9 pieces of self care advice for beginners | what I wish I'd heard when I started my self care journey

9 Essential Pieces Of Self Care Advice For Beginners

Self care advice is everywhere, and when you’re just beginning your self care journey, it can be tempting to indulge in as much of this information as possible. That’s what I did when I first started, but it wasn’t long before I became overwhelmed.

A lot of the self care advice was focused towards those who had been engaging in self care for a while. It could have just been my shoddy Google search skills, but I really struggled to self care advice focused specifically on those just beginning their journey.

A selection of fake plants in white and see through plant pots on a windowsill.
Having started my own self care journey back in August, I’m definitely nowhere near an expert. It does feel like I’m a million miles from where I was, however. 

With that being said, I thought I’d take today’s blog post to talk about all the self care advice I wish I’d been given back at the very beginning.

Even if you haven’t just started your self care journey, many of the points I’m focusing on are things we need to constantly remind ourselves of. I definitely benefited from writing this blog post myself, so I hope that, even if you aren’t a complete beginner, you feel able to take something from this post.

Changes Won’t Happen Overnight 

We’ve all seen those relatable tweets from people talking about exercising for two days and wondering why they don’t have a six-pack yet, haven’t we? Realistically, however, we all understand that changes from exercise will not occur overnight. It takes time for your body to adjust, and repetition to build up to the results you’re expecting.

The same goes for your self care journey. The only difference is that instead of your body needing time to adjust, it’s your brain.

Also like exercising, however, people can be quick to stop their self care journey when they don’t see results. If I could give you one piece of self care advice, it would be not to do this.

I promise you the results will be worth it if you push through the initial disappointment that comes with realising it takes time to achieve the desired outcome from self care. When you do start noticing a difference, you will be thankful you kept at it.

Start Small For Self Care Success 

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know I bang on about starting small a lot. When it comes to your self care journey, however, this advice is extremely important.

The truth is, trying to do everything at once when you’ve never actively engaged with self care before is extremely bad practice. You might feel motivated for the first couple of days, but once the tasks become more overwhelming, the temptation to give up is extremely strong.

Instead, one of my biggest pieces of self care advice is to start really small. There are lots of self care advice posts already out there, but the truth is, you might need to start with even smaller tasks than what others recommend.

If you want your self care journey to lead to an afternoon spent reading, say three hours or so, you’re going to need to start smaller if you aren’t reading at all currently. Try starting with thirty minutes of this activity, building it up to sixty minutes and then ninety minutes as time goes on and you feel more able to do so. Don’t move too quickly, regardless of the activity, as this can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

In the worst case scenario, pushing yourself too far too fast with self care can lead to you procrastinating self care itself. This will make it seem more like a chore than a relaxation activity, and that’s not useful in the slightest for you and your self care journey.

What Works For Someone Else May Not Work For You 

Self care advice has become extremely popular on social media. In fact, I think we can say that about self care in general, really.

On the one hand, this is great; the more awareness about how we need to look after ourselves the better, right? The downside to this is that we’re all guilty of subconsciously comparing ourselves to others on social media.

It can seem like we’re doing something wrong is the things that won’t for others don’t work for us. Sure, there are luxurious photos of bubble baths and face masks on social media, but if they don’t work for you? That’s okay.

Even if someone spouts self care advice that they see as essential for everyone who engages in self care, it’s okay if you don’t get on with it.

The important thing is that you know when it’s okay to disregard self care advice. If you’re just starting your self care journey, you might want to give everything a go; that’s what I did!

If it’s not working, however, know when it’s doing more harm than good and stop. There are other things you can do that will work, I promise. It’s just a matter of finding them.

Self Care Isn’t A Competition

I think it’s become easy to think of self care as a competition in the last few years, since it started to become more popular on social media. It’s so easy now to get wrapped up in what other people are doing for their self care journey’s that you lose sight of why you started yours in the first place.

It’s not always a bad thing to compete with others, but when you’re doing something for yourself, learning to care less about what others are doing is so important. We all have different reasons to engage in self care, so what you need to do and what someone else needs to do could be totally different.

Self care advice can be really helpful, but remember to take it with a pinch of salt if you start to think of self care as a competition. You do not need to compete with someone else when it comes to your own wellbeing.

It’s Okay To Switch Things Up

Like I mentioned further up in this article, if something isn’t working for you, there’s no point in continuing to do it.

Especially when you’re beginning your self care journey, there is going to be an element of trial and error whilst you take the time to discover the self care advice and activities that apply to you.

When I discover a new self care activity that I might like to incorporate, I tell myself I will try it three times. If I still don’t feel the benefits from that activity after that, and I’m not interested in it, I’ll stop.

This helps with the guilt that I often feel about giving things up before I’ve given them a proper chance.

There will always be times when I wonder if an activity would have benefited me if I had preserved for a while longer. The beauty of life though is that it’s the longest thing we’ll ever do, giving us plenty of time to revisit old self care activities as and when we please.

a white and grey bedspread on a white bed with two grey pillows and a stuffed bunny on it. fairy lights sit on the back of the bed. | sometimes, on bad self care days, all you can do is be kind to yourself, go back to bed and remind yourself there's always tomorrow.

Bad Days May Still Happen 

The beauty of human emotions means that we won’t always feel good about ourselves. Self care advice often tells us that looking after ourselves will cure us of these bad days, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

In fact, this entire blog post was inspired by the fact that I’ve been struggling with my mental health lately. I’ve continued with my self care journey, taking regular breaks to look after myself, but I’m still struggling. I wanted to create this post to remind myself why I promised myself I would prioritise self care in the first place.

You might think that’s a weird thing for me to admit in a self care advice post, but I still believe that self care is extremely beneficial, whether you struggle with a mental illness or not.

See, before I started thinking seriously about self care, I would punish myself a lot when I was in a bad place mentally. I used to blame myself, and that wasn’t helpful or productive.

Now, I’m trying to be kinder to myself, and reward myself for what I can get done with some of my favourite self care activities.

As anyone with a mental illness will understand, this method isn’t always successful. There are certainly days where I wonder why I bother with self care, but I do it anyway, and it makes me grateful for the days when it does work.

Just as a little side note, I find taking the time to treat myself with extra self care activities on a bad mental health day helps me to handle basic self care tasks, too. Getting out of bed and pushing myself to shower is hard, but it’ll be worth it if I can climb back into bed and watch a TV show after, right?

Emotions Aren’t The Enemy 

One piece of self care advice I think is super important is to keep checking in on your emotions. It can be extremely tempting to reassure yourself that you’re fine because you’re engaging in self care and ignoring how you’re feeling, even when you aren’t.

I’m definitely guilty of falling into this trap myself. Being autistic, I can find it incredibly difficult to identify and process my emotions. I think this is something you can probably relate to even if you aren’t autistic, though. We get busy, forget to take notice of our emotions and listen to our body, and things soon become overwhelming.

Instead of pushing your emotions away and hiding the bad ones underneath layers of self care, take the time to be present with how you are feeling.

You don’t often see this in self care advice posts, but I’d definitely say being present and comfortable with your emotions is a big self care thing.

Personally, I like do this when I’m in bed, preparing to sleep. It’s usually quietest in my house at this time of night, and I can lie undisturbed for as long as I need to.

I know some people find meditation is a great way of doing this, too, so if that works for you, it might be a great thing to incorporate into your self care routine.

Self Care Isn’t Selfish 

We live in a society where we’re fooled into thinking we need to be busy all the time. This can make us feel like we’re being selfish, or lazy, when we dare to take time for ourselves; whether that’s a few minutes, hours or even a day.

A lot of self care activities involve being by yourself. This doesn’t have to be the case, but I find it’s nice to switch off and allow myself to be completely disconnected for a while.

For a long time, I thought this need to be alone was selfish. If I wasn’t constantly available for others, then I was a bad person, right?

Well, no, actually.

The truth is everyone needs time to be alone, even if you’re extremely extroverted. Just a few minutes to gather yourself or allow yourself to do nothing at all can do you the world of good.

After all, self care is all about replenishing your energy reserves and helping you feel relaxed, so it’s important for you to take the time necessary to do so.

You are not selfish because you dare to take time for yourself and your self care journey; you are a human being who is doing what is right for them.

Self Care Is A Journey, Not A Destination

This sounds like one of those cutesy, mystical quotes you’d see on Pinterest, but it’s something I truly believe.

A lot of self care advice suggests there’s this point you reach when you’ve done the work you need to do and can continue as you are. It’s almost suggesting that, once you’ve found the things that work for you, that’s all you need to do… ever.

This might be a personal thing, but I honestly don’t think I’ll ever see an end to my self care journey. I’ll constantly be striving to find new activities to engage in, or adapting my current self care routine as my life adjusts.

I have absolutely no doubt that the self care routine I have at the moment will look completely different a few years down the line, and that’s okay.

Did you find this self care advice useful? Is there any other advice you think people starting their self care journey’s need to know about? 

Self care advice can be extremely overwhelming as a beginners. You're looking everywhere for self care tips that will help you begin your self care journey with a self care routine, and it's hard to know where to start. Here are the 9 pieces of self care advice I wish I'd received when I started my self care journey.

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Self care advice is everywhere on the internet, but very little of this is self care advice for beginners. If you're looking for the most basic self care advice, or self care tips, this is the post for you. With every piece of self care advice you need to get started, this is what you need to succeed! #selfcareadvice #selfcaretips #selfcareforbeginners

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62 thoughts on “9 Essential Pieces Of Self Care Advice For Beginners

  1. This is such a well written post! You’re totally right there’s so much about self care these days it can be overwhelming! And it’s definitely easy to think things will just happen over night! I wish I had time for self care these days!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

    1. Thank you for such a lovely compliment; it means a lot! The advice out there about self care can definitely be overwhelming! I can imagine finding time for yourself is super difficult with a baby to look after.

  2. These is such a great list! It’s so important to realize that everyone is different and that it takes time to make a change. Comparing yourself to others is never a good thing to do in any situation, especially mental health. Everyone should definitely follow your advice!

    Alexx – https://aestheticsbyalexx.com

    1. Thank you, Alexx! I’m glad you liked my advice, and I completely agree with you regarding comparing yourself and the impact this can have on your mental health.

  3. This is an amazing post Rebekah, whenever I start something new I always start small because I’m more likely to stick to it rather than the ‘go big or go home’ attitude some people have. Like you say, everybody’s different so what works for me, may not work for you. I also love that you’ve made a point that self care isn’t selfish because I always used to guilt myself for taking time out for myself and it would make me ill.

    Kayla | http://www.kaylajayne.co.uk

  4. This is an amazing list! And I’m definitely guilty of not starting small. And yes, I get overwhelmed pretty quickly. ^^
    My favourite tip though is that not everything works for everyone. That is so true and something a lot of people don’t realize or don’t want to realize.
    Love your blog btw. I’m definitely gonna check out some other posts this week

    Love, El xx

    1. Thank you so much; I’m glad you liked the list! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed, which is why starting small is super important. I think we love conformity, so when we can’t conform, we fool ourselves into thinking we do or push through because we hope something will click at some point.

      And thank you for your compliment regarding my blog; it really does mean a lot! I hope you enjoy the other posts you check out.

  5. I loved this post! I see so many posts/ videos that are based around routines but they seem to slide right by the fact that establishing a routine is one of the hardest things to begin with. Totally agree that it can get a bit overwhelming too and what works for one definitely does not work for all. My with the Headspace app left me feeling more stressed than when I started 😂. Great post x


    1. That’s a great point you’ve made! I read a psychology study recently that suggested what we’re told about a habit taking 21 days to create is total rubbish, and it’s actually something more like a year, so starting small is super important. I’m sorry to hear the Headspace app was overwhelming for you; I’ve not used it myself, but I’ve heard it’s been great for others. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  6. Wonderful blogpost. I like how you explore understanding the idea of self-care, and that it’s not an overnight instant success experience, it takes consistent effort and tweaking. It’s an important point, and think will help others feel less discouraged or frustrated when it doesn’t come easy right away.

    I’d say that self-care doesn’t always look like you’d think it is; for me sometimes it’s downtime or journaling where I am more able to explore my own feelings. While other times, it’s allowing the time for me to make lunch, putting a face mask on or going for a walk, which all have felt like positive self-care for me.

    Another is be consistently patient, and keep at it. There are times I’ve done well with self-care and others where I’ve fallen off the habits, but haven’t given up entirely yet and am trying to really understand how to make these habits easier to practice, and recognize when I am able to do something good or complete an act of self-care.

    1. Thank you, Kylie; I’m glad you liked the blog post.

      Thank you for writing such an in-depth, lovely comment, too. I completely agree with what you’re saying about self-care seeming different on different days! That’s such a good point. I love your last point, too, about making habits easier to practice instead of giving up entirely! It sounds like you really have this self care stuff under wraps!

      1. Thanks. I’m still working on it myself, and there are definitely things I need to improve on but the things I have started to do, encourage me to continue the journey.

  7. Great post! Self-care is so important to well-being. It can be hard to make it a habit when there are so many other things competing for our time. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    1. Thank you, Gina! It really is super important. It’s so difficult, but also super worth it. I hope you’re able to find time to look after yourself in the future.

    1. Thank you, Gemma! You’re so right; it’s hard, but comparing ourselves to others really does suck the positivity out of us. All you can do is try, though, so just do your best and hopefully you’ll find yourself doing it less as time goes on.

  8. Love this. When i have bad days I congratulate myself for what I have done in the past x

  9. Great tips. I also love the idea of starting small in just about everything. Ambition can be the enemy of progress for me. I want all the changes right now and can get discouraged. But seeing things incrementally get better is a great motivator to keep going.

    1. Thank you, Stacey! I think starting small is perhaps one of the most useful pieces of advice that can be applied to pretty much every aspect of your life. It’s so tempting to let ambition take over, but resisting and building it up often leads to better results! Like you said, seeing things get better slowly is so motivating.

  10. These are all great pieces of advice. I’ve found that I’m so busy, self-care becomes just another chore that’s added to my “to do” list. Sigh. This post is very helpful, and may just have motivated me to start again. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Beth. It’s extremely difficult to incorporate it into your life when you’re busy, but it’s so necessary. I’ve written a post about how to prioritise self care that you might find helpful?

  11. These tips are on point. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of life, parenting, work, etc., that we don’t take time for self-care. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Oh boy these are such important points about self-care! People so often want to see results right away, but it just doesn’t work that way…you gotta stick with it and be consistent…it’s well worth the wait!

  13. This is brilliant, Rebekah. I completely agree with all of your points, especially starting small and the fact it’s a journey. I remember thinking self care was all about Lush bath bombs and lotions and potions. The whole idea of it just didn’t seem to fit with me. Since then, I’ve learnt more about it and, as you say, realised it’s about discovering what works for you. In my case, a cup of tea or a nap. I like your system of trying something 3 times before you decide one way or another!

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Ruth! I think that’s a massive misconception, and it was what stopped me from getting into self care for a long time! A cup of tea or a nap sounds like a great form of self care; I could definitely do with incorporating a nap into my self care routine at some point, haha! Thank you. It’s worked great for me so far, so I definitely recommend giving it a go if you’re not sure whether or not you’ll like something.

  14. Love how you have mentioned that things won’t happen overnight. I think from time to time we forget how not to get discouraged when something does not happen immediately. Love your post, very insightful.

    1. Thank you, Fatema. I think we’re all guilty of that sometimes, but it’s important to try and break out of it as much as possible. I’m glad you found my post helpful!

  15. This is a great post. Self care is definitely important but we need to make sure we don’t get overwhelmed – starting small and not comparing yourself to others is great advice. And consistency is key, whatever you’re doing.


  16. Great tips! I believe in self care 100% but yes, always good to remember we will still have those bad days.

  17. This is great post! The advice is great and so so useful and true.
    Very important, thanks for sharing
    Loren | plaidandsugar.blogspot.ca

  18. Fantastic post! It’s so easy for people to say take time out for yourself etc, but as you pointed out with the reading one, if you’re not doing it, trying to relax for an hour can actually be daunting and stressful! I loved reading this – and it’s definitely one that I not only wish I’d been told, but one that I will keep coming back to.

    1. Thank you, Lindsey! I love the reading example you gave! That’s something that’s super relevant to me at the moment; I keep saying I’ll make time to read, but I’m expecting to be able to spare an hour every night and it’s obviously not happening, haha! I’m glad that you found this helpful. It’s nice to hear from someone else who wishes they had been told this information, too.

  19. Anything worth doing is never an easy or quick task! If it was, it wouldn’t be worth it! I couldn’t agree any more than I do with basically everything you’ve said in this post.

    I’m definitely guilty of feeling like I need to be switched on constantly for other people. If I’m not doing something for someone else, cleaning my home, spending time playing with my daughter and dog, or working, then I’m literally beating myself up about not doing one of those things! Or I’ll create new things that need doing, my own worst enemy!

    Davis | http://www.everythingstartswithtea.co.uk

    1. I LOVE what you’ve said about things worth doing aren’t easy or quick. It’s so true!

      I’m definitely guilty of what you mentioned, too, but the fact that you’re conscious of it is an important step in making small changes in your life, even if it’s only taking ten minutes to just be content with doing nothing.

  20. Your post is awesome!! So helpful for people who, as me, is starting it self-care journey, Thank you so much for share your tips.

  21. Girl, if this ain’t the TRUTH!! ❤️ Some days/weeks/months are harder than others. One day at a time. Love this post.

  22. Love these reminders. Especially that self-care is not selfish, and that it is a journey not a destination. Really important for our workaholic society to learn! Inspiring, thank you.

    1. Thank you, Bliss! I definitely think our workaholic society is guilty for the way we think of self care, but it seems like more and more people are starting to rebel against the traditional mindset now, which I obviously love, haha! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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