5 Self-Care Habits You Can Start Today

If you’re a busy young professional, parent, or student you’ve likely already heard that self-care is important for your well-being. But how can we fit self-care into our already hectic schedules? The answer is habits! Don’t worry, creating self-care habits doesn’t have to be overwhelming or time-consuming. Building the right self-care habits to improve your mental, physical, and emotional health begins with little steps each day. In this article, we’ll cover five simple yet effective self-care habits you can start today.

But first, what exactly is self-care? Self-care involves taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health. Consistent self-care can reduce stress, increase happiness, and improve well-being. Self-care is an essential aspect of good physical and mental health. In essence, it’s what you do to keep your cup full so you can pour into the people, places, and projects you value.

Five simple yet effective self-care habits that you can start today to boost your mental well-being include:

Creating a Simplified Morning Routine

Find a Fun Physical Activity

Take Breaks Throughout the Day

Strengthen Your Connections

Make a “Ta-Da” List

Each of these habits is a simple but powerful form of self-care. We’ve broken down each habit into further detail and given tips for how to incorporate it into your life. You can either browse to the habit that resonates the most for you and begin there or check them all out below. 

Create a Simplified Morning Routine

Starting your day off with intentionality is a great way to promote self-care. That’s where a morning routine can help. Establishing a morning routine that includes activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. A simplified morning routine starts with carving out about 15 minutes each morning to take care of yourself. Next, you can pick three activities that you will do for 5 minutes at a time. Some activities you can experiment with include: journaling, meditating, reading, stretching, getting sunlight, quality time with a pet, self-massage, or deep breathing. 

Treat your new simple morning routine as a fun experiment to avoid the pressure of doing it “perfectly.” Once you’ve done your three mindful activities for five minutes each, you’re done! When you do your fifteen-minute morning routine every day you’ll start to notice positive results. 

Find a Fun Physical Activity

Regular exercise, whatever that means for you and your body, is an essential part of self-care. Physical activity can help you improve focus, reduce stress, and boost your mood. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Find an activity that you enjoy, such as walking, playing a sport, dancing, or yoga, and schedule it in your daily routine. The key here is to make the activity feel fun and rewarding. If for example you dread lifting weights at the gym, don’t make this your movement habit. Instead, opt for something you’d enjoy like a daily walk with a friend. Keeping your movement habit fun will boost happy hormones in the brain and therefore you’ll be more likely to make it a habit.

Take Breaks Throughout the Day

Taking breaks throughout the day is essential for maintaining productivity and preventing burnout. However, in our fast-paced world, we often forget to pause and recharge. To get into the habit of taking breaks, it’s helpful to schedule them into your calendar or set reminders on your phone. Set aside specific times during the day when you can take a few minutes to step away from your work or responsibilities and do something refreshing or relaxing, such as stretching, taking a short walk, or listening to music. By making taking breaks a habit, you’ll find that you have more energy and focus throughout the day, leading to greater overall productivity and a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Strengthen Your Connections

Making time to connect with other people is essential for our mental and emotional well-being. Whether introverted or extroverted, humans are social creatures and benefit from time with others. However, in our busy lives, we often forget to prioritize connecting with others, which can leave us feeling drained and lonely. To make connecting with others a daily habit, it’s important to know what type of socializing energizes you and what might drain you. Connecting with others could be as simple as sending a text message to a friend, grabbing lunch with a coworker, calling a family member, or attending a social event. 

It’s important to be present and engaged and present during these mindful moments of connection. Set distractions aside to be in the moment with your friends, neighbors, and coworkers to reap the benefits of positive connections. Making connections with others is an investment in our overall happiness, so it’s worth putting in the effort to make it a part of our daily routine.

Make a “Ta-Da” List

If you’ve ever ended the day feeling tired and thought to yourself, “what did I even get done today?” then the ta-da list is a great habit for you! Your life is likely full of to-do lists that never seem to end, but thankfully this type of list is a lot more fun. The ta-da list is a term often discussed with happiness researcher Gretchen Rubin to help you reflect on your accomplishments. Instead of writing all the things that need to get done in a day, set aside some time to write everything you’ve already done. 

When writing your ta-da list keep in mind that big or small every accomplishment counts! Your ta-da list may include items like: completed my morning routine, called a friend, made myself breakfast, worked for 8 hours, had lunch with a coworker, drove home, folded laundry etc. If you write down every single thing you do in a day the list will likely be longer than you imagined!

The reason the ta-da list is such a powerful habit is that it’s a physical reminder of everything we’ve done throughout the day. It can help us to be more compassionate with ourselves when we’re feeling overwhelmed and overtime it can help build confidence. The ta-da list is a quick and effective way to give yourself credit and recognize small but meaningful wins.

Final Thoughts

Self-care means taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health. Being consistent with self-care can have positive outcomes like less stress and improved energy. Building small consistent habits can make prioritizing self-care easier and increases your odds of success. You don’t need to spend a lot of time and money to take care of your well-being. Identifying the right habits for you can improve your mental, physical, and emotional health over time. Experiment with the habits suggested here, and feel free to tweak them to fit your needs. You are the expert on you, so take this list and make it your own! 

If you’ve made your own effort to prioritize self-care but can’t seem to make it stick, consider seeking support by working with a therapist. A therapist can help you identify your blocks and guide you in creating a realistic self-care strategy for your mental health and well-being. At Alvarado Therapy we have a team of highly trained professionals that can support you and your goals. Schedule a free consultation with one of our team members today so we can prioritize your well-being together.