What are your self care priorities? The things you absolutely must to feel like you have been kind to your
self on a given day? The non-negotiables of caring for body and soul? It helps to think about these, because they give you a list to tick off when you’re wondering “Did I really take care of myself today?” Then you can either relax into your accomplishment or know exactly where you need to start to make things better.
Here are mine:
Number one definitely is sleep. I’ve learnt to prioritize eight to nine hours a night during my first year of college. It is simply astonishing how much easier and more enjoyable life is when you are running on enough sleep. Everyone knows this intellectually. But try it for a few weeks, and I guarantee that you’ll be surprised. Fun things are even more fun when one is awake while doing them, and not so fun things go from “Ugh I hate this, what did I do to deserve this?” to “Oh, this is actually not so bad.” Sleep enough, and your mood, and in the long run, your health, will do a 180. To achieve it, make bedtime nonnegotiable: at least 8.5h before you have to get up, to give yourself some time to fall asleep.
Next up are two items on equal footing: eating well and exercising. If somehow I can’t do one, I use the other to pick up the slack and not feel too bad, but to feel great, I need to do both. Eating well daily, but not necessarily at every meal, exercising almost daily. And if not true exercise, at least some form of movement, like walking.
The next is my favorite: reading. This is caring for my soul. When alone, that is my favorite thing to do. If I haven’t had a lot of time to read, be it due to school, or friends visiting, or just the general hectics of life, I almost feel a physical craving to sit down with a book. Once I do, I can finally breathe again.
A close second to reading: spending time with loved ones. For obvious reasons.
Writing. Reading soothes my soul, but writing keeps it untangled.
The last and least item on this list is grooming: I’m not really into makeup (but when I do use it, I feel like a self care superhero), so it comes down to manicure (DIY, sans nail polish), pedicure (DIY, currently red), reigning in my eyebrows, and washing my hair at a socially acceptable frequency. The basics.
If I do the first three on the list, I know I don’t need to worry. If I do the first five, I know life is good. If I do them all, I’m truly proud.
What are the most important parts of your self care routine?