My Realistic Self Care Routine

It’s winter in Canada. The sun rises around 7:30 am and sets at about 5 pm, which means that I drive to and from work in the dark. It’s also so cold that its hard to spend a lot of time outside, and my vitamin D deficiency is real. I also just lost someone who meant a lot to me. So needless to say I have to be very careful to keep up with my self-care routine and mindfully take care of myself.

Over the last few years I’ve developed some relistic self care rules for myself, and although often they get bent, I find that in the worst of times they can help to make things a little better. 

Daily 

Make Your Bed

“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.” 

William H. McRaven

I make my bed every morning, not always right when I get out, sometimes it’s in a rush as I run out the door. But I like routines and as the quote above states, it helps to remind me the little things matter too. 

Wake Up Early

I started doing this in the summer, as the sun would shine through my windows waking me up early.  In the summer it was easy. However, as the seasons change it’s getting harder, but those 30 minutes I get to myself after I finish getting ready make it worth it. 30 minutes to do whatever I want to do, 30 minutes where I am not rushing or running around. Waking up at 6 also means that I need to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Usually this is some time between 9-10pm. Ensuring I always get my solid 8 hours. I’ve recently gotten a Phillips Wake-Up Light (it’s actually my Christmas present, shhh…), so hopefully, that will help to make waking up in the pitch black a little easier. 

Get Outside and Get Moving

This one is probably the first one to go when things get bad, but also the one where I see the most difference when I do it. I have a bad habit of sitting in my house all day, for days on end. If I don’t work or have an appointment, or just have a reason to leave the house I won’t. I won’t even leave my bed. And in the winter this one is even harder than the others because of the snow. But if I get out of the house, for even 5-10 minutes a day it helps clear my head. In the summer, I love to go on long walks through our forest, or on a bike ride. And recently I’ve been trying to get to the gym a couple times a week, whether it be booking a class or just running on the treadmill I feel much better when I leave my house and get my body moving. 

Weekly

Do Your Laundry 

Sunday is laundry day for me. I do it every Sunday, as a personal rule, or I could go weeks wearing dirty clothes. So every Sunday no matter how I feel I throw a load of laundry in the machine to prep for the week. Sometimes its everything that’s dirty, sometimes its just the 2-3 things I know I will need to wear during the week. If I need a little extra pick me up (and I have the energy) I will also do all my bedding. I love sleeping in clean sheets, and despite the fact I always forget to put my sheets back on my bed till about 10 pm, it’s always worth it when I lie down. 

Take a Shower 

Showering is super hard for me. Not only do I avidly hate showering but I can easily convince myself that I can go an extra day without one (over and over and over). I try to stick to my Sunday shower being my all-in-one shower, meaning that I block out time to wash my hair, exfoliate, moisturize, shave, etc…  This whole routine usually only happens once a week, otherwise during the week its usually just a quick jump in – jump out body shower or a sink wash of my hair. 

Clean Your Space

I don’t tell many people this but you could usually judge how well I’m doing based on the state of my room. I thrive in a tidy space, and clutter makes me feel anxious. I have a place for everything and everything needs to be in its place. I love to organize and clean, but sometimes I just can’t find the energy. It also doesn’t help that if you skip a week it just gets dirtier and dirtier and then its even harder to clean. So on Sunday, I break out the cleaning supplies. My headphones go on, and everything gets done. My bathroom gets a deep clean, and my bedroom gets a tidy, dust, and vacuum. If its a particularly hard week just picking up my clothes off the floor and decluttering my desk can do wonders. 

Don’t Over (or Under) Book

I know myself well, and I know that as an introvert if I spend too much time around people and not enough time alone I get grumpy. Which in turn means I’m not fun to be around for anyone. I try to always book in time to be by myself, especially during the holidays. Christmas morning you’ll find me locked in my bathroom doing my hair and makeup for an hour, why? Because this is often the only time the whole day I get to myself. Sometimes this time alone is not possible, but I see a huge difference in the quality of my relationships when I get it. Not overbooking is important, but for me, so is not underbooking. I find it all too easy to spend time alone, but it is so important to get out as well. One or two outings a week with a friend or family member can make a huge difference. 

Those aren’t all my tips or tricks, those are just some of the main ones – and they also may not work for you. You have to determine what you need and what puts you in a better headspace and keep you on track. The whole purpose of self-care is allowing yourself time to recharge so that you can be better for yourself and those around you. It’s not allowing yourself to get burnt out (the whole put the mask on yourself before you put it on others). It’s not selfish, its necessary and important – make it a priority this holiday season. 

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