7 Self-Care Habits that will Improve Your Health, Happiness and Productivity - International Coaching Federation
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7 Self-Care Habits that will Improve Your Health, Happiness and Productivity

Posted by Lisa Cunningham | January 26, 2018 | Comments (26)

Have you ever watched a client have a breakthrough and realize that they need to take better care of themselves? If you haven’t had this realization yet yourself, you should. Self-care can make you a better coach and a better person. It’s also a great way to stay more connected to your whole self. Here are seven habits you can adopt to show yourself some love.

1) Say No Every Once in Awhile

As a coach, it can be hard to say no because you want to help everyone. As a business owner, it’s hard to say no to opportunity and clients (or potential clients) because it feels like you are losing out on income. Yet, you—just like your clients and everyone else in the world—should practice work/life balance. If you are feeling overwhelmed, say “no” to at least one request every week. It may be difficult to do in the moment, but you’ll begin to feel more refreshed with every day that passes.

Need more convincing? Consider billionaire Warren Buffett’s wise words: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

2) Tidy Your Workspace

Is your creativity and productivity stifled? Declutter and reorganize your workspace. The very act of having completed this task will make you feel accomplished and recharged. Having less visual clutter can relieve stress and anxiety that you may not even have been aware of, and you may find information or items that you previously thought you had lost or misplaced. Plus, a cleaner, reorganized space could create the illusion of a new environment in your mind, which can help get your creative juices flowing.

3) Keep Positive Visual Reminders

It can be hard to think positively when our minds are stuck in a negative space. Keep positive visual affirmations around you, so that you can begin to move more quickly into a better frame of mind. Decorate your office (or anywhere, really) with positive notes to yourself and notes from others. I enjoy surrounding my workspace with motivational quotes that I’ve clipped from magazines, printed from the computer or written by hand on Post-It notes. Even the simple act of collecting and displaying quotes puts me in a better mood almost instantly.

4) Build a Self-Care Kit (and Use It)

A self-care kit is a great way to keep items that make you feel good in one place. Then, you can go to it and pull out whatever item will help or comfort you most in a moment of need. Here is a list to help you get started building your own:

  • A stuffed animal
  • Coloring books and crayons/colored pencils/markers (whatever you prefer)
  • Essential oils and other aromatherapy supplies
  • Yoga mat
  • Photos that make you smile

5) Go Outside

“There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature,” said Henry David Thoreau. Go outside, take a walk, connect with nature. It’s been well documented that doing so can lower your stress, anxiety and depression while improving your mood, productivity, creativity and overall well-being.

6) Take a Break from Social Media

It’s a well-known fact that social media can be bad for self-esteem and mental health. (Facebook has recently changed its newsfeed algorithm to support more positivity.) Take regular breaks from looking at social media—even if it’s just for 30 minutes each day. During these breaks, do something that makes you feel good, whether it’s exercising, watching Netflix or doing one of the other activities on this list. In addition to your mind, your eyes will appreciate the break as well.

7) Practice Gratitude

Some days can be very long and may seem like nothing in your life is going right. Take time each evening to reflect on what may be going right for you and what you are grateful for. Come up with at least three and write them down somewhere.

Instead of a journal, my friend has a gratitude jar, where she writes down at least one thing she is grateful for each day of the year and drops the piece of paper into a jar. She pulls notes out of the jar when she is having an especially tough day to remind her of all that is good in her life. She also reviews the 365 (or more) messages at the end of each year. Since she started doing this two years ago, she has become a healthier, more positive person.

What are your self-care practices? Share in the comments below.

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Lisa Cunningham

Lisa Cunningham is a freelance writer and social media consultant. She holds a master’s degree in professional writing with a focus on web content development from Chatham University and a bachelor’s degree in English writing and communication from the University of Pittsburgh.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Additionally, for the purpose of full disclosure and as a disclaimer of liability, this content was possibly generated using the assistance of an AI program. Its contents, either in whole or in part, have been reviewed and revised by a human. Nevertheless, the reader/user is responsible for verifying the information presented and should not rely upon this article or post as providing any specific professional advice or counsel. Its contents are provided “as is,” and ICF makes no representations or warranties as to its accuracy or completeness and to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law specifically disclaims any and all liability for any damages or injuries resulting from use of or reliance thereupon.

Comments (26)

  1. Hiba Raychouni says:

    Useful and simple tips. I like them very much and practice some of them.
    I add to that, on my list, yoga class before going to work twice a week.

    • Lisa Cunningham says:

      Hello Hiba,

      Yoga is a great addition to this list–and to self-care! Thank you for sharing.

      Best regards,


  2. Thank you for your tips that are great and easily applicable. Besides I add art which is one of the best practice for mindfullness.

  3. I find starting the morning with 15 mins of mindfulness helps clear my head and set me up for a good day. A lot of clients have asked me how to get going, so there’s some simple tips on my website

    • Lisa Cunningham says:

      Hello Mary Anna,

      Thanks for sharing. Getting a good start to the day is always helpful.

      Best regards,


  4. Herzla Diniz says:

    Thank you. Very helpful advise

  5. I wanted to give my students some additional options for self care. This article help me a lot.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for your tips! The second one really helped much, and it’s so underrated.


  7. It’s great that you talked about how making a self-care kit it’s a great way to make yourself happy when you need it the most. My girlfriend is feeling down lately, and I want to get something for her to make her feel loved and cared for. After looking around for ideas, I think this could be a good option for me. I’m grateful for your tips on how to start self-care habits.

  8. Max Jones says:

    Thank you for sharing this article about self-care. My friend is trying to take better care of herself. I’ll share this info with her and think about getting her a self-care set.

  9. Chetna Rawat says:

    Hi Lisa!

    Thanks for this blog . I really fond of reading this kind of blogs , self care is really important in our life to enhance our personality.

    With Regards
    Chetna Rawat

  10. jeff carbine says:

    It’s great that when our brains are locked in a negative environment, it can be difficult to think positively. Last night, my mother was discussing her weight increase. To cope with her fears, I suggested she try weight-loss programs. She’s on the search for such services right now. https://www.inshapemdtx.com/low-testosterone-program

  11. Mckinney Via says:

    Thank you for sharing informative content. It means a lot to me hope you do more articles to post.

  12. Indi Medo says:

    This seven point is really useful in life and I try to follow it and also recommend our family member, relative and friends. thanks for share this good information.

  13. Diana Jenson says:

    Amazing and very thoughtful content. I always learn something new. Thanks a lot.

  14. Basit says:

    thanks for information.

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  17. Ken Love says:

    Thank you for your tips that are great and easily applicable. Besides I add art which is one of the best practice for mindfullness.

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