10 Ways to Upgrade Your Self-Care Routine for 2021
This isn’t going to be your stereotypical self-care blog with face masks, bath bombs, and Netflix series to watch. While we are all for these pieces of self-care inspo, we are looking to create a different approach. As we are reaching closer and closer to the close of 2021 (yikes, can you believe it?), we are requiring some extra special attention towards our self-care routine and what that looks like. With that extra special attention, comes ways to upgrade (cue Beyonce) your self-care routine either for the rest of 2021 or going into 2022.
Before diving in… quick question: what even is self-care? According to the dictionary, self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health”. That’s a pretty definition right there. Take a second to think about what you associate self-care with and how you define it. Keep that with you as you proceed reading. Remember that self-love should be synonymous with self-care. It is anything and everything that makes you feel recharged, replenished, and taken care of.
In 2020 and part of 2021, we spent a lot of time inside. A very easy way to upgrade your self-care routine is to get outside, get some fresh air. Even when it is cold or hot, getting some fresh air can have major effects on the mind and body. Perhaps you’re not someone who enjoys going for walks or the weather is just not conducive to your liking, atm. Take a minute to drink your coffee on the porch in the morning or to go outside & write your to-do list. If you are back in the office, prioritize taking a walk on your lunch break or breaking up your day by taking a phone call outside or just a moment to yourself.
We’re going to dive into this real quick because why waste time sugar coating facts? *insert shrug emoji here*. Self-care isn’t about what to do in order to take care of yourself, but it is also about what not to do. Setting boundaries isn’t just a buzz word in the mental health world – it is real for everyone. They can also be thought of as non-negotiables. Boundaries and boundary setting can be used as a shield to protect energy, mental health and overall wellness. Boundaries could be set with work, family, relationships, yourself, etc. This could be as simple as turning off certain notifications, setting a timeframe for answering work emails, or making sure that you get 1 hour of exercise per day.
Use a Calendar
A calendar can become overwhelming… quickly. This we know. However, there can be positives to using a calendar such as learning how to prioritize different tasks / categories within your life. There is also something about when writing something onto a calendar means that is much more of a priority alongside being prepared and on time. Similarly to everything else that is in your calendar, why can’t self-care be included? It is just as much of a priority as that one meeting you have next Tuesday at 10AM, so why can’t you do the same for yourself?
Leave The Hype Behind
If you are someone that has tried different popular self-care rituals and they haven’t worked, avoid forcing them into your life. Make sure to give them each a fair shot as sometimes good things just take time, but if you are over-analyzing the task or prioritizing it makes you stressed, then it is certainly time to re-evaluate. Maybe one day you’ll start a love affair with the practices that you so strongly disliked for so long, but right now self-care is for you and not the gram.
One of the very core pieces of self-care is investing time and energy into yourself. Reading is a classic and you can do it in many ways (audiobooks or podcasts are totally welcome!). Whether it is a self-help book, career advice blog, inspirational essay, you name it. If it is helping you take the time to learn something that you didn’t know yesterday and something that you can apply to your life, you are doing self-care. Time for a clap, friends.
Declutter In Small Batches
When thinking about de-cluttering, we are not saying that you need to dedicate an entire weekend to Marie Kondo-ing your life. Especially with work-from-home or hybrid model life carrying into 2021, studies have linked cluttered environments to stress and lower self-control. A trick to try out is setting a 20 minute timer and cleaning up a certain area. Once that 20 minute timer goes off, it is okay to walk away from the space. It will help keep cleanliness a priority without making it seem like so much of a chore.
In a world where it seems like we are always competing to see who can function on the least amount of sleep, take the time to analyze that. Disrupted sleep can cause all sorts of things – lack of productivity, an increase in hunger hormones, poor emotion regulation, etc.
Change Your Shower Routine
When reaching the end of your typical shower routine, switch the water from warm to cold for 30 seconds. This will help with energy bursts as your body tries to conserve heat and kicks your circulation into game-mode. Super cold temperatures may also help release endorphins to help boost your mood.
Refill Water Hourly
It is a simple habit and you may already be one of those people who secretly judges people who carry their water bottles with them everywhere, BUT… your body needs a lot of fluids in order to maintain proper functioning. You can sometimes slack on things, but your water game typically isn’t one of them. This is caring for your body is the most basic of ways.
Wake Up, Phone Second
Resist the urge to begin your morning by looking at your device. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, turn off the alarm and put your phone back face down. Take the time to do the rest of your morning routine, nourish your body with some food, and then proceed by fully connecting in when taking a look at your phone. We live in such a hyper-connected world that we can forget that it all can be too much, sometimes.