We do not need to spend a lot of money to do self-care ‘properly’. At its root, self-care isn’t so much about what you do, as what needs you’re meeting in the process. An important part of developing a sustainable self-care routine is identifying ways in which we can meet one or more of our needs without compromising other needs in the process. The self-care routine is designed to help you do just that.
Self-care is not about taking yourself out for manicures, Colombian waxes or whatever the latest fashion trend is. It’s about meeting your needs. If you’re on a budget, purchasing expensive pampering sessions will stress your budget causing other issues. If time is tight, taking several hours out of your day that you don’t have isn’t not going to meet your needs either – in fact, it will probably stress you out even more.
Having said that, there’s a reason why plenty of people opt for professional treatments and attention. Showing your body some TLC feels good. It is certainly one form of self-care, it’s just that we need to find a way to treat our bodies well without compromising any other needs.
Self-care isn’t so much about what we ‘do’. It’s about the experience we have, the feelings that experience invokes, and the needs that experience meets.
So if you can’t go to a fancy spa consider creating a self-care routine that will work for you.
How it WorksThe self-care routine begins with a collection of items that invoke your desired feelings.
This is a very personal experience, so I’m not going to provide a prescriptive list for what should go in your routine.
Instead, the first step is to work out what your desired feelings are: what is it you would like to feel or experience after your self-care?
This might include feeling:
What other words that are meaningful to you?
The next step is to translate these feelings into actions. What can you do that will help you get to these feelings and experiences?
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Long, hot bath
Quotes or affirmations
A good book
A scented candle
Your own personal self-care routine might include all of the above, or it might contain none. Like I said, this is a personal experience, so spend time thinking about how you can re-create your desired feelings with simple every-day items and activities.
Once you have a few ideas about the kinds of things you might want in your self-care routine, start gathering things. Begin simply, and test each individual item out for its effectiveness before adding the next. Sometimes, we think a certain item or activity is going to provoke certain feelings, but it doesn’t. We might expect it to be relaxing and enjoyable, whereas in reality we find it uncomfortable and distracting. Equally, we might experience one activity or item in our routine very differently to how we imagined.
There’s no rush: start small and build your routine over a period of several weeks or months. Schedule time to use your self-care routine, and commit to that scheduled time. Whether it’s 15 minutes when you first get up, or you set aside a whole evening, dedicate the time needed. Listen to how your self-care routine leaves your body feeling, and listen to what your gut tells you to add or remove in order to enhance it and make it more effective at meeting your needs.
Why it WorksThe self-care routine is tailored specifically to you and executed on your terms. You’re in complete control over how much time and money you spend on your experience, as well as when you choose to use your routine.
This allows you to experience your desired feelings, set aside time to reconnect with yourself and give your body some TLC, without denying or ignoring other needs you might have, for example a need for financial stability.
Other IdeasIf you’re concerned that engaging with this suggestion might provoke your money gremlins and inner critic, keep them at bay by setting some boundaries. This might take the form of a monthly ‘self-care’ budget, a limit on the number of items you have in your routine, or all of it. Be as generous as you can be with your budget – remember there’s nothing wrong with spending money on yourself – while still keeping your other needs in mind.
What would be in your self-care kit? Leave a comment and let me know.
Loves COLOR in any Medium! It's all about the feelings that are invoked by the beautiful, rich colors!