What comes to mind when you think about self-care?
Do you associate it with being selfish? Or, do you see the benefits, but feel you’re coming up short in sticking to it? Perhaps you find yourself wishing: If I could just develop a regular practice, then everything would feel right in my world.
Whatever comes up for you, imagine what it might be like to realize you already have a solid routine—you just have to recognize it. What I’m talking about is shifting the way you think to appreciate yourself for everything you are doing on a regular basis.
Often what’s missing in our habits is self-awareness. Here are three easy tricks to help you adopt a self-care mindset that will actually stick:
1. Make a List of What You’re Already Doing
The first trick is simple: Make a giant list of all of the things you do that could be considered self-care. Things like brushing your teeth, feeding your body, moving your body, getting rest—you get the point. Write down all the things you do that require you to look after yourself.
The next step is to make a list of things you love to do. They don’t have to be big things (but they can be, it’s your list). On my list I have things like: enjoy a cup of coffee, get outdoors, read a book, snuggle with my children, have a good belly laugh with a dear friend, go for a run, enjoy an uninterrupted bubble bath.
The point of this step is to help you become aware of the detailed picture of your idea of self-care—what you want to be doing and what you’re currently doing—and how far along you already are.
2. Take Time to Appreciate the Little Moments
Here’s where you consciously set out to appreciate the things you’re doing while you’re giving and receiving them. It’s often the step we overlook because we can get so caught up in believing we never have time for ourselves that we miss savoring the time we do get. And it’s all these moments combined in a day that make for a solid, lasting, self-care practice.
A trick I use to help me see and savor all the moments in my day is to say to myself: “This is a gift for you, from me.” I say this to myself while I’m enjoying those first sips of coffee, or brushing my teeth, or making my bed.
It’s a simple statement, yet it’s one that has a way of immediately waking me up. What we focus on becomes our reality—if we want more self-care, all we need to do is put our attention on what we already do for ourselves.
3. Regularly Check In With Yourself
Lastly, check in with yourself regularly. This gives you the opportunity to have an honest conversation with yourself about what’s working well, and what you would like to shift. Perhaps you’re getting enough exercise but have noticed you’re staying up too late and not getting adequate sleep. Or, maybe you’ve had lots of social time and have been indulging in rich food and drink and want to scale it back.
This step isn’t about beating yourself up for what isn’t going well. It’s about growing your awareness, listening to your intuition, and making course-corrections that’ll keep you on the path that feels best for you.
Regular check-ins give you the opportunity to pat yourself on the back for all of the self-care you’ve been implementing, and help you feel motivated to continue going in a direction where you’re stronger and better equipped to weather the storms that come up in life.
By Emily Madill, this article was originally published on Emilymadill.com.