Self-Care for Beginners + Creative Ideas
April 2, 2020
Self-Care for Beginners
+ Creative Ideas To Help Get You Started!
Self-care. It's everywhere. Instagram tells us to practice it. Whole books are published around it. There’s checklists and planners and stickers and all sorts of other tools we can use to make sure we’re incorporating it into our lives. But if you’re new to self-care, whether you’ve dabbled in it a little bit or you’re still just thinking about putting your foot in warm, lavender-scented bath water, all the resources and information out there can be overwhelming and potentially do the opposite and create even more stress than before!
That’s where this blog entry, "Self-Care For Beginners" comes in, because Self-Care truly is for everyone and our mission here at Self-Care Station is to make it inclusive and accessible for all regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, etc. There will never come a time in your life where Self-Care will stop benefitting you. There's no point where you finally “graduate” Self-Care and no longer need it. Self-Care will lend itself to your wellbeing and mental, physical, and spiritual health no matter what you’re going through and when you’re going through it. In fact, you may have already practiced self-care instinctually as a means to protect yourself and you may not have realized. Beginning the path to Self-Care starts with bringing awareness about the importance of Self-Care, learning tools and resources that will aid you in your lifelong journey, and taking an intentional first step to honor yourself.
Self-Care Starts With Mindfulness
First, let’s explore the biggest myth when it comes to Self-Care, "There's never any time for Self-Care!" This myth is one of the most powerful keeping people, maybe even yourself, away from exploring Self-Care practices. Self-Care, at its core, is a shift in how you exist in the world and how you relate to yourself. The bubble baths and massages are great, but they aren't sustainable or easily accessible, and don’t represent all that Self-Care is and all that it encompasses. Self-Care can start off being as simple as incorporating some mindfulness skills into your day: sitting quietly with your hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning and paying attention to how it tastes when it touches different parts of your tongue, the warmth of the mug in your hands, the scent throughout the kitchen... where else could your senses take you? Instead of trying to multi-task while you drink your preferred beverage, Self-Care invites your to slow down and intentionally practice self-compassion even if it's just for a moment, amidst all the chaos. When you’re going through a difficult time, offer yourself some stillness, gentleness and words of encouragement and understanding.
Self-Care Leads With Gratitude
Self-Care can also look like gratitude, as studies over the years have found that practicing gratitude can be the start of rewiring your brain to handle present circumstances and deal with stress better. A gratitude practice doesn’t have to be a prolonged amount of time sitting down with a journal, it can really be as easy and quick as thinking of three things you’re grateful for before you get out of bed in the morning, or setting alarms throughout your day to remind you to stop and find one thing you’re thankful for in that moment. When we adjust our perspective to see Self-Care as a time for our brains to recharge and a lovely way to speak to ourselves, it becomes more obvious that Self-Care is less about taking up your time and more about strengthening your inner dialogue and being kind to yourself and others.
Self-Care fully and lovingly encompasses all dimensions of your well-being. It compliments your body, mind, and spirit.
Let’s explore these three areas and go over some ideas for Self-Care that beginners can
effortlessly implement into their new practice.
Physical Self-Care, or taking care of our physical body, seems to be the most widely recognized form of self-care. If you aim to learn physical self-care from Instagram, you’ll be up to your ears in massages, essential oils, face masks, pedicures, and really anything that relaxes the body. But if you dig deeper into physical self-care, you’ll find reminders of the essentials. There’s things as straightforward as drinking enough water each day to keep your body hydrated. Going to bed and waking up on time to ensure you’re getting enough quality sleep. Bathing and cleaning yourself and your surroundings is extremely important for your hygiene, recovery and healing. Getting out into nature for a walk once in awhile to take in some fresh air and reward your body with movement. Exercising and eating nourishing foods is vital to strengthen your muscles and immune system. As you may already be able to tell, these are all simple yet profoundly significant ways you can physically practice Self-Care.
Mental Self-Care incorporates the mindfulness and gratitude practices we introduced earlier. The more intentionality and positivity we can introduce into our minds, the more positive overall experience we will feel as the neural pathways in our brains will actually begin to change and embrace this new confident way of thinking! In time, our brains will be able to instinctively respond with positive messaging and thoughts rather than falling back into the persistently negative, habitual ones. For those beginning to think of self-care in this dimension, one wonderful gift we can give ourselves is to give our the pleasure of reading a good book slowly and mindfully. Ready many books! Strengthen your vocabulary and invite words and ideas into your mind. Be sure to stay curious and pay attention to how you speak to yourself and how you talk about yourself. Often we treat ourselves in a way we would never treat another human being, and yet we put up with it. As such, it is so important to implement self-compassion and treat yourself as you would a loyal friend. Being kind to yourself can take you far mentally when you’re working on re-training your thoughts to be more supportive and positive.
Spiritual Self-Care exists in the invisible plane between the body and the mind. When we discuss this dimension, you are invited to find some idea or belief higher than yourself to embrace that will inform your actions and purpose in life. It can be anything that you find faith in, connect with, or simply trust with your heart. There will be times in your life when you’re left with no choice but to trust in something bigger than yourself because you can’t see how a difficult situation will turn out. It is in times like these that spiritual self-care will support you and keep you lifted during a time where it would be easy to fall down.
This type of self-care can look like the types of sacred practices that embrace meditation and where your mind and body is in the presence of treasured items that hold great meaning. These tend to be personal and intimate spaces adorned with stones and keepsakes that speak to you, such as crystals, malas, small statues of gods, goddesses or buddhas, prayers to hang on your wall, etc. Just the act of surrounding yourself with items that make you feel protected and safe can improve your wellbeing! In this safe setting, practicing stillness and meditation for as little as five minutes a day can make all the difference. If being with your own thoughts is a little scary at the present time, we recommend finding a guided meditation app to help guide you. There are some great ones like Calm, Insight Timer, Headspace, and many more that let you choose a guided meditation. Find the one that best serves you. Embracing this daily practice will promote breathing, observing your thoughts and visualizing a more connected mind, body, and spirit.
Now Is The Time To Begin Building Your Self-Care Lifestyle
Many of the tips for self-care beginners throughout this post can be added into your life several at a time or ease in just one at a time if it feels too overwhelming. The pace at which you take this journey is up to you. The important part is that you simply show up to the self-care practice and take that first step on the path of wellbeing. This is the first step toward honoring you. You decide this is the time, now is when you create that shift, and begin adding these ideas as comfortably as you can and build a foundation. It is this foundation that will carry you throughout the ups and downs in life and keep you emotionally regulated and present so you can handle whatever situations arise with kindness, awareness and stability.
This is the core of self-care; it betters your life. This is what makes the practice worth sticking to, even if you find it difficult or frustrating in the beginning. Take some deep breaths, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, and stand up and try again. Because the payoff will be positively life-changing.