Week 5: Create a self-care routine
It’s time. Time for the final week of the #selfcare_in_september challenge! And of course I’m not going to leave you hanging after Week 5. Therefore: this week’s prompts are going to help you to create your own self-care routine and strategy.
Utilizing and living by a self-care strategy and routine is crucial to your future self-care. During this challenge you have become aware of some of different forms of self-care, how you can exercise them, and why you need them in your life. But when everyday life comes rolling at you, with hectic pace, responsibilities, workload, deadlines, and much adulting to be done; you need to be stubborn. You need to remember why you began this challenge in the first place.
Remember what feelings got you started. What you longed for. If you feel yourself slipping, and forgetting to take care of yourself, turn to your pledge, your strategy, your plan – make the time you spent on this challenge count for something. Make yourself count in your daily life. You are the person that needs to take care of you. It would be nice – and it is nice when others do take care of us – but ultimately: it’s your responsibility to take care of you. And really: what better person to do it, than you!
The freedom of choice
During this challenge you have been digging deep into thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, and/or goals. You now know
more about yourself and how to take care of yourself. You also know how much self-care comes from your inner world, your thoughts and feelings. And you are the one in control of these. Not the other way around. As we work with the exercise called “Silencing the Inner Critic”, you can choose to defend yourself, you can choose to stop your negative and toxic self-thoughts.
You also choose your focus. Are you going to focus on what isn’t working in your life? Where you failed? What you did wrong? What you lack? Your weaknesses? Or are you going to focus on what works? What you learned? What you did well? What you have to be grateful for? Your strengths?
For you own sake, I hope you choose the latter. Your happiness is ultimately up to you. This is what I mean by being proactive. Focusing on where you have influence, what you can change. Not trying to control areas in your life that are out of your circle of influence. As I said in one of the first blog post in this challenge: Even if you can’t change your circumstances, you can always choose how you react and respond to those circumstances. Your reaction is always 100% within your circle of influence.
If you are thinking: “But my circumstances are too difficult and hard. How can I possibly be proactive about them, accept them, and then try to change myself and my attitude towards them?” I totally get that thought process; I have had that train of thought too. But let me just take a moment to tell you about the man behind the term proactive.
Victor Frankl (1905-1997) was a psychiatrist and a Jew, born in Austria. He was sent to a concentration camp during The Second World War. His parents, brother, and wife all died in the camps or in the gas chambers. Frankl was tortured, humiliated and hurt beyond comprehension, and he lived every day in the camp not knowing if it would be his last. One day he was in a tiny cell, naked, starving, weak, near death, and almost broken. That day he became aware of “the last of all human freedoms” – the only thing the Nazi-captives couldn’t take away from him: His freedom to choose how to think and react. They could control everything around him, and they did, but they couldn’t control his freedom of thought and reaction. Frankl survived. And he spent his life teaching others about the freedom of choice. No matter the situation, no matter the circumstances, you have the freedom to choose your thoughts and reactions.
This is without any doubt one of the most inspiring testimonies, I have ever heard. Frankl’s story continues to inspire me every single day in my life.
If he could be proactive under those inhuman, incomprehensible, horrifying circumstances, I can definitely do the same in my everyday life.
Reading his story and learning about being proactive, changed my life. It made me focus on my freedom of choice, it made me focus on my circles of influence, what was under my control and what wasn’t, and it made me exercise my freedom to choose my reactions and my thoughts. This does require exercise and a very conscious effort on your behalf. But you will never learn how to be proactive – which to me is one of the cornerstones of happiness – unless
you begin to practice it.
This sparked one of my main goals for creating the self-care challenge: To hopefully make you realize how many things you actually can control and how much of your happiness and sense of self-worth is created by you – and you alone. You hold the key to your happiness. If you are letting someone else hold that key, reclaim it. It is yours to hold, maintain, guard, and control.
Your key, your choice, your happiness through your self-care
Now it’s time, here in Week 5, to use the key – your freedom of choice – to make a self-care routine and strategy for yourself. It is your responsibility to keep up the self-care momentum you have gained through the past four weeks. Do it for you.
It does take practice, so remember to approach yourself with a kind, rewarding, and self-loving attitude. There’s no failing, only learning. When you learn something, then adjust your effort, and try again. Always reminding yourself – in a self-defending and self-empowering way – why you started to work on self-care is the first place and that you are always doing your best. Even when it doesn’t feel like it: You are still doing your best on that day and under those circumstances. Always, always be kind towards yourself. It is key to the process and for your progress.
To help you along, I have made the following self-care prompts for you. Remember: the challenge is called “Self-care in September” but it could also have been “Self-care in Whenever you Have the Time”. It’s not important to do the challenge in September or to be done before October begins (I sure won’t be done because life happened a bit last and current week). The important thing is to do the work at some point. It doesn’t even have to be my self-care challenge. I just wish for you, to work on your self-care at some point, preferably sooner than later so you have every opportunity to create your best life.
That being said: Let’s have a look at the prompts in Week 5. Some real goodies here!
Self-care strategy and routine
Week 5 begins with a pledge. A pledge made by you, for you. This prompt – and all the others in week 5 – have lots of wiggle room. This is necessary because where you are in the process, what your challenges are, what kind of self-care you need, and how often you need it, is very individual. So as with everything else in my challenge: Feel free to make it your own. Your self-care, your interpretations.
One of the most proactive approaches you can chose for your own self-care is creating a strategy and a routine that you plan, monitor, and live by. When it comes to making a self-care plan and strategy I would recommend a read of these two articles: “How to Create a Self-Care Plan – And Why You Need One” and “How to Create a Self-Care Strategy (That Actually Works)”. When you have made your daily, weekly, and monthly self-care plans and strategies, I recommend you translate these into some kind of visual tracker. It can be on paper or digital. Whatever fits you and that you are comfortable with. Many of us bullet journalists use “habit trackers”. It’s up to you if you need to add your self-care routine and strategy to an existing habit tracker or make a tracker just for this. The important thing is to create a visual tool to help you stay on track with your routine and where you also can note when you do what. If you don’t have experience with creating a tracker I suggest using Pinterest or Instagram to search for inspiration. You know what you need and how you prefer things to look, trust your instincts when choosing a layout and setting it up.
Of course: The important thing with any plan, strategy, routine, and tracker is the follow-through part. If there is no follow-through, a routine or tracker just becomes useless lines, numbers, and letters on a piece of paper. You add the work, the magic, and the results.
That’s it. I wish you an awesome journey.
Take care of yourself. Kristine, @back2basics_kris.
If you need inspiration, support, community, or wish to share your work, you can use #selfcare_in_september on Instagram. I have also created a Pinterest-board – “Self-care” – for this challenge with inspiration for making the challenge your own and helping you stay the course.
The other blog posts in The “Self-care in September” Challenge: