Give Yourself a Self-Care Checkup
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Self-care is any action you take that you find nourishing to your mind, body, or soul. Having an established self care routine helps improve mood, reduces anxiety, and increases self-esteem. Self-care looks different for everybody and in this post we are going to learn how to give yourself a self-care checkup to see if there are any areas in your self-care routine that could use improvement or changes.
Back to Basics
Begin your self-care checkup by checking in on the basics: sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Most people struggle with one or more of these areas in their daily lives and each of them is vitally important to mental health and wellness.
Sleep: Sleep and mood are closely related to one another. Take a moment to think about your sleep routine. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you give yourself "screen free" time before bed? Do certain rituals (drinking hot tea, reading, taking a bath, etc) help promote relaxation and deeper sleep? How can you adjust your sleep routine? If you have chronic and persistent sleep problems consider speaking to your doctor.
Nutrition: What we eat, how much we eat, and when we eat all have lasting effects on our mood. What is your sugar and caffeine intake like? Could it use some adjustment? Are you eating a balanced diet? Are you skipping breakfast or eating too much right before bed? If you struggle with over or under eating, consider speaking to a counsellor or your doctor.
Exercise: Exercise boosts serotonin and improves mood. When thinking of exercise as self-care it is important not to beat up on yourself about your routine and instead think of the ways you enjoy moving your body. Do you enjoy walking? Swimming? Tennis? Finding activities that you truly enjoy will set you up for a sustainable routine.
Finding What Brings You Joy
There is no limit to what self-care can look like. Many people find joy in creative outlets, like painting, music, writing, or crafting. Others find peace in being in nature, getting a haircut, spending time with friends, playing a sport, or watching their favourite TV show. Not sure where to begin? Think about what you loved doing as a child. Did you love being outdoors? Drawing? Climbing? Take these as a cue for activities to try. There may be some trial and error until you find what feels right for you.
Being Your Own Parent
Self-care is not always about doing things that have instant feel-good results. Sometimes it is about doing the things you know are good for you that you may be putting off. Are you up to date on your doctor's appointments? How about the dentist? Has the "check engine" light been on in your car for weeks and you haven't taken it in? Take care of yourself like you would take care of someone else who depends on you. If you were your own parent what would you say to yourself?
Learning When to Say No
Recognizing people and situations that do not feel good to us is an important step in taking care of ourselves. Do you have difficulty saying no to others? Do you feel stretched too thin? It may be time to reconsider your boundaries and put yourself first when necessary.