How to Prioritize Self Care: easy ways to make self-care a part of your daily routine. Learn to nurture your emotional, physical & mental wellbeing by prioritizing self-care and taking care of yourself.
Caring for yourselves takes patience and time, and while our modern lifestyles often force us to neglect our physical and mental health, we need to make a conscious effort to spend time looking after our bodies, minds, and souls.
Self-care should never be an afterthought and should be a high priority for everyone. Simply setting aside time to take care of yourself is the first step to prioritizing self-care.
What exactly is self-care?
The World Health Organization has defined self-care as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
While its scope is broad, caring for yourself involves actively taking the time to look after your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social self to improve your general well-being and life satisfaction.
What are the five types of self-care?
From taking a few minutes a day to meditate, to eating healthily, to getting enough rest, self-care comes in many shapes and forms:
- Emotional – To understand our deeper selves, what we want in life, and how we plan to get there, we need to reflect on our emotions. This type of self-care helps us to connect to and process our emotions. Writing in a journal and engaging in a creative hobby are examples of emotional self-care.
- Physical – Managing our physical health has a ripple effect on our mental wellbeing. Physical self-care ideas include joining a yoga class or fitness class, sleeping enough, and eating healthily.
- Mental – Stimulating our minds by reading, educating ourselves, and interacting with interesting people is essential to our overall well-being.
- Spiritual – Thinking of the bigger picture by engaging in meditative practices and spending time appreciating nature forms a big part of our understanding of the world and our place in it.
- Social – We should spend time with those we love and care for to enhance our social relationships.
1. Learn how to say ‘no’
A pivotal lesson you’ll learn when prioritizing your time is learning to say ‘no.’ Whether your friends are probing you to join them on a night out or whether your boss is making you work too many overtime hours to count, it’s essential you know when to say ‘no.’
If you don’t manage to say ‘no’ to people too easily, you’ll end up spending your time doing more for others than for yourself. Eventually, you’ll build up resentment towards those people and even yourself and perhaps explode at an unexpected (and often inconvenient) time.
Your best bet is to ensure you don’t reach your breaking point by turning down invites and declining work to give yourself time to make your own routine a priority. It’s an empowering action to establish boundaries with those you love and those you work for.
As counteractive as it might be, saying ‘no’ when you need to can be more beneficial to both sides of a relationship than resentfully saying ‘yes.’
What does prioritizing yourself mean?
Prioritizing yourself means considering everything your body needs and making sure you get it. Giving yourself the time of day and attention to focus on what you need by spending time working on your goals, desires, and self-care routine.
Why is it important to prioritize yourself?
If you’re prone to giving more of your time and love to those around you, you might be neglecting your own self by falling short of your goals, hopes, and dreams in the hope of lifting those around you instead.
4 reasons you should be prioritizing yourself:
- You need to reach your personal goals.
- You can’t be expected to give to others without giving to yourself.
- You must love yourself foremost before you turn your attention elsewhere.
- The bottom line is that the only person who will prioritize yourself the way you need is you.
Is it selfish to prioritize yourself?
While it might seem selfish and counteractive to take some time for yourself rather than spending it on someone else, it’s in fact highly productive and will help your relationships in the long run in a variety of ways.
- Spending time focusing on and improving your own mental and physical health improves our general wellbeing and makes us more pleasant to be around.
- We are less likely to resent our loved ones if we feel we aren’t forced to always do what they want, on their time.
How to prioritize yourself?
The best way to prioritize yourself is to decide what your body needs, set time aside, and give yourself what your body requires.
From eating healthy food to regular exercise and meditation to getting an adequate amount of sleep each night to create a self-care routine, you should start doing more of what you enjoy and crave and less of what you don’t.
While there will always be certain things we need to do which cannot be avoided, you’ll be surprised at how much time in your day you can free up for your own self, by saying ‘no’ to the things that don’t bring you joy.
2. Journal your short term goals
When we talk about goals, we often refer to long-term plans. It can be daunting to think about where you might be in 5 years, and when prioritizing our self-care routines, it’s more beneficial to focus on our short-term aspirations.
Consider what you would like to achieve at the end of each hour, day, and week. Journal these thoughts and add them to a weekly planner. Research shows that keeping a weekly or monthly calendar or a to-do list helps you manage your time better while improving your productivity levels. It can also be a great stress relief to check things off your lists.
When we write down our hopes and dreams on paper, we are more likely to seriously consider them in our daily activities and are constantly reminded of what steps we need to take to make our goals a reality.
It’s important to pay attention to how you feel and reflect on your progress, making sure not to put extra pressure on yourself and prioritize your health over your career and social aspirations.
How do you decide on your priorities?
The best way to figure out what you should prioritize is to take a moment to think about what your mind, body, and soul crave. Whether you need better nutritional attention, and more sleep or crave some simple alone time, make time to accommodate yourself.
Add simple activities, such as an afternoon nap or time to cook a healthy meal to your self-care routine. By giving your body, mind, and soul what it needs, you’ll be improving your overall physical and mental health while making yourself more approachable for yourself (and others).
How do you prioritize your personal goals?
If you’re wondering how to prioritize self-care, the best way is to set physical time aside to achieve your goals. We must ignore the critics; and compliment ourselves on our achievements, however small they may be, while giving ourselves adequate time to achieve the goals we set ourselves.
3. Start a self-care routine
A self-care routine is a great way to set aside time to improve ourselves and our happiness.
Checklist to start a self-care routine:
- Find what makes you feel most centered and satisfied.
- Brainstorm how you could incorporate what you enjoy doing into your daily life more.
- Schedule time to relax and find ways to unwind.
- Set yourself self-care aspirations.
- Check in with your progress and see what you are managing to do right and what you aren’t giving yourself enough time and space to do.
- Keep adjusting your routine to better fit in with your daily tasks and schedule.
What are good self-care ideas?
- Do physical exercise, but don’t overdo it.
- Meditate daily.
- Try this self care shower routine.
- Engage in a creative outlet or hobby to get your creative juices flowing.
- Make sure you get between 7 and 9 hours of good quality sleep each night.
- Laugh every day.
- Spend time outdoors and in the sun. Experts state that getting between 10 – 30 minutes of sun exposure each day can increase our vitamin D levels.
- Make time to cook and eat healthy and nutritious food.
- Spend time with people who bring you up and avoid those who bring you down.
If you’re ready to create a self-care routine, check out the 30 day self-care challenge by What’s Good?.
4. Pay attention to the way you feel and switch up your schedule
While habits can be comforting and convenient, it’s important not to become complacent in our daily activities and to continue to challenge ourselves to be the best we can be. The best way to do this is to explore new ways of doing things by adding, removing, and switching our daily schedules.
Doing things differently helps to take us out of our comfort zone and activate different parts of our bodies and brains. Changing our routine can help us figure out how to better achieve our goals by learning from experience.
5 tips for switching up your daily self-care routine:
- Visit new places.
- Join a new gym/exercise class.
- Explore your own area by walking new routes (safely).
- Explore cooking different meals.
- Do your grocery shopping at a different store.
5. Create a ritualistic bath time
A great form of self-care can be found in a good cleansing ritual (physically and mentally). Schedule time to indulge in a warm bubble bath, light some candles, add some essential oils to your bath, and enjoy the soak.
While cleaning ourselves has obvious benefits of hygiene and self-love, while making us feel refreshed and renewed, it’s also a great way to moisturize and hydrate our skin and hair.
A warm bath is associated with reducing blood pressure, easing breathing, relieving muscles and joints, and maintaining our bodies’ natural temperature.
6. Pay attention to your social media screen-time
One of our generation’s greatest challenges is monitoring and controlling the amount of time we spend scrolling through our smartphones.
Being in constant contact with our closest friends and watching what total strangers do on an hourly basis can cause us to compare ourselves and our lives with other people.
This brings us into a negative cycle whereby we feel the need to constantly ‘watch’ and aspire to other people (often ‘influencers’). However, it’s important to remember that ‘influencers’ are there to do just that – influence, and their daily lives hardly look like what they portray on their social accounts.
The benefits of limiting time on social media:
- You’ll spend less time comparing yourself to others and more time focusing on your own wellness.
- You’ll better protect your personal privacy by not revealing where you are and what you are doing at all times.
- It will free up significant time to spend on yourself or with loved ones. The average young adult spends an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone each day.
- You’ll live more in the moment and be more aware of your surroundings. At the same time, you’ll be less likely to obsess over the past by searching for old friends and ex relationships on your social media.
- Your overall happiness and mood will improve as a direct result of the above.
7. Plan your meals to spark your creativity and give you energy
Eating healthily offers a myriad of benefits for our bodies. From increasing our energy levels, immune system response, moods, heart and organ health, as well as aesthetic looks, it’s the one action we should all focus our attention on.
I try to plan my weekly meals, writing down the healthy ingredients I wish to consume, matched with unique and delicious recipe ideas.
While cooking nutritious food, which increases your energy levels, you’ll have a chance to use the creative side of your brain, all while learning and improving a new skill!
8. Carefully choose who you want to spend your time with
Like saying ‘no’ to things that don’t bring you joy, we must make our time a priority by spending time with those who lift our spirits and make us happier while limiting the time we spend with toxic friends make us feel unworthy.
This is a more difficult commitment to make than expected, as it can be hard to decline invitations and avoid toxic relationships. However, the benefits from surrounding yourself with positive people who bring you joy and confidence will be life-changing.
9. Schedule a few minutes a day to relax
It might sound crazy, but with a busy work and social schedule, it’s important we pencil in time to relax. You won’t benefit from running from one activity to another if you don’t give yourself downtime to unwind in between!
My favorite time to relax is usually at the end of the day when I have completed everything I need to do. By winding down before you head to sleep, you’ll also increase the quality of your sleep.
The line between prioritizing self-care and selfishness isn’t as thin as it seems. Learning how to prioritize self-care and taking care of yourself is essential to maintaining a healthy body, mind, and social relationships.
Meditation is a great way to relax your mind and practice mindfulness. You can listen to these guided meditation videos daily for great results.