Life. Ah. That ol’ chestnut. Has a habit of getting in the way sometimes don’t it? With the rise of people talking about the importance of self care reaching dizzying heights over the last few years, it also brings with it a bit of guilt, when we realise that we’re neglecting our own self care. Sometimes for weeks. Or when there’s a stressful event happening in our lives. Sometimes, we neglect it for months on end. And it can be hard to know how to bring self care back into your life when you’ve neglected yourself for too long.

bring self care back into your life

But seriously, no shame here. I think we’re ALL guilty of neglecting our own self care, whether that’s physical, mental or emotional at some point in our lives. For me, it was when I was in the midst of the worst period of my anxiety disorder. I could barely function to get through the day, let alone have to think FURTHER about self care.

To me, getting through the day WAS self care.

Although of course at the time, that wasn’t how I saw it. At the time, it was living hell (more about that in my book, which you can pre-order here!)

Getting back on track with self care isn’t easy. Especially when you’ve neglected it for far too long. But it’s important. We literally live in a society where we need to be REMINDED to take care of ourselves sometimes… how sad is that? We’re so busy. There’s so much going on around us. We need to be doing all the things, all the time.

And it’s time to stop and reclaim our self care. You, yes, I’m looking at you.

Self care

Here are a few easy to follow steps on how to bring self care back into your life when you’ve neglected yourself for far too long:

Start small and start somewhere

Okay, so the hardest part? Is getting started. Which goes for just about everything in life that seems mildly daunting. So the fact that you’ve even STARTED, is worth congratulating yourself for. If you’ve done nothing even remotely “self care” related in perhaps months and the whole prospect is overwhelming, then booking yourself a full blown spa weekend with no phone, internet or communication probably isn’t the way to go.

Don’t judge yourself

And wherever you DO start, don’t judge yourself for it. If the ONLY act of self care you can manage at the beginning is a having a bath or saying no to that invite that you really don’t want to go to, then that’s fine. I have a habit of feeling guilty about everything (another post for another time) so learning not to judge myself when it comes to self care is hugely important to me. Your journey is YOURS, nobody else’s.

Schedule self care into your day

If you’re not used to self care then you’ll probably make some excuses. Don’t worry, we all do it. “I forgot”, or “I don’t have time”, being the most common. WELL, firstly self care can be nicely slotted into your day in the following ways:

  • Reading on your commute instead of checking your phone
  • Waking up 15 minutes earlier for the peace and quiet
  • Limiting social media time in the evenings
  • Expressing gratitude every night before bed

among many, many other ways that you can start re-introducing self care into your life that won’t take up a bunch of time. And by scheduling it into your day, putting it on your to-do list or blocking out time especially for YOU, it’ll give you that little nudge and remind you that it’s just as important as all the other stuff you have to do during the day.

Gather inspiration for self care activities

Pinterest is a great tool for this one as there are countless blog posts and pins on self care activities which cover more or less everyone’s different interests. Just because someone else finds going to a spa relaxing, doesn’t mean that everyone else will. With self care, it’s all about finding what works for you but if you’re struggling for ideas because it’s been so long, somewhere like Pinterest is a good place to start.

Note down what works and what doesn’t

And speaking of finding what works for you, this is a BIG one. Because not everything you try will make you feel relaxed or happy or better. This is one I’m currently working on now. As I work for myself and work from home, I find it difficult to find a balance between life and work. So I started giving myself full days off, cold turkey, no work. Sometimes no social media either.

And I’ve found that actually… that doesn’t work for me. When I have a day off and don’t HAVE anything to do then literally, I will do nothing. I waste my days. I nap all afternoon. And ultimately, I end up feeling like crap. So whilst yes, having a day off is an important part of self care, working it in a way that suits you is the most important thing.

So for me, I’ve started trying out half days instead. Giving myself a couple of days in the week where I work until midday and then stop. Which seems to be working out much better for me at the moment.

How do you practice self care when you’ve neglected it for a while? Have you ever had a period of time where self care has taken a back seat?

141 Comments

  1. One of my favourite things about your blog is that even when returning to posts I’ve seen before, they still always make me have a hard look at what I’m doing. My self-care the last week or so has been appalling, especially as I literally didn’t leave the house for four days. This is the perfect reminder of some of the things that I can do to hopefully start looking after myself a little better, because I certainly need it right now.

  2. These are such fab tips! I love reading posts about self care they really inspire me to start looking after myself a bit better! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Self care is SO important! Some people seem to think it has to be this grand thing (which it can be) but definitely doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as going for a walk, sitting in the quiet for a couple minutes, watching your favorite show or movie. On the other hand it can also be the non glamorous stuff like going to work, eating healthy, cleaning your living space. πŸ˜‰

  3. Self care is so important these days! It’s often overlooked, but it’s imperative that we take time for ourselves and aren’t just constantly on the go.

  4. Great post Jenny πŸ™‚ I’m trying to introduce a more regular self-care regime into my life as it can be so important to staying happy and healthy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

  5. I love this post. It really is crazy that we need to be reminded about self-care and to schedule it in, but I know that I certainly am guilty of this. I like your idea of giving yourself just a half day to yourself rather than a full. I’ve been off work for the last 3+ months, and though I’ve had some lazy days and some super productive days, I’ve never really felt good about myself on the lazy days because I literally just vegged. Nothing lovely for myself at all. I’m going back to work next week and I hope that with a new normal, it will feel more natural to incorporate self care again.

  6. Love the openness of this post, and acknowledging how some things may work/not work for an individual person and that’s totally okay! <3

  7. Love this! Once you’ve fallen out of a routine (I know I do) it’s hard to get back into it so these small steps I can see being very beneficial – thank you Jenny!!

  8. I’m so bad at planning my days so end up missing out on self-care time because i need to get stuff done (and procrastinated) but I need to just start scheduling 15 minutes in!

    Ash | thisdreamsalive.com

  9. Great post! I love that even something so quick like expressing gratitude for 10 mins every night can make you feel like you’re your number 1 priority and you end up feeling a bit better! During lockdown i’ve been aiming to wake up a bit earlier before work so that I can get out for a walk in the sunshine and it definitely makes me feel more positive! Thank you so much for sharing x

  10. I loved this post! Self-care is so important and something that I need to take more time for, so thank you so much for sharing these tips! Xx

  11. This is such a helpful post for people who have let self care fall away for a bit. I’ve definitely gone through periods of that, particularly when I’m struggling with my mental health. It’s way too overwhelming for me to then try and dive straight back into it, but starting small is so helpful. Even just a nice shower, washing my hair and putting on some moisturiser can start making me feel human again. Now I’ve managed to work up to a full routine, and it’s really helped my balance and happiness!

  12. I’ve definitely fallen into harder times when self care just wasn’t happening at all. It really is so so important. But, so easy to not do for ourselves. I really appreciate this post. I like how you mention to schedule it. That’s very helpful to me. With three kids at home I have to schedule everything for it to get done, so I will definitely be scheduling self care into my days as well. Thank you for another wonderful post Jenny. Sending love and positivity your way.

  13. Self care is so important right now, it’s definitely something at the forefront of my mind right now. Your tips here are so on point and i’ll definitely be sharing this post amongst my community πŸ™‚ thanks for sharing your tips!

    Emmie x

  14. Honestly, I think I am at the “find what works and what doesn’t” stage. I feel like, what use to work for me, no longer does. And trying to find what DOES has been a chore. haha

    Thanks for this honest post. These tips are great. πŸ™‚

  15. If I don’t schedule self-care into my day, I more than likely don’t do it! My brain somehow remembers all the things I need to do except for taking a breather and relaxing.

    bossbabechroniclesblog.com

  16. I’ve never really had a self care routine or scheduled any specific time for it. I think now is a great time to try and work on introducing some to daily routines. And you’re right about starting with something small, even something tiny is better than nothing x