Do you truly take care of yourself? Most of us are quick to say that we do but struggle when it comes to thinking exactly how and how often we do it.
Society has convinced us that taking care of ourselves is selfish. Many of us feel guilty for hitting pause to do things that make us feel refreshed and ready to take on anything. Even when we think we’re taking care of ourselves, we’re not doing it enough and we tend to neglect what our minds and bodies really need. By putting “me time” on the back burner, it’s no wonder we often feel stressed, exhausted and overwhelmed.
Setting aside time to unwind is so important for our overall wellness. Knowing when we need a break and when we need to hit pause, contributes to a healthier mind and body by allowing us to de-stress and recharge.
What is self-care?
According to Psych Central, “Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” It’s important to remember that self-care looks different for everybody.
Why are self-care habits important?
An act of self-care is meant to refuel us and give us an outlet to reconnect with ourselves in the midst of a busy life. Have you heard the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup”? We need self-care to nourish our mind, body and soul so we can reciprocate those positive feelings to those who surround us. Studies also show that good self-care activities are key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It keeps us healthy, happy and more in tune with our minds and bodies.
Tips for establishing self-care habits
- Start simple
If you’re just starting out, finding the time to do too much at once will be overwhelming. Commit to doing a small act of self-care at least once a week to start. Once you get comfortable and find your rhythm, you can decide how much or how little you need to fully recharge.
- Know yourself
Ask yourself what you really need. Remember, all self-care routines aren’t alike so you need to find what works for you. For example, going to the gym may not be your form of self-care but taking a walk around your neighborhood is! Be gentle with yourself, know what you like and don’t like, and give yourself what you need.
- Plan it
Self-care habits are so much more doable when you plan them out and not just let them happen. Get an agenda and pencil in that yoga session at 6 a.m., reading time at 6 p.m., and your unwinding time at 9 p.m. Make your self-care routine a non-reschedulable meeting with yourself. This will help you stick to your plan and hold you accountable.
Ideas for taking care of yourself
Here are a few simple ideas to get you started on your self-care routine:
- Read a book
Step away from reality and lose yourself in your favorite self-help book or novel.
Tackle one area in your house that needs some cleaning up and watch the clutter disappear with your stress. Tidy spaces make for a peaceful mind.
Exercise is proven to help you release stress. Go for a walk, lift weights, swim, or do yoga – whatever floats your boat, just get your body moving!
- Take a bath
Diffuse your favorite oils (or light candles) and let the warm water soothe your worries away.
- Pamper yourself at home
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Whip out the face mask you’ve been dying to use (or make your own), put some coconut oil in your hair, sip on some wine and just relax.
- Watch your favorite show
Binge watch the Netflix show you’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t had time to. (As a self-proclaimed Netflix queen, this is my go-to!)
- Get a massage
Check out Groupon for deals on massages in your area. Nothing like an hour-long massage to help you de-stress.
- Get outside
Sometimes taking a breath of fresh air is what we need to clear our heads.
- Start a gratitude list
Every night before you go to sleep, write down one thing that happened that you are grateful for. This will help refocus your thoughts on the small things that bring you joy, even when you don’t realize it.
Self-care is a fundamental piece to living a healthier life. Forming self-care habits helps us feel centered and refreshed when we need it the most. Taking care of ourselves helps us reconnect with who we are and will produce positive vibes in all areas of our lives.
How do you practice self-care?