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For many people, self-care can seem a bit of a flaky or self-indulgent concept, but it is becoming increasingly evident that it is incredibly important. Too often we neglect our bodies and our mental health by pushing ourselves too far without the opportunity to recharge and refresh. This leads to mental and physical fatigue or, in extreme cases, complete exhaustion and illness. 

Of course, you don’t want to implement a self-care routine that feels like a chore or adds more pressure to your routine. Here are some top tips on developing and sticking with a self- care schedule that will enhance your quality of life as well as your physical and mental health. 

Think about why you need to look after yourself 

Before you set about creating your self-care routine, think about why you are doing this. Are you working long hours and/or putting the needs of others before yours? Are you feeling easily stressed and anxious even about the small issues? When you have identified your key motivation, you can focus on activities and a routine which will be most effective for you. 

Write down some activity ideas 

It’s a good idea to write down potential activities that might be beneficial for your self-care routine. Once they’re down on paper you can think about any potential obstacles which you feel could stop you from incorporating them into a regular routine. Be honest with yourself about why you won’t have the time to commit to an activity. Is it really because you won’t have time, or is it because you don’t feel you deserve it or you want to prioritize others? 

Don’t commit to doing too much 

The more changes you try to make to your routine, the less likely you are to stick to them in the long term. This is why it’s important to focus on one or two smaller changes at first. This could be by aiming to have a nutritional breakfast each morning and to go to the gym once a week. You might try meditation for 20 minutes before bed or an hour once a week reading a book. 

Make a schedule 

Consider scheduling self-care as you would schedule a meeting. By setting aside the time on a daily or weekly basis, you can avoid trying to cram too much in because it will always be your self-care that will get pushed to the bottom of the list. For example, if you make yourself a regular monthly massage appointment with massage therapy Potters Bar you are more likely to stick to it than if you were to tell yourself you will do it when you can fit it in. 

Be kind to yourself 

In the early stages, you are bound to find adjusting to a new routine a bit of a challenge, but it’s important not to let blips in your routine get you down. You need to take pride in your positive changes and give yourself some leeway when you don’t manage to stick to your routine. Sometimes life happens and circumstances change, but you always have tomorrow. Remember to focus on your wins and successes and if you keep missing your self-care, take another look at your plan and see if you can make it more achievable.