great to be super-motivated to make positive changes, but don’t fall into the trap of embracing too much of a good thing. That sets you up for failure and resenting your new habits.
For example, if you haven’t exercised in months, it’s probably not a good idea to start 60 minutes of cardio, 60 minutes of yoga, and 30 minutes of strength training every day.
Such a schedule isn’t even suitable for elite athletes. Adopt one new habit at a time and make the length requirement reasonable.
Mistake 2: Assume The Most Common Practices Are The Best For You
Everyone says meditation is great for self care and it certainly can be. However, that doesn’t mean a specific approach to meditation is right for you. It doesn’t need to include sitting in silence and counting your breath.
There’s walking meditation, forest bathing, or guided meditation with an app. You also might not be ready or interested in meditation yet, and that’s okay, too!
Mistake 3: Just Going Through The Motions
If you already have an established daily self care routine, consider just how committed and connected you are to it. Maybe you squeeze in 30 minutes of yoga every day or a few times per week, but are you engaged?
Are you challenging yourself? Are you seeking out new ways to enjoy and explore your habit?
If not, that doesn’t mean the habit isn’t doing anything beneficial, but it could be doing so much more in the same amount of time.
When you catch your thoughts drifting during whatever you’re practising, it’s time to try new tools to reconnect.
Mistake 4: Drastically Changing Your Life To Implement Practices
Yes, self care will require some changes but that doesn’t mean this requires drastic changes. For instance, maybe you’re going to try to wake up earlier in order to enjoy a quiet house to yourself where you can engage in some self care.
That can work for some people, but if you’re a night owl and suddenly want to wake up daily at 5 a.m. instead of 7:30, you’re going to struggle.
If you do want to wake up earlier, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier per day for a week at a time. Ease into it.
Mistake 5: Spending Too Much On It
So, you’ve decided you want to start going on a walk every day. That’s a great form of self care, but at what cost? No matter what you’re going to try, resist the urge to spend a bundle on it from the start.
You probably don’t need new, special walking shoes, a new wardrobe, and the most luxurious new earbuds to take up this new practice.
It can be fun and exciting to get this new gear, and if you’re financially stable enough to indulge, you certainly can.
However, bear in mind that self care does not require much or any financial investment. In fact, little self care techniques can be cheap and easy to implement to get your started
Mistake 6: Making Excuses
You’ll always be able to find an excuse to delay or avoid self-care practices. Sometimes these excuses are actually valid, but usually excuses can be modified in order to make it work.
For example, maybe you think you want to start gardening but it’s too late in the year. That’s not true for a variety of plants, and certainly not for indoor plants.
Life isn’t going to stop or slow down so you can more easily incorporate self care into your life, and it’s going to be up to you to bend in order to make it happen.
Teaching yourself how to make changes to achieve what you want in life is actually a big part of self care.
Maybe you could write yourself a self care routine checklist. Write down your morning self care routine and your nightly self care routine and tick them off until you make these daily practises.
The more you practise the easier it will become. Happy practising.
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Authors Bio: Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing and is currently writing for Sober Nation. He’s written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles for many different companies. In his free time, you can find him running with his dog, playing his guitar or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.