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An often-overlooked aspect of self-care is developing something that caters to your specific needs, which all begins with self-awareness. You could pick up a random self-care routine, and it might help a bit, but if you want to see the best results, you need to be constructing a plan to specifically address your own issues.

You can’t even start to plan that until you know what those problems are. By being more self-aware, you’ll be able to easily pinpoint the root of your problems and continue to build a plan to address that.

The first and most important step is identification. This means taking an honest, hard look at your life and figuring out what it is that you’re not happy with. It could be anything.

You might not be confident in your figure, you might dislike your job, you might be struggling emotionally, and so on. Don’t be afraid to get a little bit critical with yourself during this time.

This is a time for honesty, not comfort. Once you know what the problem is, though, it’s time to dig a little bit deeper. The next step is analysis. At this point, you know what your problems are in your life, but that’s about it.

By looking closer at your problems, you should try to analyze what it is that’s causing these problems to appear in the first place. Take, for example, you don't like your job. That sounds simple enough on the surface, but by digging deeper, you’ll recognize that there are more varied reasons for this.

You might feel unfulfilled in your potential, or you might feel as though you’ve gone down a path you regret. Or it may be something simpler like the hours that you must work or a bad coworker.

It’s these things that you want to start to know more about. Just knowing what the problem is in your life isn’t necessarily all that helpful. You want to know what’s causing the problem to exist in the first place so that you can treat it at the root level.

Much like a weed growing in your yard, you don’t just want to cut the visible part away - you want to uproot the whole thing so that it doesn’t come back. Knowing what your problems are (and what’s causing them) allows you to start down a path of rebuilding for a better life.

You can formulate a self-care plan specifically to help address these big issues and help better your life in the long run. Too many people use self-care as a Band-Aid, but you want a long-term solution, so make sure you engage in awareness and analysis before you initiate a plan for your self-care.

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