Self care means making the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical as well as emotional health. Basic self care practices helps you be more mindful and intentional about your life and how you approach things.
Self care is more than putting on a face mask or getting a mani-pedi every other week. Those are still valid forms of treating yourself, but basic self care is also about small practices in your day that help you be moe intentional with your life.
But as it goes with any habits and routines, you have to be consistent with them to see the changes. I often don’t get to indulge in self care ( hair masks, face masks etc) on the daily because I am a new mom and barely have time for things. But I have adopted some small mindful practices and habits that I do daily as a form of self care.
And if you find yourself rushing through your day, feeling like you barely get a breather, then this challenge is for you. It will help you be more mindful and be more present in the moment. And this form of self care is therapeutic, to say the least.
Why is it a challenge?
Well, before you say that self care is all about being gentle and being kind to yourself, then why is this a challenge.
Allow me to explain.
As busy humans, we are usually so engrossed in our daily lives that we don’t take out time for ourselves before we reach a burnout stage. And taking out the time, just for yourself, even if it’s just 20 minutes, can often seem impossible.
Mainly because we’re so set in our ways and also because we live in the hustle culture and taking out free time feels like you’re wasting your time. That’s why, when wanting to adopt these basic self care habits and practices, you will find ti difficult to take out time.
And you’ll have to fight a lot of limiting beliefs and tell yourself that taking out time for yourself is also productive.
And when you’re ready to take on the challenge, here is how it’ll go:
DAY 1: Wake up an hour before your usual wake up time:
This is especially important if you do not have a morning routine. For day 1, I want you to wake up an hour before your usual wake up time. I am not asking you to wake up at 5 AM or even 6. Just make sure you have an extra 30-60 minutes for yourself in the morning.
Starting your mornings slow and with intention will help you stay calm and focussed throughout the day. how you spend your mornings sets the tone for how the rest of your day is going to go.
The idea is to have 1 hour in the morning, that’s dedicated entirely to you, without the distraction of your phone. Take this one hour for a basic, mindful morning routine. If you have no idea where to begin, here is what a mindful morning routine can look like:
- Wake up & stretch your body
- Brush your teeth & wash your face
- Gently apply moisturiser & comb your hair
- Make your bed and change out of your PJs
- Journal for 10 minutes and write to-dos for the day
- Exercise for 20 minutes and do a little warm down
- Read for 10-15 minutes
All these small practices require you to be present in the moment and when you start your mornings like this, you’re already making improvements in your day.
Day 2: Get out of bed immediately & don’t check your phone:
We usually tend to check our phones in the morning. And ever since our phones have replaced the traditional alarm clocks, we do so unintentionally as well. You pick up your phone to turn off the alarm and see notifications from social media. And before you know it, you’ve spent 30 minutes scrolling mindlessly.
So, for Day 2, I want you to immediately get put of your bed when you alarm goes off and not check your phone. If you feel like you’re reaching out for it, out of habit, keep your phone in another room as you focus on yourself.
Not checking your phone will allow you to gather your own thoughts, instead of being affected by what’s everyone doing in their lives. And anyway, our minds are already quite stimulated from the fact that we’ve woken up, you don’t need to provide external stimulation as well.
Day 3: Workout as a form of Self care
For day 3 challenge, I want you to look at workout and moving your body as a form of self care. No matter how much you weigh or what your body size/shape is, you’ll feel good if you move your body in the morning.
I often don’t feel like working out, but I ALWAYS feel good after the workout. I am sure it’s true for you too.
So the idea here is not to take a workout challenge or a Chloe ting shred challenge. The idea is to move your body no matter what workout you choose.
And REAL CHALLENGE is to learn to look at workouts as a form of self care. It means that you work out not because you HATE your body and want to lose weight or lose a few inches. But you workout solely for working out and because the movement makes you feel good.
I keep saying here on the blog, that there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, but you have to be intentional about how you approach weight loss. No Fad diets or extreme workouts for one week. If you want to be healthier, start by adopting the right habits and the weight loss will come later.
Focus on feeling good and feeling healthy rather than focussing on the number on the scale or how many inches you need to lose.
DAY 4: Food as a form of Self Care:
Again, No matter how much you weigh or what your body size is, you need to eat. And you deserve to eat good, healthy nutritious food that makes you feel good on the inside.
So for day 4, I want to challenge you to be mindful and cook yourself a meal and take time to savour every bite of it. And you don’t need to cook something fancy. You can make your regular eggs and toast. But take out some time (Just 2 minutes) to make it look nice. Not for Social media, but just for yourself.
Food can be therapeutic and it can be a way of caring for yourself. To function properly your body needs proper fuel. And when you take out the time to cook yourself a healthy meal and to savour it, you are reinforcing the belief that you hold importance and that caring for yourself shouldn’t come secondary.
It is a very simple mindfulness practice as well. Having your food without the distraction of phone or TV asks of you to be fully present in that moment. And when you’re not distracted you can better listen to your body and how certain foods make you feel. It is a very simple practice that can help you understand your body better as well.
DAY 5: Create routines:
One of the ways you can include self care in your daily habits is by establishing routines that allow you to take some time for yourself every morning and night.
And while routines don’t happen in a day, it is still a great exercise to make some ideal routines according to how much time you can spare each morning and night and do them religiously. Then notice how having those routines in place makes you feel.
Routines are a great way to be more intentional about how you want to start your days and how you want to wind down after work. Spending hours scrolling through your phones and consuming content that’s not doing anything for you is of literally no use. In fact it is causing you more harm than doing good.
When you make routines, you are “forcing” yourself to adopt good habits, instead of being on your phone. You are enforcing these habits in your daily life. And as I keep repeating here on the blog, habits are one the easiest ways to improve your life. Habits are what allows us to make long lasting changes that have the power to totally change the course of our futures.
As a practice, write down what you’d ideally like to do in your morning and night routines and then slowly start adding some of these habits to your existing routines. When one habit sticks then add another and then another. And before you know it, you’ll have your routine in place and these routines will help you work towards your personal development journey.
DAY 6: Log off from work at a reasonable hour :
Having a healthy work life balance is important. So for day 6 I want to challenge you to log off from work a little earlier than you usually do. take out some time for yourself and do something you really enjoy doing.
Maybe take yourself out on a date. Sounds bizarre? It doesn’t have to be. Learning to enjoy your own company is one of the best things you can do for yourself and being intentional and mindful about it definitely helps.
We’re usually distracted by everything happening around us and by constant bombardment of news and push notifications on our phones. Logging off from work and taking some time for yourself is a really good practice. It is also really good because it helps reduce stress and helps you in avoiding burnouts.
It also reinforces the belief that even in today’s hustle culture, you deserve to prioritise your mental health and yourself. It will teach you to put yourself first and to not take stress and burden at the cost of your mental health.
DAY 7: Spend quality time with people close to you:
In today’s digital age, we’re losing the quality time we used to spend with people. We prefer texts over calls and relationships are more on the surface. but I am sure you have some friends and family that you value. So make it a point to take out some time from your busy week and spend some quality time with them.
I always make it a point to call one of my friends and schedule a Sunday Brunch/ Coffee catch up date. Also, have you tried catching up with friends over a long walk? It’s such a win-win for me.
It’s also important to spend quality time with your family. Be it your partner or your kids. It is such a good practice to keep your phones aside and spend some quality time together as a family. It is so easy to work on Sundays as well, especially when you’re working for yourself because the work never ends. And you can see the rewards so clearly sometimes that it’s tempting to keep working.
But I like to remind myself that if I can’t spare one day out of the week for my friends and to spend with my family, then what’s the point of having this luxury of working for yourself. And what’s the point of this whole dance of life when you don’t give yourself the space to actually enjoy the benefits that should come with it.
That’s it for the 7 day self care challenge. I hope you enjoy doing it and I hope it makes a difference in your life.