Change Your Life With A Self-Care Routine

⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten ⌛

I’m not just another millennial “obsessed” with self-care. If I didn’t practice it in some form, my perfectionistic brain would usurp every one of my senses and leave me in an overwhelmed, crumbled heap of anxiety in my bed.

Self-care isn’t just another buzzword created by millennials to help us forge our place in this world and to add to our master list of resolutions. To me, and countless other millennials, it’s a sign of honing in on our own emotional intelligence and finding the roots of the problems we usually don’t care to see but have to in order to improve our lives. 

A 2017 NPR article said it best when one one of the sources stated, “Self-care plus self-awareness equals self-love.”

Ten years ago, I would have never chosen to take a bubble bath instead of preparing for a long day ahead. During my college days, I would study to my perfectionist heart’s content, write every two-page paper due in a semester in a weekend or get ahead on emails for a student public relations campaign. The word and concept of relaxation fell on deaf ears.

Maybe — just maybe — I would take a day off every 10 days or so. And by “day,” I mean a few hours to watch “Law & Order: SVU” episodes on USA Network or write a poem. That work ethic carried over into my entire 20s, and while the hustle was real and beneficial, I began to experience burnout, unrelenting high standards (self-imposed) and an inability to relax.

I spun my wheels for a long time, and while I don’t have all of the answers, I do have some quick tips you can implement in your own life to lessen your anxiety and cultivate your own self-care routine. 

Meditate and take deep breaths.

Starting your day with a quick three-minute meditation, or adding it somewhere in your busy routine, can set the mood for the day. If you’re stressed, you can focus on your breathing and try to clear your mind. I will admit, my brain doesn’t like to slow down, and some days, this is more challenging than others. (I plan work things in my sleep, for one.) If you’re anxious just trying to figure out where to start, try the free portion of the Headspace phone app or listen to a meditation podcast to help you get started. Yoga also helps you begin to learn to control your breath. 

Find something that relaxes you.

Make a list of things that relax you and give you joy and other positive emotions. This list will vary for each person. You may have 100 items; you may have 10. No matter what it is, do that thing! For example, I’m a writer by trade, but nothing helps me more than writing in my journal. I unleash all of my inner tirades and greatest states of happiness. It’s an open, no-judgment zone that calms my mind. I also like taking bubble baths, listening to music, playing video games, spending time with loved ones and thinking about Paris.

Realize that you don’t have all of the answers. 

Some of us are stubborn, yours truly included. We think we have all of the answers and can do everything ourselves. This will be something I will work on my entire life, but I have realized that I don’t have all of the answers and need to ask for help. Whether you research the best self-care practices on the Internet, talk with a therapist, vent to a friend during brunch, read a self-help book or listen to an expert’s podcast, investing in yourself means seeking answers from other sources. And while pampering yourself is a vital aspect of self-care, you don’t have to break the bank to practice it. 

Try to be as healthy as possible.

When I’m in a slump, I tend to eat the most greasy foods, full of carbohydrates, sugar and salt. Anything bad. Since the start of 2018, I have been attempting to maintain healthy habits by eating better and logging my calorie coats on UnderArmour’s MyFitnessPal. I’ve limited my coffee intake (without quitting caffeine entirely — I’m a PR pro and a writer, after all), tried to drink more regular water (less carbonation), added more healthy foods to my diet and more. You will have slip-ups no matter which healthy routine you try to maintain, so don’t be hard on yourself! (I know, I know. Easier said than done for perfectionists and anxious folks.)

These tips, as well as others, will help you begin to practice self-care and self-love. I have always tended to be highly critical of myself, and while these habits don’t usually pervade my external world, I battle an internal war between my anxious and regular self. After putting my mental health first, I have noticed that I sleep better, am more productive (in real life and not just my high standards) and am more flexible with my everyday schedule. 

If you’re finding that you’re becoming stressed and overwhelmed at the drop of the hat, losing your patience with people, not finishing projects on time or exhibiting another anxious tendency, look inward. 

Do something nice for yourself. Your professional and personal lives will thank you for it. 

Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Omnimedia, LLC

Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Omnimedia, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

⌛ ⌛ ⌛