It's common to not engage in any self care, and then have to engage in it exclusively. Healing is not linear and life's stressors fluctuate, so knowing how to identify when you need a break is valuable.
However, it can be hard to find big chunks of time to focus solely on yourself, and burning out doesn't feel good, so also finding ways to integrate self care into your daily routines and rituals can help you feel more balanced day to day.
1. Create a care basket/package for yourself or a loved one, so that when everything feels like it's going wrong, you're already set up with a curated experience that can help you process what's going on, feel comforted, recenter, tune out, or rest. Fill it with art supplies or a coloring book, knitting or embroidery, a fidget toy, something that smells good, something soft, something that makes you laugh, something comfortable to wear, notes from friends, a jar or journal full of affirmations, your favorite books, your favorite tea, etc. Whatever will make you feel the way you're going to want to feel in that time of stress.
2. Identify routines or rituals you can engage in regularly that make you feel loved and cared for by yourself, like writing, art, dancing, being outside or regularly setting intentions for example. Find time in your schedule to aim to do these things. (If you're interested in talking more about how to integrate these habits into your life, consult a Holistic Learning Program staff member and/or check out our Time Management Guide in the Holistic Learning Student Toolbox.)
3. If you have a chronic illness, read Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino and consider how to reallocate your daily spoons.