IT’S TIME TO LOVE YOURSELF: HOW TO DESIGN A SELF-CARE PLAN By Sarah Kuta

It’s time to take care of number one. Self-care is exactly what the name implies: taking good care of yourself in every way possible, which includes your physical health, emotional health and mental health. And while self-care has certainly gotten more attention in recent years, it’s more than just a passing phase. Self-care is a necessity, and it’s here to stay. Here’s how to design a self-care plan that’s right for you.

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WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT?

 

Today, we’re faced with an ever-increasing number of tasks and stressors, which can feel almost impossible to juggle all at once—and the risk of burnout is real. Self-care involves taking a step back from all the chaos and busyness of your life to spend some time focused solely on yourself.

Removing yourself from the hustle and bustle of everyday life offers a chance to rest, re-charge, rejuvenate and check in with yourself. It can help you feel better, manage your stress, establish a better life balance, and even improve your quality of life.

Even better? Self-care coping strategies can be as simple as going for a short walk, tidying up or enjoying a treat that tastes good and makes you feel even better

HOW DIET IMPACTS SELF-CARE

You already know that your diet affects your overall health. But it’s also important to remember that what you eat and drink on a regular basis affects your mood, your mental health, your energy levels and, more broadly, how much you feel like yourself.

One of the best ways to support your overall health and well-being is to be intentional about your diet and fuel your body with healthy, nutrient-rich foods.

SELF-CARE STARTS IN THE KITCHEN

A diet fueled with high-quality fats can improve your energy levels and give you more fuel to pursue self-care activities. That’s because your body needs fat to function at its peak. Fat plays a role in brain health, hormonal function, and even mood. Eating more quality fats—like MCT Oil, olive oil, eggs and wild-caught fish—gives you the building blocks to feel your best.

COOKING AS A FORM OF SELF-CARE

Cooking and baking can also be therapeutic self-care practices. When you cook and bake for yourself, you’re nourishing your body and providing yourself with a creative outlet that’s accompanied by a delicious finale.

Preparing meals (and desserts) for others can also be good coping strategies for your stress levels—and you’ll feel good knowing you put a smile on the face of a loved one.

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HOW TO CREATE A SELF-CARE PLAN

Creating a self-care plan from scratch may feel overwhelming, but your template can start with coping skills that are as simple as going to bed 30 minutes early or setting a goal for how much water you drink throughout the day.

Wondering how to get started? We’ve put together a few simple self-care ideas you can easily incorporate into your self-care plan:

1. SET ASIDE THE TIME FOR YOURSELF

You might think you’re too busy. But even the most jam-packed schedule should include time for self-care. Whether that’s once a week or once a month, scheduling self-care is just as important as maintaining your work or social calendar. At the beginning of the week or month, sit down and pencil in time that’s just for you—even if it’s only a short window of time, you’ll thank yourself for prioritizing your own emotional needs.

2. EXPLORE DIFFERENT SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care. The important thing is that you’re participating in an activity that makes you feel happy, refreshed and fulfilled. Your self-care activities may include a facial, organizing your junk drawer, spending time with your pets, baking a batch of brownies, starting a new craft project, a physical activity like running or something else entirely. As long as you’re doing something that makes you feel good and healthy, you’re practicing self-care.

Be open to pursuing new skills, too. Your self-care routine can include tried-and-true activities that you already love, but it’s also a good time to step outside your comfort zone. Brainstorm something you can try that’s totally new and different, like acupressure meditation, rock climbing, woodworking, birdwatching or following a new recipe. Discovering a new hobby can be a form of self-care in and of itself.

3. LEARN WHAT FULFILLS YOU (AND UNDERSTAND WHAT DOESN’T)

Your best friend may love heading to the spa, but maybe you’ve realized that you feel uncomfortable and you can’t really relax while you’re getting a massage. And that’s okay. Your self-care needs may look a lot different than someone else’s. Self-care is all about doing what feels best to you—not anyone else. If something is not serving you, set it free. Life is too short to spend time doing things that do not make you happy.

4. JOURNAL

Do you ever feel like a million different thoughts are swimming around in your head? Set aside time to jot all those thoughts down, be it once a day or whenever you start to feel overwhelmed by all of life’s stressors. In addition to supporting your emotional health, journaling is also a good way to track what’s working and what’s not working during your self-care journey. To hone your self-care strategies, take notes about how one activity makes you feel versus another.

5. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

It’s time to tap into your inner self and be completely present in the moment. There are tons of ways to practice mindfulness, including meditation, taking a scenic walk or simply unplugging from social media for a few hours. Give them all a try to determine which works and feels the best for you. We like to add aromatherapy to our showers as it seems we all have a tendency to reflect while we are in there (probably because its our only time of solitude).

6. BANISH NEGATIVE SELF-TALK

A lot of us have that little voice inside our head that makes us feel like we’re not good enough. As you’re thinking through your self-care ideas, pay close attention to how you talk to yourself. Show yourself compassion and love—the way you’d talk to a friend.

FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT SELF-CARE

Whether you work on your feet all day or have been going exceptionally hard with workouts or outdoor activities, prioritizing your physical recovery is an important aspect of self-care and overall wellness. In addition to eating plenty of nutrient-rich, healthy foods, you can show your body an extra bit of love with specific supplements.

  • Collagen replenishment: Collagen is your body’s natural way of rejuvenating itself. This protein plays a role throughout your body, from maintaining joint health to support healthy skin.
  • Gut health maintenance: Your gut is full of tiny organisms that help keep your body functioning in tip-top shape. If your gut microbiome is out of whack, you’ll feel less like yourself, which is why gut health is so important for self-care. Need a little help maintaining your gut health? Prebiotic can feed the good bacteria in your gut as it provides overall immune support, while collagen protein bolsters a happy, healthy gut microbiome.
  • Omega-3s for overall wellness: Omega-3 fatty acids, like the ones found in krill oil, provide support for your heart, brain and joints. This formula also contains antioxidants to fight free radicals, which is a key part of healthy aging.

The bottom line: Self-care is more than just a trendy catchphrase—it’s a way of life. Taking care of your body, mind and spirit should always be a top priority so that you can be the best version of yourself. Keep your self-care needs at top of mind, and you’ll feel energized and ready to tackle every item on your to-do list, no matter what life throws at you.

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