Self-Care

First Step to Self-Care: How to Convince Yourself That You Can Do It

Self-care is a popular trend nowadays – and has been for quite a while already.

I don’t know what about you, but I’m so used to seeing reminders to drink water, to stretch out, to sleep enough, that I barely pay attention anymore.

There’s an obvious reason for such interest: Our mindset.

2020 has been one hell of a year so far, yes, but that’s not what I mean, at least not entirely. We are so used to hectic schedules and busy life that, even in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, we still manage to shift focus from ourselves. Responsibilities, work, social life – everything’s more important than our needs.

Self-care, on the other hand, is all about focusing on ourselves. It’s about recognizing the needs of our minds and bodies and fulfilling them the best we can. For some of us, it may be a long bubble bath, for others – quiet time with a book, and for someone – regular hiking.

We all are different, and we all have different needs. But the ability to take care of them is universal.

Well, I tried to start doing exactly that – and some things even worked out! I exercise every morning (which is a win, I’d been avoiding that for years), I drink water, I, uh, wash hands?

Sigh.

I suck at self-care.

But! Self-improvement is always an option. Every skill is gained through practice and work – and taking care of oneself is something you need to learn too.

And you know what? Lockdown is perfect for mastering new hobbies and getting to know yourself better.

Of course, it’s not gonna happen in one day – but even the first step is already something.

Join me on this journey towards a better and healthier life! It’s always easier to make progress together.

Related6 Steps to Self-Care Routine That Works Just For You (+ FREE planner)

  • Still not sure about that whole self-care thing?

Here’s something for you to begin with. Get a notebook (paper or digital, doesn’t matter), think: “Tomorrow I am going to focus on myself” – and write down everything that starts with the word “but”.

Try to understand what exactly holds you back.

When you have a list of reasons in front of your eyes, it’s easier to see how many of them are just excuses.

We don’t want to put effort, we don’t want to waste time, we don’t want to change our lives – but we want to feel better, and we want to see the result here and now. Ten minutes of meditation a day may feel like something too short to change anything but too long to try.

But it is worth trying. It does make you feel better.

You have to get into the right mindset, understand why self-care is something worth time and effort – and get over the blocks your mind created.

Down below is my own example. Maybe these reasons are familiar to you, maybe yours are completely opposite. Whatever your list looks like, be thoughtful but merciless when crossing every point.

Related: How Meditating Every Day Has Changed My Everyday Life in 6 Months

  • I’m not used to it

Pretty obvious, huh?

But that’s exactly what came to my mind first.

It’s not that I don’t want to take care of myself – I genuinely have no idea how.

Of course, there are tons of guides, and blogs, and videos, and just pictures saying “you can do it!!”, and I’m gonna use a lot of these while making my own plan – but before I decided on that? Couldn’t be bothered.

Oh, also they say I should “listen to myself”, but the thing is – I’m really bad at listening to my body and even worse at knowing what it needs.

I’m in better relationships with my mind, but then let’s not forget about my anxiety and depression that may come back anytime. Convincing myself that clean workspace is important all the while struggling to not crawl back into bed? Not that easy. (Although it is important, duh.)

So, what am I going to do about this?

Well, there’s nothing better than to start. I’m not used to taking care – but there were times when I wasn’t used to writing, or using social media, or drinking coffee, or literally anything.

We all start somewhere. I will always have time to turn back, to let go, to decide if that’s what I actually need – but for now, the first step is enough.

  • I don’t have time

Can’t skip this one. So obvious but so hard to accept.

I have so many other things to do, things that will pay off in the future, that will teach me something new, help me with practical skills. I have to be productive, as much as I can.

Yes, I know it’s wrong, and I should care about myself, and I shouldn’t look at myself through others’ eyes and focus on what’s important to me. My vision of productivity is different from others’ – but it still doesn’t include self-care.

Despite whatever my therapist teaches me, I’m still focused on my responsibilities rather than my inner state. I still think I should pay attention to practical skills rather than healthy habits. I still believe that spending time on myself is wasting it.

But that’s going to change, right?

Well, I’m going to work on it.

I mean, I already decided to start my self-care journey. It’s gonna take time, and there’s no way around it. 

But I can make the transition a bit easier. 

I’m going to take one step at a time.

It may not be very effective, but I hope that gradually self-care will become a natural habit, something I can put into the “productive” part of my schedule.

RelatedHow the Need for Approval is Ruining Your Life (and What You Should Do About It)

  • I’m not that important

This one is trickier.

Don’t want to go deep into the maze of my mind, but let’s put it that way – why should I care about self-care?

And no, I’m not trying to repeat the previous point. This time I’m talking about spending any time on myself.

Yup, self-esteem issues.

But seriously though, am I really that important to care? I mean, I have friends, family, two cats, and a bunch of fictional characters to care about, shouldn’t I focus on them instead?

Perhaps it was my biggest problem all this time, because, as soon as I sat down and started thinking, I couldn’t find any arguments against it. I even had a cowardly thought to reject this whole plan and just keep living as I lived.

I’m not saying that I don’t care about myself at all – been there, thankfully over it – but putting time? Thoughts? Efforts? Into myself? Just for the sake of myself? Ah, come on, I’m fine, maybe later.

But here’s the question – who else will do it instead? Who else will put time, thoughts, physical efforts into me? Today? Right now?

It may be easy to brush it off – but take your time and think about it.

No one else knows me the way I know myself. No one else knows how tired I am sometimes in the morning, just after waking up, or how anxious I become after spending too much time working, or what I’m thinking when I look at myself in the mirror.

Yes, I can tell someone all of this – though I doubt I ever will – but at the end of the day, I’m the only person that truly knows just how fine I am. And if I started thinking about self-care in the first place, then there’s not so much of it left.

And with these thoughts, I’m going to work on my plan.

I will be updating you on my journey – I think the decision to keep it public will be the strongest motivator for me to stick to my schedule. But until then, please, share your thoughts! Maybe you already have your own routine? Or something’s keeping you from starting? Let me know in the comments, and let’s start working on it together!

Recommended: How I Got Through Years of Depression Without Therapy, or 8 Tips for When You Feel Helpless

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