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How do you care for yourself when you are too busy caring for others? Make sure you have a self-care routine, for starters.
Back-to-school can be a stressful time. The same thing with seasonal transitions, pandemics, major weather events, changing jobs, moving, new babies… you get the idea.
It can be hard on kids to get back into a routine, tricky for parents who need to structure those routines, and hard for teachers who need to create new routines that stick for young learners.
I’m a teacher, but not a parent. I know that getting your kids ready for the day and wound down after a long day must be hard and stressful and all-consuming.
But this post isn’t for your kids, it’s for you.
A self-care routine for adults, parents, teachers, grandparents, aunties, and uncles, and anyone who just needs a little reminder that taking care of themselves is important too.
Not just the apple-a-day stuff, but the emotional, the mental, the spiritual, etc.
Here’s a sneak peek at my daily self-care routine now that I’m back to teaching for the year.
*The ones with an asterisk are NON-negotiable for me.
The night before self-care routine
Honestly, how well my day goes starts the night before.
A bedtime routine is essential for good sleep health! We need to be sleeping well to carry out normal tasks. Get yourself into a nightly routine to rest well and prepare the next day.
Take a shower or bath. Be clean and fresh and have less to do in the morning! Add lavender essential oil to your bubble bath or shower to relax you.
Light some candles, enjoy the glow and the hygge.
*Drink a full glass of water. Hydrate your brain for a long night’s rest.
Set out your clothes for the next day.
*Wash your face! I love my Sunday Riley cleansing oil. It’s a little more pricey but I use it correctly (not too much) and I feel great. My skin has never looked better!
*Brush your teeth. I use Quip electric toothbrush, a very reasonably priced electric toothbrush that sends you new toothbrush heads every three months! It’s so affordable and pretty and easy to use.
Mentally prep your meals for the next day (or even prep them and put them in your lunch bag in the fridge!)
Write in a journal. Get out some lingering thoughts, write down our worries, and jot down a few things you are grateful for.
*Tell someone you love them. Via text, phone, face to face, or yelling down the hall. Give yourself that reminder that you care, and lift their heart too.
*Turn off all screens (phone, iPad, TV, computer) an hour before you want to be asleep.
*Read a book in bed. If you’ve been reading books on an app, switch to library books or get some cheap ones from Thriftbooks (my referral link). You can even get 15% off your first order when you use that link! This is a new discovery for me, I LOVE this site.
Take some deep cleansing breaths. I usually don’t have time for a full yoga routine at night, but the breathing is the most essential, in my opinion, for relaxing your mind and body for sleep.
Do some wind-down yoga. Just a couple of stretches for 10 minutes honestly makes a world of a difference If you need something to do at the same time, find a good podcast. If you aren’t looking at the screen, you should be fine listening to something.
The morning self-care routine
I wrote a helpful post about my specific morning routine that motivates me to get out of bed, but here are some more ideas.
Don’t hit snooze. So far this year I’ve been good at this because I know that going back to sleep after your alarm tends to make you more tired once you actually get up.
*Turn on some music, the news, or a podcast. I do this to avoid scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. I listen to something uplifting and positive to get me going. It also helps my brain get going to learn something new or listen to something that makes me think.
*Wash your face. Again, Sunday Riley is the BEST face care I have ever tried (and I’ve tried quite a few). I always feel good after using it.
*Brush your teeth. Quip! Two minutes and fresh and clean! They also have reusable, eco-friendly floss sticks!
Say good morning to your pet, your kids, or your partner. Let them know that you care!
Write out some goals for the day. I keep a bullet journal, which I love. These amazing Journals by Silk and Sonder are perfect for those of us that want to journal but need a little motivation to get started 🙂 They have monthly template-filled journals that are already beautifully decorated with room for more!
Do a morning yoga routine. This post I wrote is my favorite morning yoga routine and really helps me feel awake and ready for success the whole day long.
Get some exercise. I try to do yoga, but more often I ride my bike to work, or at least walk to the bus stop. It wakes me up and gets my heart rate up a little.
Self-care routine bonuses for throughout the day
Self-care should be in your daily routine, but it’s also important to add in little extra doses as you can. Here are some of my favorite bonus self-care ideas!
Journal for your scheduling needs. Bullet journal if you like this artistry! I find that taking a few minutes here or there to doodle, add to my to-do list, and make beautiful boxes.
Journal for your emotions. Write down what you did, what you are grateful for, and how you are feeling. It’s a little like going to a therapist (though not at all to be used instead of actually going to a therapist!).
Call a friend. Something about actually talking on the phone is nice, especially if it’s to someone you don’t see or talk to often!
Write a letter or a handwritten card. Another antiquated form of communication that can be very satisfied to both you and the receiver.
Go for a walk outside. Fresh air is amazing and the exercise is good for you.
For more tips on how to start a meditation practice, check out this article from Relax Like a Boss.
Unplug. Turn off all your electronics and do something without them for an hour.
Read. Read for yourself, read to your kids, or even read a magazine article. Try to read a real book, not something on your screen.
Have an in-home-spa hour (or 10 minutes!) to pamper your body. File and paint your nails, take a bath, moisturize, or do a face mask.
Stretch or move. Do a few yoga poses to take a break from sitting or standing. Find a good YouTube channel for a quick movement break.
Put on an old CD or record and soak in the memories with the melodies.
Dance! Put on some good boogie tunes to take a few moments to shake it off and be silly.
Laugh. Find a few good YouTube videos that you can’t help but LOL too.
Breathe in some nice scents. Get an oil diffuser or use some favorite essential oils to sniff and uplift.
Play with animals. If you don’t have your own pet, call up a friend who does, volunteer to walk a dog, go to a local animal shelter, get paid to pet sit, go to the local zoo, or find a newly popular cat café.
Print some photos from your phone. How many hundreds (or thousands) do you have on there right now? Use an app like FreePrints (my referral code, get 5 extra prints free!) to send those gorgeous photos to print and get them into a frame or even an album. It’s nice to look at beautiful memories not only through a screen.
Do a random act of kindness. Pay for someone’s coffee, help a stranger with their bags, pull over to help someone on the side of the road, or leave a nice compliment on someone’s desk. Low risk, or high, it’ll make their day and yours!
I hope you find some time for yourself today, tomorrow, and every day.
Life can be stressful, anxiety-provoking, saddening, or a relief. Whatever it is for you is ok, and make sure to make today great!