How to Stick to a Regular Self-Care Routine

By Jenn Rockefeller

In our healing journeys, we know we ought to be doing this thing called self-care, but it becomes elusive when we actually have to take the time to do it. Some of us may not even know what self-care actually is! We may have heard of it, but what it is really? And how do we stick to a regular routine?

Self-care is the consistent practice of incorporating certain actions into our daily lives that promote health and well-being.

That’s all well and good, but when you are a domestic violence survivor (or survivor of other kinds of trauma), self-care becomes elusive because you are so accustomed to not taking care of yourself that you forget how. You were taught that doing something for yourself was selfish.

So how do you begin to include self-care practices into your daily routine? Doing so becomes especially difficult when you have additional priorities, like work and family. You can begin simply by writing out a list of things you like to do, or things that you want to try. That way, you are more apt to stick to a routine.

According to a Life Goals article, “The key in sticking to your self-care routine is finding activities that you love and that you look forward to at the end of a long day.”

Here’s just a small list that I made of things that I like to do:

  • Watching funny movies,
  • Talking to my mom on the phone,
  • Journaling,
  • Listening to my favorite music,
  • Meditation.

What other things can you think of that you like to do? Do you like reading, hiking, or painting? What are things you’ve always wanted to try that you were afraid to before?

When you do begin your self-care journey and incorporate things into your daily routine, it’s important to track your daily progress. Why? Because over time, you will see that you are building up momentum towards a more peaceful goal. You will begin to see tangible results, too.

One of the biggest keys to sticking to your self-care routine that I’ve learned is literally making time for it. You can’t say, “Oh I’ll get to that later or tomorrow.” I’ve had to set reminders for myself! Say you want to exercise for a specific amount of time in the morning and read each night, then set reminders. Maybe get up 20 minutes earlier in the morning. Set an alarm at night to curl up with a good book for an hour. Tell people that you will be unavailable. If you don’t carve out time for yourself each day, you likely won’t find the time to do it at all.

When you are in the middle of those self-care activities, be in the moment. That’s exactly what a HuffPost article suggests – be mindful of what you are doing when you do it. “Being mindful simply means paying close attention to what’s happening in the moment and learning how to take pleasure in activities related to your self-care without worrying about all of the things you have to do when they’re over.”

It’s okay to not succeed at something when you first add it to your daily life. We are creatures of habit and it will take time to get into the regular habit of doing something. Keep trying until a self-care practice does fit in with your daily routine.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org or chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777.

 

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