31 Ways to Create a Self-Care Routine

The Importance of Self-Care

I recently wrote a post on the benefits of self-care, so I decided to help you create your own self-care routine. Being able to customize it with yourself in mind will ultimately create a new happy you; vibrant, passionate, and living with intention. It’s important to note that self-care is also not a one-time deal. It isn’t something you do once, feel better, and then go back to what you were doing before. If you do that, you’ll eventually find yourself with an empty tank again. So, incorporate this routine into your daily life. Start with small changes so you don’t overwhelm yourself and grow from there. Make sure you do things that make you happy and not what you think you are supposed to do. Don’t forget this is your routine.

When it comes to self-care, there are three ways to do this: mind, body, and soul. It’s important to touch on all three of these areas, but not necessarily every day.

Self-Care for the Mind

  1. Set aside time to unplug. Completely step away from your phone and all the noise and notifications for a set period of time.
  2. Find ways to remove negativity. Let’s face it, there will always be negative Nellie’s, but we don’t have to let them seep into our lives. Mute them on social media, remove yourself from negative conversations, don’t give in to gossip.
  3. Meditate. Even if only for a minute, just taking the time to focus on your breathing, thoughts, and feelings, can make a huge impact on your day.
  4. Learn something new. Read my post on 50 things to learn right now for more ideas.
  5. Create a vision board
  6. Write a story or journal
  7. Read a book
  8. Sit outside
  9. Create something; color, sew, paint..
  10. Watch funny YouTube videos
  11. Look at the stars
  12. Listen to a self-care podcast
  13. Write a list of things you’re grateful for
  14. Watch the clouds go by

Self-care for the Body

  1. Do yoga
  2. Take a bubble bath with candles and calming music
  3. Get a pedicure and/or manicure
  4. Exercise
  5. Dance around the house
  6. Get a massage
  7. Go for a walk
  8. Cook a gourmet meal
  9. Take a nap
  10. Go to bed early or sleep in
  11. Play on the playground like a kid!
  12. Go swimming

Self-care for the Soul

  1. Perform a random act of kindness. There are so many ways to do this. It could be anything from checking in on a neighbor, paying for someone’s food at a restaurant, taking the local fire department a fruit tray, help someone carry their groceries to the car, pay for someone’s parking fee, leave inspirational note cards in random places (like on a gas pump, the grocery store, etc..), give your mailman some coffee, cut your neighbor’s grass.
  2. Laugh!!!
  3. Journal
  4. Spend time with your pet
  5. Spend time in the garden

I hope this gave you some inspiration to create your own self-care routine. If you have other things to add to the list, I would LOVE to hear them! I’m always looking for more ways to love on myself and others.

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Achieving Work-life Balance

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “work-life balance” thrown around a few times, but what does it mean? It’s basically how we divide our time between work and the things we value in our life. It could be spending time with family and friends, hobbies, or pets. Anything that makes you happy is what is important.

Sometimes we get so involved with our goals at work, we lose sight of keeping the balance. With today’s technology, it’s too easy to check emails after work hours or take phone calls at dinner time. We can get so wrapped up in trying to build our career, that our personal life pays the price.

My Story

Let me tell you a story…..I work full-time and I recently felt a bit restless at work. I’ve always loved writing and working on social media, so I decided to try virtual assistance. After doing some research and applying to MANY companies, I found 2 part-time jobs that allowed me to gain some experience in this field while working from home. My days started at 4:30 am to get in an hour of work at home before reporting to my full-time job at 6:30 am. The afternoons consisted of me picking up my daughter up from school, after-school activities, and then rushing home to immediately work on the other 2 jobs until I went to bed around 11 pm.

How long do you think that lasted before I crumbled? I can tell you. Three months. Why? BECAUSE THERE WAS NO WORK-LIFE BALANCE!!! Every aspect of my life suffered, from my family life, my work life, my productivity, and my health.

I have since quit one of the part-time jobs and my life has been much happier. I still get to work as a VA, but I also have time to cook dinner, spend time with my family, and SLEEP! Oh, how I missed sleep!

What are some ways to help you achieve work-life balance?

Learn to say NO. We sometimes want to be able to Do.All.The.Things. I have news for you. WE CAN’T!!! Figure out what is important to you and say no to all the rest. You’ll be happier, I promise.

Leave work at work. When you leave work for the day, leave it there. Don’t worry. It will be there waiting for you in the morning. No more checking work emails on your phone at dinner. No more worrying about that memo you need to write the next day. Just focus on the things that make you happy. That will look different for everyone. To me, it’s cooking dinner with my daughters, playing cards with my family, taking my dog on a walk, or reading a good book.

Actually take that vacation time. Studies have shown fewer people actually take vacation time for vacation. It’s important to get away and recharge. Go see something new, have new experiences, forget about the day to day life for just a bit. A couple of years ago we bought a camper and take frequent, small camping trips with the family. I’m so grateful for those times. Read about our New Orleans trip here.

Fuel your own passions. Go do what makes you happy! Need to learn something new? You’re in luck! I just made a list of 50 Things to Learn Right Now! This will make you a more rounded person and make you more attractive to employers and other people!

Maintain a night-time routine. Make sure you get the proper amount of sleep. Don’t do like I did and trade sleep for work. That never works out in the end.

Stop comparing. Stop looking at other co-workers who DON’T have that balance (in other words, are workaholics) and think you need to keep up with them. You do you, boo.

You don’t want to go home. If you are working all the time because you just can’t face going home, you need to stop and ask yourself some hard questions. Don’t use work as a means of escape.

Have you ever struggled with work-life balance? I would love to hear how you have handled it or if this blog post has helped you.

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50 Things to Learn Right Now

Have you ever met someone that never wanted to learn anything new and be successful? Yeah, me neither. Learning new things doesn’t necessarily mean you’re aiming for success. But it keeps you relevant, vibrant, and young. It keeps you from being stagnant and staying in one place for the rest of your life. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be stagnant.

I have an addiction to all the shiny things (that’s what I like to call all the online courses I have purchased over the years). I sometimes feel like a sponge, always wanting to soak up everything that’s out there, knowing I never will.

Want to start learning new things, but don’t know where to start?

50 Things to Learn Right Now

  1. Take a course on Udemy. There are so many free and affordable courses on Udemy, you’ll be learning something new forever!
  2. Read more. Every time I read something, I walk away with something new.
  3. A new language
  4. A new sport
  5. How to swim
  6. A new yoga pose
  7. Learn a new cooking skill (or just how to plain cook!)
  8. Go for a hike and learn what natural foliage is around you
  9. Change a tire
  10. Grow a garden
  11. Play an instrument
  12. A new game
  13. Write a book
  14. Budget
  15. How to drive
  16. How to go on an interview
  17. Write a resume
  18. To sew
  19. Take care of an animal
  20. Self-defense
  21. Fly an airplane
  22. Skydive
  23. Sail a boat
  24. How to ski
  25. Scuba Dive
  26. Under-water basket weaving
  27. How to surf
  28. Create flower arrangements
  29. Survivor skills
  30. Travel
  31. Speak in front of a crowd
  32. Ride a horse
  33. Sign language
  34. Lose weight
  35. CPR
  36. Rock climb
  37. Pray
  38. Photography
  39. Ice skate
  40. French braid
  41. Juggle
  42. Make balloon animals
  43. Dance
  44. Type
  45. Create a vision board
  46. Go camping
  47. File your taxes
  48. Make a YouTube video
  49. Make stained glass
  50. Calligraphy

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Why You Need Self-Care

When I say self-care, what comes to mind? Anything? To a lot of us, self-care is such a foreign concept. We (especially us mamas), spend all of our time taking care of others until there isn’t anything left in the tank to give ourselves.

Do your days go like this?

  1. Get home from work
  2. Hey Mom! What’s for dinner? I’m hungry
  3. Oh wait, I have to clean the kitchen before I can even think about cooking.
  4. While I’m cleaning:
    1. Hey Mom, I need $40 for a school club fee.
    1. Oh hey, can you sign this so I can go on a field trip?
    1. I need to buy another book for school. I need it by tomorrow.
  5. Now I’m finally cooking.
  6. Did you feed the dogs?
  7. The trash is full, I better empty it.
  8. Ok, dinner is finally done!
  9. Now, let me clean the kitchen again.
  10. Oh, wait, I need to prep my breakfast and lunch for tomorrow.
  11. Let’s go buy that book… the store should still be open.
  12. Ok, now maybe I can veg, or pay some bills, or work on my second job, or work on my blog.
  13. I think I’ll finally go to bed (it’s 10:30 and I get up at 4:30)
  14. Oh Mom! Can you help me study?
  15. <insert crying inside>

Can you see how this endless cycle can make you feel depleted?

Taking care of ourselves is so important. When we do that, it helps us take care of everyone else.

If self-care isn’t’ something you’ve done in the past, this might be hard at first. It may even seem selfish. I know I have suffered from mom guilt for taking care of myself, too. But the more you do it, the more you’ll realize how necessary it is. It fills our tank so we can keep giving.


What are the benefits of self-care?

  1. It prevents burnout. When we are constantly taking care of others, we forget to take care of ourselves and will eventually suffer from burnout. That might look different for different people, but will ultimately end the same way, with you being no good to anyone. Read my post 9 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Stress for more ideas.
  2. You learn your self-worth. Learning to take care of ourselves helps us to realize we are worth it. Learning self-care helps us learn what makes us happy and what is important to us.
  3. You will more than likely lead a healthier lifestyle. When we start to focus on ourselves and what makes us happy, we tend to look at all aspects of our lives. Being healthy is a key factor when it comes to happiness. You’ll notice you’ll want to eat healthier and move a little more. Perhaps going on walks is part of your self-care routine!
  4. Live a more balanced life. Work-life balance is so important but sometimes we can find ourselves getting stuck in a rut. We work too many hours and stay too tired to take care of ourselves. And if we don’t’ work enough, we find ourselves going through life without direction. When you learn to take care of yourself, you learn the importance of balancing work and direction with fun, family, and friends.
  5. You learn time management! This one is so important. In order for you to carve out time for yourself, you will become a time management queen! You will have to live more intentionally and create a self-care routine. This will trickle into other aspects of your life and will improve it overall.

With so many benefits to self-care and absolutely no cons, this is definitely something you should partake in. Sit down and write out what makes you happy and figure out a way to incorporate that into your life. You deserve it.

I’d love to hear how you made self-care a part of your life! Leave a comment and share with us how you did it!

Things to do with Your Family in New Orleans

This past April, the hubs and I loaded up the kiddos and the camper and went to New Orleans for spring break.  It was absolutely one of my most favorite family vacations. The weather was perfect, the people were amazing, the music was fantastic, the beignets were delicious, and the memories were priceless.  We stayed for a week and that was the perfect amount of time to leisurely see all the sights without feeling rushed.

Where We Stayed in New Orleans

We stayed at the KOA New Orleans West.  It was a nice, quiet, clean campground. No frills and not very big, but the price was right!  It was about 30 minutes to the heart of the city, which was fine with us. I mean, we spent a week in New Orleans for about $300!  

If you want to read more about how to choose a camper, read my post Do you want to buy a camper?

 

What We Did

Day 1

Our first day, we didn’t really have a plan, so we decided to just wing it.  It was Easter Sunday and I didn’t know what would be open, so we just headed downtown and parked near the French Market and decided to find a place for lunch.  We ended up at Napoleon House.  The atmosphere was fantastic with all the ladies dressed in their Sunday best and huge Easter hats.  Samantha and I split a Muffaletta and still couldn’t finish it, it was so huge! Gordon got the red beans and rice and Anna had a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.  

 

With our bellies full, we wandered back to the French Market and shopped for a bit.  It reminded me of the Charleston slave market, only not quite as nice.

 

We then decided to head towards the street cars for a ride and walk down Bourbon Street on the way (just to say we had been there).  Unbeknownst to us, there was an Easter parade about to happen! We heard the music and floats coming, and just found a spot on the sidewalk.  It was SO FUN!!! They were throwing beads and eggs with candy to everyone and had on the most ridiculously huge hats! I loved every minute of it!  And what an awesomely spontaneous thing to have happened!

New Orleans Easter parade

 

We then rode the street car from the beginning to end without getting off.  Just enjoying the scenery and breeze blowing through the windows.

 

On the way back to the car, we walked past Cafe du Monde and saw that there was NO LINE!  If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, then you know what a big deal this was!  So, of course, we stopped in to enjoy their famous beignets.

 

We ended the night laughing and playing card games at the camper.

Day 2

Today was plantation day!  This is about an hour drive from NOLA and very much worth the time.

 

We started the day at Laura Plantation.  It was an old Creole sugar cane plantation that was run by 4 generations of women!  The tour guide was absolutely amazing and one of the best tours I’ve ever been on. She read us an excerpt from a book written by the Laura and actually cried as she read it.  Very moving….

Laura Plantation

 

We then ate at B+C Seafood, a stone’s throw away from Laura Plantation.  It very much reminded me of a hole in the wall, and those are always the best places to eat.  We munched on jambalaya, boudin balls, gumbo, red beans and rice, and gator burger.

B&C Seafood

 

After that, we drove to Oak Alley Plantation, which was only about 15 minutes from Laura Plantation.  Where Laura Plantation was more about the people that lived there, rather than the actual house, Oak Alley was all about the beautiful house.  It was breathtakingly beautiful and the oaks that line the walkway were amazing. Many films have been made there, including Interview with a Vampire.  Make sure you enjoy a mint julep while you are there!

Oak Alley Plantation

Day 3

We purchased a walking tour of the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.  I feel like this tour was a waste of money, as the tour guide was a super cute older lady, but I couldn’t hear a word she said and we had to wait about 30 minutes for her to show up because the group was too big for the tour guide (who spoke much louder) we had, and they divided us into 2 groups.  Anywho, I feel that just doing this on your own would be just as nice and it would save you some dough. The houses in this area are beautiful and the cemetery is eerily just as beautiful.

Lafayette Cemetary No. 1

Day 4

Today we went to the WWll Museum.  This was something my kids looked forward to the most as they are both learning about it in school.  Let me give you fair warning. Get there as soon as the doors open! We weren’t in a big hurry since this was the only thing we were going to do that day.  We got there around 1230 and the place was PACKED! There are 2 things you can do to upgrade your visit, and we were hoping to do both, but they sell out of those tickets fast and we could only do one (and it was the last showing of the day).  You can sign up for the PT-305, but since we didn’t get to do it, I can’t really tell you what it is. Me? Bitter? No…. BUT we did get to see the Beyond all Boundaries 4D movie, and it was well worth the wait! The best part of the whole day, by far!

Day 5

Today was my favorite day in New Orleans!  We started the day with a swamp tour on the bayou.  I wish I could remember where we went, but I didn’t write it down!  We didn’t sign up for this through a tour company but just did this on our own.  We opted not to do the airboat because it was a lot more expensive and I was told you get the same experience either way (you just go slower on the smaller boat).  Our tour guide was Cajun and knew everyone out there on the water. I loved all of his tall tales and we even got to hold a baby alligator, not to mention we saw a ton of them in the water.

holding an aligator

 

We decided to go back downtown and eat more beignets, do some shopping on Royal Street, and listen to jazz in the streets.  We accidentally happened upon Doreen Ketchens and she was AMAZING!  I could have listened to her all day.  If you ever get a chance to see her in person, I highly suggest it.

Doreen Kitchens

 

We then headed to the French Market to get their famous roasted corn (holy moly delicious) and then made our way back to the camper.

roasted corn

 

We ate dinner at a hole in the wall near the campground called Dot’s Diner, and of course, it was delicious.

 

As you can see, I loved everything New Orleans had to offer and made priceless family memories.  If you’ve never been, I highly suggest it!