The first step to self-care is realizing that those talk shows and dieting plans are not the way to go. Self-care is supposed to be things that make you feel better. If you aren’t used to eating a certain way or working out every morning, it won’t help. Start small with things that you actually enjoy.

If you are into yoga but don’t have time amongst the hustle and bustle of the day, set out a 15-30-minute time frame where you do yoga. It can be any time of the day, morning, noon, or night. If you love rock climbing but just can’t seem to get away, schedule monthly trips. Self-care consists of items that are a part of your everyday routine, but it also contains items that are done once in a while, special treats if you will.

The next step is to be realistic. If you set goals that you won’t see immediate results in you will get discouraged. Take it from someone who makes the same new year’s resolution every year and never follows through. It is easy to give up if the goal seems too large.

Whether it means starting off with a goal of drinking water five days out of a week or eating broccoli twice a week. That will eventually become a habit that will grow and become a routine. From there take baby steps, once the first thing becomes natural for you add something else.

Just remember that not everything has to be planned. Did that meeting not go as well as you wanted it to? Take a step back and go get that haircut that you’ve been thinking about. Not only will it make you feel better about what happened, but it’ll give you that confidence boost you needed for your next big project.

Not everything that you do has to be a big gesture to make yourself feel better about what’s going on. For me I carry a small shiny black and gray rock in my purse every day. Why? Because my professor gave it to me with the intent to make me feel better. Her grandfather gave her a rock and told her that if she had it, she would be okay, and he would be with her. While she isn’t my family, she was and still is an inspiration to me. The rock reminds me to slow down, take a breath, feel the air move from my lungs, and start again.

Self-care is about helping yourself become the best that you can be, not the best that someone else can be. Realistically everyone will compare themselves to a different person at one point or another in their lives. The key is to realize that while you are extremely different from one person, it is those variations that make both people unique and specifically suited for the role that they play.

So, take a second, breathe in and out, close your eyes, and then begin again. Start each day with fresh eyes and an open mind. Eat that donut you’ve been craving, paint your nails, or splurge on that new basketball. Just remember to take time for yourself in the middle of all the beautiful chaos that is this world.

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