How to Create a Real Self-Care Routine That Works

how to create a real self-care routine that works

When you hear "creating a self care routine", what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Is it a step by step check list of activities that will magically result in all the positive feels? 

Or, images of hot bubbles baths and overflowing glasses of wine.

Before creating a self-care routine, you have to understand what self-care is first. Yes, it's taking care of yourself, but what does that really mean? It means paying bills on time, it means creating boundaries, it means making your health a priority and yes it also means saying yes to yourself and doing things that feel good from time to time.

It's not a blanket #YOLO that affords you the ability to ignore responsibilities, budgets, and anything that feels remotely like work.

Creating a true self-care routine is a sugar coated way of saying stepping up and actually #adulting in your life. Your routine will be a mix of what feels good to you (bubble baths + wine) and what IS good for you (paying bills on time). To start simply, there are 7 days in the week. It's best to choose the activities to fill your days, and then yes, celebrate your accomplishments with the ultimate self-care Sunday.

//Preparing To Create Your Routine//

When creating your routine, consider what it takes to live your life. Break out your journal and write out your answer to the following questions. Your routine should take care of your physical self, as well as your emotional self and all other elements that impact both.

  • What are your joy points? Where does your life light you and why?

  • Where do you feel in control? What contributes to your sense of empowerment?

  • Where do you feel anxious in your life? What are your triggers? How can you lessen their impact?

  • When do you feel best at work? How can you replicate this for multiple days? 

Your self-care routine should empower you to show up as your best self, daily. Review your answers, and look for the major life areas they impact.

Your self-care routine should empower you to show up as your best self, daily.

The life areas and solutions may not jump right out at you, you may have to do a little creative analysis to get to the root.

  • Finances feel out of control? You may need to create time to build a budget, and your self-care routine should include a weekly/bi-weekly review of spending.

  • Feel like you can't think straight, or it's hard to feel settled in your space? That's a sign that you may need to clean your space. Clutter creeps in slowly over time. Creating a routine that includes straightening up in the evenings, but also larger scale cleaning will help you feel lighter and think clearer when at home.

  • Find it hard to relax and/or fall asleep at night? Meditation will work wonders for you. There are different types of meditation techniques that extend beyond sitting cross leg on a mat. Check out the meditation & mindfulness section of the site for more ideas.

  • Feel controlled by food? Or suffer from the afternoon slump at work? Meal prepping is the solution for you. Leveling up your nutritional knowledge, learning to eat consciously, and choosing foods right for your body (and not just your emotions) will help you regain control and confidence when it comes to food.

  • Thoughts run through your head all day and you find yourself forgetting great ideas? Try journaling. This could look like free writing in the morning, using prompts like these grounding questions, or even just carrying a notebook to jot down ideas when the mood strikes. The point is to clear up the mental chatter, by getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper.


Creating a feel good Self-Care Sunday

Now for the big self care finale. Please note that your grand self-care day doesn't have to be Sunday -- it can be any day of the week when you have the max amount to devote to yourself.

Choose activities that nourish your mind, body and soul. Whether you have a whole day, a half day or a few hours to yourself, use this list to help guide your ultimate indulgent experience. These examples can help you begin crafting your Sunday self-care experience.

MIND ACtivities


Read a book for pleasure


Express Gratitude

No screen time

BODY ACtivities

Go for jog or short walk

Yoga or Pilates



Running outdoors

Soul ACtivities

Listen to a Podcast

Read a book to learn

Watch an inspirational video/sermon

Create something new

Relax in a bubble bath

There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.
— Aldous Huxley