Now more than ever it's important to take good care of yourself. In fact, leaning into easy self-care routines is one of the best ways to de-stress and create a sense of calm. Here are 5 simple routine ideas for self-care at home that you can start using today.
During challenging times one of the best things you can do for yourself is creating a self-care routine. Your instinct might be to care first for those around you, but taking care of yourself is actually a vital step in being able to take care of those around you. You can't pour from an empty cup.
With that in mind, here are 5 simple ways that can fast-track your path to nurturing self-care routines that support your well-being and keep you feeling calm.
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But wait. Why do self-care routines help?
Tough times in our life are typically characterized by uncertainty and unpredictability.
Career coach and writer Marty Nemko says: “Modern life, increasingly defined by unpredictability, can be anxiety-provoking, and routines provide an anchor of predictability.”
Routines become repeatable habits that provide consistency and allow us a few moments to care for ourselves. Routines also temporarily suspend decision-making from your to-do list.
As Dr. Steve Orma, a CBT clinical psychologist who specializes in treating insomnia, anxiety, and stress, points out:
“Routine helps with stress. Create a set schedule for doing chores, work tasks, meetings, exercise, paying bills, and all the usual things you need to do. Put these into your schedule. Once this becomes your normal routine, it’s easier to accomplish everything, because it becomes habit.”
But as anyone who's ever tried to create consistent routines can tell you, it isn't easy. Especially if you're already caught in the middle of a situation that's causing you to panic.
Use these 5 self-care ideas as a little boost of inspiration to help you on your way to building your own self-care routine:
1. Taking A Couple Minutes to Care For Your Skin
This is an easy one that you may already be partially doing on a semi-regular basis. Here are a couple of easy ways to build out your skincare routine.
Even when times are tough, I make sure to carve out some time every morning and every night to make sure I'm maintaining my anti-aging skincare routine with clean non-toxic products.
My morning routine always includes a vitamin C serum and a daily sunscreen even if I'm staying home all day. My current favorites are LilFox Haute C and Ilia Super Skin Serum that's skincare, light coverage, and sun protection all in one.
My nighttime routine helps me relax before bed and helps moisturize and repair my skin overnight, offering visible proof of caring for myself. For me, this helps to reinforce the benefits of maintaining a skincare routine built around products that prioritize the omission of problematic ingredients.
Weekly Face Routine
Facial masks can be a calming weekly add-in to your regular skincare routine. I use a facial treatment like a charcoal mask once per week to keep my pores clear. Apply it and then meditate or kick back with a book for an extra boost of calm.
Curious about creating a skincare routine built around clean beauty products? Sign up for my Safer Skin Care newsletter and learn more about clean skincare and makeup here.
2. Stretch the Day Out With a Little Evening Yoga
This is a great nighttime routine to lean into to help you wind down at the end of the day and prepare yourself for bed.
Research has shown that exercise, no matter the intensity or total time spent, can help your ability to get to sleep (and actually stay asleep). If you're looking for a quick guided yoga practice to help you wind down, I like Yoga With Adriene. She has several different length bedtime practices for winding down and restful sleep (and they're all free!).
3. Take A Stroll In The Great Outdoors
For another way to use an exercise routine to calm and de-stress, try taking a little walk outside.
Just like adding yoga into your at-home self-care practice, a little nature walk might help lift your spirits. There's even some research that suggests that getting outdoors can help you stay upbeat and maintain focus. This is particularly helpful if you're new to working from home.
I've been finding it so helpful to get some fresh air and get out into nature (while following physical distancing best practices).
4. Maintain a Healthy Eating Routine as Best You Can
Research has shown that one of the hormones associated with stress can cause fat and sugar cravings. This is why when we're stressed, we often start to crave comfort food. This is completely normal! It's okay to enjoy some comfort food (homemade chicken soup and casseroles are personal comfort food favorites) and taking some time to bake (my vote is for these chocolate chip cookies!).
That said, that same research also shows that, while it's normal to encounter cravings, maintaining your healthy eating routine can help you feel calmer now and in the future. It may be hard to shop for all your favorite healthy ingredients, but do your best to work in fruits and veggies. When in doubt, keep your dinner routine easy by leaning into quick Instant Pot recipes and recipes that rely largely on freezer and pantry staples.
5. Build a Nighttime Routine That Helps You Sleep
Perhaps the least obvious and most important to maintaining calm in the toughest of times is getting a proper night's sleep. If your mind is racing from a difficult day, sleep routines are often the first thing to go but can make the biggest overall impact on how you feel.
The routines already noted above can all be worked into a calming nighttime routine to help you prepare your body and mind for a good night's rest. Here are a few ideas to help you improve your sleep hygiene:
- Keep a regular sleep-and-wake schedule (even on the weekends!)
- Use the bedroom only for sleeping (if you're working from home, try to work outside your bedroom)
- Keep the bedroom dark
- Keep the bedroom screen-free and distraction-free (say goodbye to any electronics, computers or televisions)
- Avoid drinking coffee in the late afternoon or evening
I'll admit it: keeping a solid nighttime routine is always difficult for me. But I'm making an effort to start my nighttime routine earlier and I aim for at least 8 hours of shuteye.
What Will You Add to Your Self-Care Routine?
So there you have it, 5 easy ideas to start building self-care into your daily routine. With these simple tips, you're ready to start building a self-care routine that helps you wind down, find a little calm and get some much-needed rest.
Is there another self-care routine I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments below.