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How to have a self-care day and not feel guilty about it

We’ve all dreamt about the coveted self-care day, but actually making one happen is easier said than done. It’s a crucial practice though, and we all need to take time to care for ourselves and promote overall wellness. Living in a busy world can be overwhelming, and this pressure can become debilitating, even for the strongest of us. Your mind and body will thank you for taking moments to yourself, filled with relaxation and joy.

Setting time aside for self-care can be tricky. Between work, family, and other commitments, many feel guilty about sacrificing productivity for a spa day. However, taking time for yourself is one of the most productive things you can do. Dedicating time to relax and regroup can prevent burnout and increase focus and energy.

Stick with us as we walk through how to plan a self-care day that you won’t feel guilty about.

Self-care day routine

The beautiful thing about self-care is that it looks different for everyone! It’s all about what makes you feel refreshed and at peace, whether that includes a day trip to the beach or a day spent in bed with a book. Here are a few places to start:

Do one thing for your physical health

Since mental health is connected to physical health, it’s essential to care for them both. Nurture your body by engaging in a workout or taking a bath to de-stress. Either way, releasing tension from your body is a crucial item on your self-care to-do list.

Better your environment

Your environment impacts your mood, so your space should radiate the positive energy you strive for. Set aside 10 minutes, half an hour, or however much time you can and dedicate it to creating the most relaxing environment. Cleaning will declutter your space and your mind, whether it’s as small as making the bed or as time-consuming as a Marie Kondo overhaul. If possible, consider spending your self-care day in a room where you don’t usually work, study, or do other stressful tasks. You certainly don’t need to limit yourself to the home, either. Go on a walk, relax in a park, or take a drive down the scenic route. The most important thing is that the space you’re in is one that brings you peace.

a woman with dark curly hair sits in front of a canvas and paints, surrounded by brushes in jars and paint bottles
WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

Express yourself

Self-care days are most effective when you take the time for self-reflection. While you spend the day releasing your tension, don’t forget to take the time to unpack what causes these stresses and make a gameplan to manage them. Journaling and mind mapping are two techniques to organize your thoughts, but if you find it difficult to verbalize your thoughts, express yourself through music, art, or dance. Bringing your ideas out of your head and turning them into something tangible allows you to confront, and then resolve, your stress.

How to not feel guilty about a self-care day

Now that you’ve thought through what a self-care routine might look like for you, let’s bring it to life!

Before retiring to your “me day,” ensure you make a plan for all of your daily responsibilities. Call a babysitter (and have another on standby), delegate tasks at work, and send a quick note to friends and family. While everyday concerns may still be on your mind, giving advance notice and covering your major responsibilities can decrease the guilt associated with taking a little time off.

Set boundaries with yourself

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes you don’t know you need a mental health day until the morning of. Whenever possible, however, do your best to plan ahead in order to give yourself and others the time to plan around it. While an emergency mental health day isn’t entirely avoidable, regularly taking days off to de-stress can prevent your anxieties or frustrations from becoming overwhelming.

If you are especially concerned about being away from your responsibilities for too long, set boundaries with yourself around how long your self-care time might take. Is it easier for you to take off half-days as opposed to full days? That’s totally fine. As long as you are honest with yourself about what and how much time you need, you can ensure your day is fulfilling and energizing, not aimless and wasteful.

a woman sits cross-legged on a carpet with her hand over her heart

Set boundaries with others

Don’t be afraid to let someone know what you’re up to; part of self-care is asking for help. If your roommate knows you’re taking time to yourself, for example, they won’t nag for your help around the house for the day. Additionally, if your self-care day includes unplugging from your devices, let your friends and family know beforehand. They won’t have to worry about your whereabouts, and you won’t have to worry about interruptions.

Put away your phone

To avoid any potential distractions or guilt, put away the technology! You won’t be as tempted to sacrifice your precious time if you can’t see what’s going on, after all. No phone = no FOMO. This will make it immensely easier to keep your focus on yourself in the present moment.

Self-care is vital to your mental and physical wellbeing, and you should be able to enjoy it guilt-free. We hope these tips inspire you to craft your own day for rest and relaxation.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
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