There’s no doubt that our brains have been put under an immense and unflagging stream of external pressure over the past year.

As a result, many of us have become aware that we need to look at sources of stress a little more closely. We’ve had to learn how to be kinder to ourselves, to give ourselves the grace and the space to care for our own needs. We’ve been in a “hustle” culture for years now, and it simply isn’t sustainable.

As professional organizers, we see the physical results of stress constantly, so this conversation feels like progress! Our clients are talking more and more about self-care. Here is what that means and how to achieve it.

Self-Care Exercises to Build into Your Routine (For Free!)

First, it’s important to note that self-care is not necessarily about spending money. Here are some great examples of self-care activities that can fill your bucket and cost nothing:

  • cheduling self-care activities will normalize them until they become ingrained. Sleeping more
  • Doing yoga or meditation
  • Taking time for skincare each morning and evening
  • Walking or doing light exercise daily
  • Saying no to things
  • Reading a book
  • Playing with your pets/kids
  • Hiding from your pets/kids to be alone!
  • At-home partner massage or personal spa (a hot bath and face masks!)

One of the best ways to integrate self-care into your routine is to actually schedule it in your calendar. Scheduling self-care activities will normalize them until they become ingrained. Without scheduling it, self-care is just wishful thinking.

An Example of Building Self-Care into Your Routine

Let’s say that you want to incorporate a skincare regime into your day. But try as you might, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to build it in. You fall into bed exhausted, and mornings are so rushed that you’re lucky if you have time to slap some tinted moisturizer on before launching in. Plus, Zoom has that “improve appearance” filter, right?

But here’s the thing: taking care of your skin or body is about more than just making the time. It’s a radical act of self-love. Your skin is the largest organ you possess, and taking care of it is integral to your health. And while impulse-buying beauty items at Target may feel like a step in the right direction, it doesn’t mean anything until you put those purchases into action.

For Maximum Results, Motivation is Key

One of the best ways to incorporate any routine into your life is to make sure that your physical space motivates you to actually do that thing that you want to make a habit of! If you feel excited to do it, you are much more likely to be successful.

Here is an example of how you could add a skincare routine into your life. Keep in mind, these steps would work for any other self-care actions like exercising more, getting more regular sleep, or simply spending a little time alone.

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Creating visual organization will help motivate your new habit!

1. Organization. Take some time to organize your space: in this case, the bathroom. Go through products and donate things you don’t use. Most shelters will take unused and sometimes used personal hygiene items. Responsibly throw away the things that are expired. If you are in Portland, Portland Metro will help dispose of these items safely. Wipe down drawers and freshen up that space. Feel free to contact us if you get stuck!

2. Intention. Look at the objects you want to incorporate into your routine. Create a small tray or drawer just for those self-care items. Make it visual to remind you about your new habit.

3. Visual Cues. Post a sticky note on the mirror reminding you to take 10 minutes in the morning and evening for your new routine. Again, creating visual cues is important to help the brain develop a new habit.

4. Mindfulness. During the routine, be mindful of the task at hand. For example, focus on the sweep of your hand across your face, the feeling of the brush going through your hair. Try (as much as possible) to stay in the moment. You might turn on some quiet music, but try to put your phone away and just be present. The point here is to honor that you are doing something for yourself by not multi-tasking.

5. Gratitude. When you are done, tell yourself that you are grateful for the act of self-care! This will help to reinforce the act as being beneficial in your brain, and you will be more likely to continue with it every day!

Our bodies and brains need occasional decluttering just as much as our homes do! Taking the time for self-care is an acknowledgment that you are worth investing in. And we think so too!