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We often hear how self-care plays an important role in our overall health and wellness. We get so busy taking care of others that we put our own self-care on the back burner. Viewing self-care as a luxury, rather than a priority leave us feeling overwhelmed, tired and ill-equipped to handle life’s uncertainties and challenges.
Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. It will need to be customized in order to meet your needs. Look at self-care as a menu of activities or a personal “toolbox” for your mind, body and soul to recharge. The key is to pick the activities that speak to you and that you enjoy. Start out small and identify one activity you can do to help you feel better and more whole as you tackle day-to-day life.
The benefit of self-care knows no bounds! Including some type of self-care into your daily routine can help:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase your energy
- Improve productivity
- Increase immunity
- Promote greater patience
- Improve resilience
- Improve mood and emotional well-being
- Improve physical health
- Improve self-compassion and self-awareness
- Provide a greater ability to care for and be present with others
Sometimes when we feel out of sorts, overwhelmed, or frustrated—it may mean there is an area in our self-care that needs nourishment.
Take a look at the seven different areas of self-care along with some action items that you can try to promote those areas.
Connecting and processing emotions in a healthy and productive manner.
- Journal: Putting pen to paper has both short-and long-term health benefits. Journaling helps you remain present while gaining perspective. It helps regulate emotions and can foster personal growth.
- Meditate: You can achieve great benefits from meditating for even just a few minutes. Calm, Headspace and Happify are great apps that offers tons of meditations on a variety of subjects.
- Practice gratitude: Documenting things you’re grateful for is an easy happiness booster. Notice, look and appreciate things around you. Nature, people, comforts or food are just a few! Make a list of three things you’re grateful for and why. Start a gratitude jar. Every day write down on a slip of paper something you are grateful for and put it in the jar. At the end of the month read them all and enjoy the happy boost.
Activities that enhance physical well-being and let off steam.
- Take a luxurious bath or shower: Pull out your favorite skincare products, light some candles or diffuse some oils, and play relaxing music. You’ll reap some health benefits as well.
- Go for a walk: Whether it’s an invigorating hike or just a few minutes around the block getting your endorphins pumping will flood your brain with calm vibes. Do this sans technology and soak up the nature around you.
- Take a nap: Sleep is one of the purest and most essential forms of self-care we can give ourselves. Close the curtains and catch some precious Z’s.
- Take a breathing or stretching break: The simple act of breathing and stretching can calm an anxious mind and relax a tense body in no time. Stretching regularly improves blood circulation.
Activities that stimulate the mind, reduce stress levels and cultivate a healthy psyche.
- A drawing of a cartoon character
- Description automatically generatedDo something creative: Draw, paint, color in an adult coloring book, scrapbook, knit or crochet.
- Listen to a podcast: Search for an inspirational podcast put in some earphones and take some notes!
- Watch something funny: Laughter is the best medicine. It reduces stress, boosts the immune system, increases our pain tolerance and eases anxiety and depression. Invite more laughter in your life today!
- Try a puzzle: Building puzzles is a great exercise for the brain. It is also a great meditation tool and a great way to take a break from digital technology. Purchase a large poster board to build a puzzle on. That way it can be moved off the table if necessary.
Activities that nurture relationships with others.
- Call or video chat with loved ones: Sometimes the best form of TLC is to connect with people closest to us. Schedule a regular call to someone that makes you smile and catch up.
- Write a letter: Write a letter to someone you care about and mail it. Who doesn’t like getting personal mail these days?
- Cuddle with a pet: Spending time with furry friends boosts feelings of happiness, offers comfort and lowers your blood pressure.
- Instant Message with friends: Go through your friend list and pick a handful of people and send them a compliment or remanence about old times in a private message.
Activities that connect and nurture your soul, help you get in touch with your values and focus on what really matters to you.
- Soak up some Vitamin D: Our bodies depend upon regular sun exposure to function their best. Just 15 minutes will give you a feel-good boost, make you feel a part of something greater and provide you with a nice dose of vitamin D.
- Be still: Find a grassy spot outside or relax in a cozy chair and just be…let your mind wander.
- Take photos: Head out for a walk and look for light patterns, plants or landscapes that catch your attention.
- Do good in your community: Donate clothes and items you no longer want or need. Or order take-out and send it over to the police or fire department.
- Soften your expectations: Drop expectations you have of yourself and others.
Activities that fulfill your core needs and to help reduce future stressful situations.
- Define your core values: Create a personal value system that outlines what you stand for and why. Knowing this will help you make better decisions and help you get clear on what matters to you.
- Get rid of items you no longer need: You’ll be amazed at how much lighter, freer, calmer and happier you feel just by simply letting go of things that you no longer need or enjoy.
- Start a healthy habit: Pick a simple habit to start supporting living your better-than-ever life. Here are a few ideas: drink 8 oz of water with lemon immediately upon waking, go for a walk after dinner every night, read 10 pages a day or turn off technology an hour before bedtime.
- Declutter or tidy your living space: Our living spaces are an extension of ourselves and when they’re chaotic, they can create mental chaos for us as well. So, give your physical space a clean sweep for a quick mental reset.
Activities that support healthy work-life balance and fulfillment and reduce workplace stress.
- Watch a TED talk: Get motivated in 10 minutes flat! With short, powerful talks on a variety of subjects.
- Take an online class: Check out learning platforms like Skillshare, Lynda.com or Coursera, and sign up for a class on a subject you’ve been wanting to learn more about.
- Start a side hustle: Do you dream about doing something else or going into business for yourself? This could be the perfect opportunity to explore doing it a few hours a week to see if you are passionate about it.
- Make a list at the end of the day: Write down the three most important things you need to do the next day and tackle them first. You’ll quiet your mind for the evening and will be ready to start the next day knowing exactly what you need to do.