Self-care is essential for a healthy and fulfilling life. But it goes far beyond the weekend bubble bath. Here you will find out how to self-care correctly and what ten things you should do every day to give yourself the attention you deserve and to feel happy.
If we do not take care of ourselves, numerous problems are inevitable: exhaustion, overload, stress, illness, dissatisfaction… All of that and more is the consequence for all those who neglect themselves and ignore their own needs.
Self-care? I Do Not Have Time for That
But even though we know that, many people find it difficult to take time for themselves and to treat themselves with care. Certain beliefs are often to blame:
- We believe it is not appropriate to take yourself seriously.
- We think we would be better people if we put others first.
- And we want to please everyone, to work hard, or to be effective.
Self-care then seems like a waste of time. Take a break and take care of myself? I can do that when I’m dead!
And that’s exactly how we often approach the topic: we try to pack the necessary, but somehow tedious self-care into the one week vacation that we have coming up. 358 days a year, we relentlessly exploit our resources, but in the seven days on the Baltic Sea, we take it easy. Then the batteries will hopefully be recharged for the next self-destruction marathon.
Or we think that a ten-minute bath on the weekend will do the trick. Seven days a week, we treat ourselves how the nasty stepmother handled Cinderella, but on Sunday, we act for ten minutes as if we respect ourselves and take care of our health.
That’s not how it works.
Especially since self-care includes so much more than a little moment for relaxation and sleep.
Treating yourself with care means being kind and compassionate toward you. It means shaping the relationship with yourself positively, getting to know you, letting go of what pulls you down, and learning how to deal with your thoughts and feelings. It means having relationships based on respect, setting limits, fulfilling your needs, and shaping your life as a whole so that you can feel comfortable and flourish. And most importantly, it will help you feel happy
You see, self-care is not something we can tick off on weekends or on vacation. Self-care should accompany us every day.
Because every decision we make can be helpful or harmful. Self-care Every Day
Here are ten tips on what everyday self-care can look like and that you can practice every day:
1. Perceive Your Needs
Self-care means loving your needs. To do this, you must first perceive them. A simple trick is as follows: put two to three alarms on your phone over the day. When they start, stop, and listen to yourself: how am I? What do I need right now? Am I hungry or thirsty? Am I cold? Or am I angry or dissatisfied? What is the need behind it?
Once you’ve figured out what you need, meet those wishes. That means if you are cold, put on a sweater. When you’re stressed, get up briefly, go out, and take a deep breath.
2. Respect Your Limits
Self-care also means paying attention to your limits. What can you do and what do you want to do? If it is too much to help someone move — say so. And if you don’t want to have an open relationship — say so.
If you find it difficult to say no, proceed as follows: before you automatically accept and then get angry about it, take a deep breath and say: “I first have to look at my calendar,” “… speak to my partner,” “…. check the kids’ dates,” or simply “…think about it.” It gives you time to think about how you want to proceed. If you don’t want to respond to the request, say “no!” You can even practice that beforehand.
3. Stop The Unnecessary Self-Criticism
Caring for yourself also requires that you don’t mentally tear yourself up. If you catch yourself doing it, stop yourself immediately. Become aware of what you are doing in order to feel happy. Ideally, you question your thoughts and come to a more realistic view.
But even if you don’t succeed because you still have a hard time looking at yourself, at least say, “Stop! I don’t want to do that anymore!” And then distract yourself.
4. Hit The Brakes
If you belong to the people who always have to do everything perfectly, constantly try to please everyone, or believe that they have to do everything on their own, slow down! Tell yourself: “good is good enough!” “the cake doesn’t have to be a masterpiece!” “It is enough if I proofread the report twice!” “It’s okay if I get help!” “I can’t please everyone anyway. So I should focus on what I want.”
Reducing your demands is a long learning process. But you start to become aware when you fall into this pattern, and then you will be able to go against it.
5. Do Something You Enjoy
Treating yourself with care also means ensuring that there is often something beautiful and enjoyable to experience. And not only when the project is over, or the children have left the house. Otherwise, it’s not just the joy of life that quickly falls by the wayside. The meaning is also lost.
Why am I doing this at all? What is all this about? These are questions that come up quickly when you stop enjoying life. That’s why you always should feel happy. It can be enough to pursue a hobby, read on the balcony every evening, have a good conversation with your partner, go dancing, or enjoy an ice cream.
6. Start A Self-Care Diary
Writing a diary has many advantages and can serve different self-care purposes. On the one hand, it’s a wonderful way to get to know yourself better. For example, the diary helps you to reflect on what is important to you, how you want to live, what gives you joy, and where your strengths lie. The better you get to know you, the easier you can create a life that suits you, and that fulfills you.
Writing a diary can also help you learn more about your thoughts and feelings. What is going through my head all day long? What do I think of me? How do I feel? Am I dissatisfied? If so, with what? It is also a good basis to gain better access to yourself and to become more aware of what concerns you and help you feel happy.
7. Take Breaks
And many! Just as the weekend is not enough to recover from an exploitative week, a lunch break is not enough to regenerate from eight hours of strenuous mental or physical activity. Therefore, make sure to get up again and again throughout the day, lounging around, having a fresh drink, taking breaks, enjoying the view, going round the block, or having a short conversation with your colleague.
If you sit all day, it is good to exercise during the break (e.g., getting up, walking, yoga, etc.). If you work physically, it is, in turn, beneficial to sit down, calm down, and do something mental (e.g., reading, solving crossword puzzles, meditating, etc.)
8. Have Positive Self-Talks
We all talk to each other. We tell each other what we have to do or comment on what we are doing. Just as you should pay attention to your thoughts and stop self-criticism, pay attention to how you speak to yourself (loudly or quietly). Your self-talk should be compassionate, motivating, and positive. You don’t have to talk yourself into it. It is of little use to you to tell yourself that you are invincible. Especially if you have a negative image of yourself, you will not believe in it and fall into an inner defensive attitude.
So stay realistic. But also feel happy. Instead of saying: “oh dear, I still have so much to do, I can never do it!” Tell yourself, “okay, I will start now, do one thing after the other, and then it will be fine!” Instead of saying, “Oh man, I’m so stupid. Now I have missed the turn!” say, “oh, I did not pay attention briefly and promptly missed my turn. I will just turn around!”
Everything you say to yourself can be done in a compassionate, respectful, and friendly way. That is the right tone for you!
9. Stay True To Yourself
Do you often make compromises that feel lazy because they violate important values of yours? Do you often do things that you dislike because others ask you to?
Staying true to yourself does not always mean stubbornly enforcing your will or imposing it on others. However, it means that you become aware of your values and consider how you currently live in accordance with them or whether you are doing something that runs counter to your values.
Self-care can mean setting limits and saying “no” if you don’t want to do something. It may mean looking for another job or going to a couple’s counselling because your relationship is no longer what you need and what you hope for.
10. Take Your Feelings Seriously
Your feelings are important. They want to tell you something. So listen to them.
What do you feel? Is there a smouldering discontent that you carry around with you? Can’t let go of the anger at an injustice that happened to you? Do you feel bored and underwhelmed at work?
If you pay attention to your feelings, you can learn a lot about yourself, feel happy, and take care of your humanity even better. That doesn’t mean letting your emotions out in every situation from now on. Rather, it means perceiving what is actually there and thinking about what you can learn from it.