What exactly is self-care?  And why is it so hard to do? 

Self-care simply means taking some time to invest in yourself:  And making decisions to protect your well-being and happiness, particularly during times of stress.   

We often get caught up in taking care of others, worrying about things that never happen, or falling into a rut of binge-watching or doom-scrolling. Add a pandemic, online learning, social isolation and our motivation is sapped. Who’s thinking about self-care? 

Practicing self-care doesn’t mean overhauling your life. In fact, some of the biggest impacts are made through the tiniest steps.  Here are some ideas to get you started. 

Spend time preparing for your self-care.   

Change can take some getting used to. Allow yourself some time to explore ways you can take a small step toward self-care.  Do you want to eat healthier? What are some of the tiniest steps you can do toward eating healthier? You don’t have to DO any of them. Just envision how one of these tiny steps will make you feel good. Some ideas could include: 

  • Making a grocery list of healthy foods 
  • Thinking about a time to grocery shop that isn’t rushed so you can enjoy shopping 
  • Researching recipes that work with your lifestyle 
  • Discussing your ideas with people who can support this change 
  • Contacting a USF Registered Dietitian to discuss meal plans and nutrition 

Experiment with Success  

Taking care of yourself feels good and shouldn’t be a burden. It’s something you look forward to. Let’s say you want to be more productive in the morning, but instead, you pick up your phone and scroll.  Soon it’s been an hour since you woke up and you’re bummed because you already feel behind.  One of the keys to being productive in the morning is determining a benefit that outweighs lying in bed. What’s a tiny step that could motivate you to start your day? Some ideas that students tell us work for them include:  

  • Sipping coffee in your favorite mug 
  • A brief exercise routine 
  • A few stretches 
  • Stepping outside for fresh air 
  • A quick meditation or setting an intention for your day before getting out of bed. 
  • Discussing your goals with a Success and Wellness Coach. No goal is too big or too small. 

Take a Mood Check 

Sometimes a negative mood can get in the way of progress.  It’s certainly understandable that right now you could lack the energy or the mindset to feel better. Here are some ideas that can help you start believing that taking time for yourself has big rewards. 

  • Tell yourself that you are worthy of the investment. Positive self -talk really does work. 
  • Recognize when you’re being too tough on yourself. We’ve gotten in the habit of focusing on what didn’t go well rather than celebrating what did. 
  • Count the things that went well today, no matter how small.  See if you can determine why they went well. 
  • Take time to reflect. Start with writing down things you like to do and ask yourself what’s getting in the way of doing them. 
  • If you still feel stuck, take an online mental health mood check, and learn more about recognizing signs of depression, anxiety, addictions or troubled relationships. 

Remember, set yourself up for success by thinking about all the ways your change will put you on a pathway to becoming a better you. If one method doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you failed. It simply means you haven’t found what works yet!  

If you want to start practicing self-care regularly and are not sure where to start, that’s okay! Success and Wellness Coaching can help you co-create a plan for your own success and holistic well-being.