Are you feeling burnt out, overwhelmed, or tired? Are you not sure which way is up and which way is down? I hear you. Exhaustion can be a sneaky mistress who has difficulty letting you know that your cup is half empty. What if we told you there was a way to help with your feelings and help you set up healthier habits for your future self? There is, and it’s called a self care week.
What’s a self care week?
A self care week is just like it sounds: a week of nothing but self care days. After your workday is over, carve out the evening for you. Self care doesn’t have to be time-consuming but for at least one hour a day, try to have time to yourself to do something that will replenish your energy.
After the 7 days of self care, reflect to see how you feel. Chances are, you’ll feel better, more rested, and want to keep going!
How to design your own self care week
Try out the activities we’ve listed below for the next several days. Turn the phone off, tell the kids to do their homework, and zone out to pure bliss, over the next 7 days of self care!
Day one: Journal it out
For a healing experience that only includes a piece of paper and a pen, journaling is a great way to start your self care week. Chances are, you might feel overwhelmed if you’re starting a self care week in the first place. Writing it out is a significant first step to seeing what’s going on inside that brain of yours.
Journaling can help manage anxiety and depression by organizing your thoughts in a way you can understand. It can also help alleviate the feelings mentioned above by seeing what is bothering you so that you can find a way to cope. If you’re unsure where to start, here is an excellent list of journal prompts that can get you started.
Day two: Make a healthy meal
Many people hear self care and automatically think of bubble baths and fancy lotion. Self care goes deeper than that; it also includes what you put inside your body, not just the outside. Eating healthy is so important when caring for yourself.
By eating a balanced diet, you help prevent a variety of unhealthy diagnoses later on down the road, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or worse, stroke. Balanced eating even affects gut health, which can influence your mind.
On day two, pull up your Pinterest account and make a healthy meal you’ve always been meaning to try. You could try this Italian Chopped Salad for a fast weeknight meal. After making it a few weeks ago, I can say it’s become one of my new meal staples!
Day three: Have a spa day
While I said above that self care goes deeper than bubble baths and fancy lotion, I didn’t say we need to skip it entirely. That’s why day three of our self care week is having a spa day.
Epsom salt baths are famous for a reason. Although technically not salt, this magical chemical formation of magnesium and sulfate can penetrate your skin through a hot bath and leave you with some beautiful results.
Not only can they help skin conditions and arthritis, but they can also loosen sore and tight muscles and provide relief from inflammation. So feel guilt-free to soak in the tub and put on a face mask while you're at it. Include some much-needed pampering in your self care days!
Day four: Feel the burn
On day four of your self care week, move your body. Exercise has so many benefits! Besides the obvious ones, it also has a lot to do with your mental health. Once your endorphins get going, the magic happens.
You feel more confident after a workout. You feel less stressed and, in return, less anxious or overwhelmed. Another benefit is that you can even feel exhausted, which lets you have a better night’s sleep.
Stress can hurt your health, and exercise is a way that will allow you to combat that during your self care week. And don’t think you have to run a marathon to feel the benefits. Even a walk around the block is enough to get your heart pumping and lower your stress levels.
Day five: Focus on sleep
Do you ever feel frazzled and run down? Or have a hard time concentrating? I bet lack of sleep could be to blame. While many people brag about not sleeping, the fact is we DO need sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus.
When we can’t focus, we lose out on important information, such as what is said to us by our boss or loved ones. When we lose out on important information, it’s harder for us to complete our tasks or be there for the person in question. We also lose out on our memory. No wonder we feel like crap.
Make it a point tonight to hit the hay earlier than usual. Wash your bedding and tidy up your bedroom to make sure it’s a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere. If you’re scared to fall asleep to a candle, try using an oil diffuser that you can put in a soothing essential oil blend containing lavender. Other scents that can help you sleep are ylang-ylang, chamomile, and peppermint.
Remember to prioritize sleep every night, not just on self care days!
Day six: Live, love, laugh
Try to have some fun on day six. A lot of self care advice is about taking yourself seriously, and while the stuff we’ve listed above is serious, we want you to have some fun too. Life in moderation is key to your happiness.
You’re not going to be working on yourself all of the time, nor is it healthy. So take time on this day to do something you like.
If you feel like staying at home, pick up an activity or craft you’ve been meaning to finish. If you don’t have any, the bullseye section at Target has a ton of crafts for adults that only cost a couple of bucks.
Watch a comedy on Netflix or pull up a standup routine from your favorite comedian on Youtube. If you feel more like a social butterfly, ask a friend to meet you for a happy hour so you and your wallet can both reap the benefits.
Day seven: Reflect on your self care week
Take time on day seven to reflect on your self care week. Get your journal out from day one and check-in with yourself. How do you feel today after 7 days of self care? Did you learn anything? When you reflect on your previous week, you can find out what worked for you and what didn’t.
Reflecting can help you decide what parts of self care are more important to you and what may need work. Once you’ve reflected on your week, you can move forward with confidence, knowing that you have what it takes to get your self care done.
This could also be a great way to channel how you felt on certain days and maybe boundaries you need to put in place.
Prioritize yourself with a self care week!
You only get one of you. Protect yourself, respect yourself and love yourself. A self care week can be a great way to restart your relationship with yourself. But why stop at 7 days of self care?