It’s easy to neglect your own needs as a woman over 50. I know…it seems counter intuitive to say that, as our lives, schedules, commitments, and goals should be winding down and getting easier. But sometimes life just doesn’t work that way.
Some of us continue to work into our 60s and beyond. We might be caring for an elderly parent, a spouse or partner who is ill, helping to care for the grand kids, and other ongoing, time-consuming, and sometimes very stressful commitments.
Conversely, sometimes we find that a wide open schedule where the days seem to float from one to the next without purpose, puts us in a frame of mind that is harder to get focused and goal oriented. A weekly self care routine? It can seem like more bother than it’s worth.
Trust me, girlfriend, daily/weekly/ongoing ways to practice self care should be at the top of all of our life lists. If we don’t manage ourselves – our body, mind, and spirit – with purpose and determination, how can we manage any other part of our lives as we get older?
Whether it’s a regular, healthy morning routine, a systematic night time routine to prepare for good R&R, or a consistent weekly self care routine (or a combination of more than one!), there is something we all can do for our health and well being.
In this post we’ll focus on self care ideas for the week, and discuss what it is, how to cultivate that in your own life, and some examples of what it could include.
First, it’s important to understand the definition of self-care, so we know what it is, and what it isn’t.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self care as:
“the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”
According to this definition, self-care includes everything related to staying physically healthy — including hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical care when needed. It’s all the steps we can take to manage stressors in our life, and take care of our own health and well-being.
It is a conscious, proactive pursuit of integrated wellness that balances your mind, body, and spirit.
Here are some tips on how to create a weekly self care routine after 50 as well as some specific actions and activities to incorporate into it.
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Make Time for Weekly Self Care
If you’re someone who finds that the days somehow fill up with a variety of miscellaneous activities, or your life seems to already be full of commitments, it can be difficult to find time for weekly self care. However, there are three things that could help:
Set specific weekly self care goals – and make sure they’re realistic
Sometimes we think we need to do lots of different activities every week in order to take care of ourselves. In reality, finding just one or two simple self care routines is much more manageable!
For example, maybe you want to go on a walk in nature once a week or spend an hour doing yoga. It’s best to choose something specific like this rather than saying “I want to exercise more” because it gives you a clear starting point and makes the goal more realistic. Also, it’s important to remember that weekly self care routines don’t need to take a lot of time! Spending just ten minutes going for a walk or doing yoga can already make you feel better.
Try finding ways to make weekly self care more spontaneous
If you’re the kind of person who always plans everything in advance, you might find that weekly self-care isn’t as easy as it could be. If this applies to you, try making some spontaneous weekly self care activities part of your schedule instead, such as taking 10 minutes out during the day for a calming cup of tea or going for a relaxing walk outside.
It’s also good to have weekly self care habits that are there whether you plan them or not, such as having breakfast with your family every Saturday, or Sunday dinners after church, or doing some stretching in the morning.
Schedule self care time into your weekly schedule
This tip is similar to making weekly self care more spontaneous, but it’s more formal: set aside a specific block of time for weekly self-care activities. This could be part of your morning routine or something you do on Sunday evenings before going to bed.
It doesn’t really matter when you schedule weekly self care as long as it becomes a habit – the key thing is that you make time for yourself just like you would make time for other important things in life! For me, self-care is like a part time job. It is that important to me, and taking care of myself is always a priority.
Here are some tips and suggestions to consider. We are all unique women, with different schedules, environments, commitments, and family dynamics, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of schedule:
- Have weekly self-care time on days that are separate from family activities
- Have weekly self-care time once a week on the same day every week
- Schedule weekly self-care time to allow for spontaneity as well. If you find that scheduling self care into your weekly schedule isn’t working for you, remember that self-care time doesn’t have to be long – ten minutes or an hour is just fine.
- You could also try setting aside weekly self-care time in advance and then allowing yourself to fill it with spontaneous things if you want to!
Whatever works best, find a way of fitting self care into your weekly routine.
Do you track your workout goals and results? How about other tasks, goals and dreams?
Thinking about a goal is one thing; putting it in writing takes you so much further toward turning it into a reality!
These are the tools and resources I use to keep myself accountable & plan for the future. LEARN MORE
Write It Down, Make a Weekly Self-Care Plan
It can be easy to make excuses and not follow through with our self care routines, but writing down that we’ll do these activities makes it easier to stay committed, as it increases self-accountability.
It’s also a great way of identifying what weekly self care activities we should add. If you’re having difficulty thinking of new things, try writing them down. Make sure to make it a priority so that you can commit to your new weekly self care routine.
If we want something to become part of our daily routine, such as exercise or writing for pleasure, we need to do it regularly, whether it’s every day or in consistent intervals. It’s the same with adding self-care activities – once they’re included in our schedule, they become easier to do. And, being specific is always essential.
Here’s one example: Self Care Action – Taking a bath or taking a bubble bath
Example of adding it to your weekly self care schedule: Tuesday: I will take a relaxing soak at 7pm. It’s time for me to shave my legs, relax and think about what I’m grateful for this week. I will not rush, I’ll allow myself the time to unwind, be still, and refresh my body and mind.
A Weekly Self Care Checklist
Writing down our thoughts, goals, to do’s, and commitments can go a long, long way toward helping us to actually see them through. So I have a gift for you, my friend. It’s very simple, but will give you a starting point for committing to a weekly self care routine.
I’ve created a weekly self care checklist for you that is available in the Resource Library.
Of course, the downloadable PDF won’t have the big pink bow on it! That’s just for the sample.
But it will give you a place to record and commit to your own weekly goals, including actions and activities you’ll do by or for yourself, and activities you’ll participate in with others.
It’s up to you how the checklist is populated.
Or, just complete this handy form and you’ll have the magic password right now!
7 Weekly Self Care Routine Suggestions
1) Eat right
Making weekly self care a priority can be difficult in terms of motivation, so sometimes it helps to put self care activities into routines that you already have. For example:
- If you’re someone who eats breakfast with your family every morning, try making it a weekly self care routine to choose healthy foods for breakfast such as fruit instead of pastries or other sweet treats.
- If you don’t typically plan out your meals in advance, try it for a week. Plan out all of your meals, then shop accordingly. Knowing that your meals are planned, organized, and ready to prepare can help make you feel more in control and allow time for other activities.
2) Get up and move
You don’t have to commit to an hour at the gym every day or a weekly yoga class. Just find things you enjoy doing that get you moving and break up your weekly routine. And, this weekly self care action could be, and really should be, outside of your regular workouts. You do exercise regularly, right? As women over 50 we need to keep our bodies fit and strong. But I digress. Back to the weekly activity that’s part of the self care routine!
It can be as simple as taking a walk, going dancing or playing an active sport like tennis or badminton with your friends.
3) Reduce stress
How could a stress reducing activity be incorporated into your weekly self care? Try stress relieving activities such as yoga, meditation or a massage. It’s also important to get some weekly “me time” if you have a busy schedule.
Take an hour one day a week to do something relaxing like watching your favorite TV show, reading a good book or doing anything else that helps you de-stress. If stress is an ongoing problem for you, discuss other alternatives with your health care professional.
Once your weekly routine has started to become more balanced, don’t forget about hobbies. From sports like swimming or dance classes to arts and crafts such as painting or photography, there are all kinds of hobbies that you can enjoy!
Being creative has been shown to be good for mental health and having a weekly commitment to a hobby will give your routine even more balance.
5) Friends and family
Try making time for friends. From weekly lunch dates with old friends from college to weekly walking and talking with a coworker, friends are important to your self care routine. Studies show that weekly activities with friends can reduce stress and improve mental health.
If your family is in close proximity, spend some time with them regularly. It might not be feasible to do that weekly, but a commitment to having regular time with those you love can refresh your spirit. Yes, I know, it can be frustrating, too. But our family is, well, our family. We’ve only got one of those. Let’s treasure what we have.
Setting aside an hour every Sunday afternoon where everyone reads quietly is a nice way of winding down after the weekend. Scheduling weekly self-care time with other people makes things easier because it means taking care of yourself isn’t just your responsibility – your family or friends can also be there to support you!
6) Go outside
Even if you live in a busy city, there are easy ways to get weekly time in nature. The local park or nearby nature preserve are both great places to spend some time outdoors.
Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress, improve mental health and give a boost of energy. Some of my favorite memories from my years in Florida are of the walks on the beach by myself.
7) Meditate, pray, sit quietly
Set aside a weekly time for meditation and mindfulness. This could mean going for a walk outside every Sunday morning, sitting quietly in the morning to think and pray, or doing simple yoga exercises at home before bedtime.
For some people, weekly meditation can simply be about enjoying quiet activities such as reading, stitching or bird watching. Remember that self-care doesn’t have to be about major activities, it can also be about enjoying smaller things such as listening to relaxing music, taking a cat nap alone in your room or simply sitting and reading quietly.
So, how about you? If you are honest with yourself (you don’t have to share this with anyone…just you and you), how are you doing in the self care department? Whether it is a morning routine, a weekly list of “healthy me” actions and activities, a bedtime routine, or just being aware of your mind and body, and what is best for each day, self care is ultimately up to each of us an individuals.
And, we’re worth it!
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