Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.
Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!
1. Do something new.
2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week.
3. Drink some hot tea.
4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.
5. Paint your nails.
6. Have a good laugh.
7. Buy yourself flowers.
8. Light a candle.
9. Do some tidying up.
10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'
11. Listen to music.
12. Slow down.
13. Drink a smoothie.
14. Run mindless errands.
15. Write down your goals for the week.
16. Talk to someone about the future.
17. Wake up early and get coffee.
18. Take care of a plant.
19. Take a bubble bath.
20. Give yourself a compliment.
21. Give a stranger a compliment.
22. Watch a movie.
23. Put your phone down.
24. Declutter your personal space.
25. Go to bed early.
26. Pray or meditate.
27. Go for a drive.
28. Make it a habit to stargaze.
29. Read a book.
30. Read poems.
31. Sing loudly.
32. Make a list of things you're grateful for.
33. Drink a lot of water.
34. Put on make-up for no reason.
35. Watch funny videos.
36. Take a deep breath.
37. Distance yourself from negativity.
38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media.
39. Have a pajama day.
40. Read an inspirational book.
41. Call your parents/ loved ones.
42. Donate old clothing.
43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat.
44. Do a fun craft or DIY project.
45. Put on a face mask and relax.
46. Do a small workout.
47. Take a power nap.
48. Listen to a podcast.
49. Open a window.
50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light.
51. Make your bed.
52. Cook dinner instead of eating out.
53. Play/ cuddle with an animal.
54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.
56. Buy a comforting blanket.
57. Give someone a hug.
58. Create a vision board.
59. Have some alone time.
60. Enjoy the sun on your skin.
61. Dance like nobody is watching.
62. Walk in the rain every once in a while.
63. Drive with the windows down.
64. Give someone a gift for no reason.
65. Get a massage.
66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running.
67. Spend the day at the library or a book store.
68. Organize your work space/ binders.
69. Spend a weekend in.
70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself.
71. Sign up for a work out class.
72. Eat lunch with a friend.
73. Spend the day helping others.
74. Get your hair done.
75. Have a good cry.
76. Use sticky notes.
77. Color code your planner.
78. Print out pictures and hang them up.
79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready.
80. Do random acts of kindness.
81. Buy fuzzy socks.
82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture.
83. Be present.
84. Set a new years resolution.
85. Make a bucket list.
86. Stretch in the morning.
87. Watch an interesting documentary.
88. Make a music playlist.
89. Watch the sunrise or sunset.
90. Explore somewhere new.
91. Be slow to respond to negativity.
92. Have a game night with friends.
93. Buy concert tickets.
94. Have a nightly routine before bed.
95. Eat your favorite dessert.
96. Do something you've been putting off.
97. Invest in essential oils.
98. Manage your finances.
99. Buy a new outfit.
100. Make your own gratitude list.
Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.
We protect our eyes via sunglasses, ears via noise-canceling earplugs, and mouth with a mask. However, little effort is put into protecting our skin. Wearing clothes covers most of the body – which vary quite significantly across culture, geographical location, and time of the year. Nevertheless, there is always some part of our body exposed to the outer world.
With the recent wildfire outbreak in California, it is not uncommon that most people experienced shortness of breath and had a more difficult time breathing. Such change in respiration was most likely attributed to the air, thickened with pollutants, and entering our body through our mouth. We often don't even think about the "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in vehicle exhaust emissions or wildfire smoke, [which are] are 'fat-loving' (lipophilic) and can easily pass through the fat-filled spaces between skin cells."
Tanning, or skin exposure to the UV light from the sun, have received great attention for its negative physiological consequences, including DNA damage and skin cancer. Recent research has looked at the relationship between skin health and something we cannot avoid in Western civilization – Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP). A study in 2010 "assessed the influence of air pollution on skin aging in 400 Caucasian women aged 70-80 years." The researchers used SCINEXA, which stands for "score of intrinsic and extrinsic skin aging" to clinically assess aging of the skin. The results revealed that "air pollution exposure was significantly correlated to extrinsic skin aging signs, in particular to pigment spots" on the face – on cheeks and foreheads.
In a different study published just this year, in 2018, looked at women who were involved in the Study on the influence of Air pollution on Lung function, Inflammation, and Ageing (SALIA). SALIA primarily looked at women around the age of 55 from Germany. The researchers found "high incidence for eczema in elderly women, which is associated with chronic exposure to TRAP." In other words, exposure to pollution from traffic appears to increase rates of eczema, which is an itchy inflammation of the skin that appears as scaly red rashes.
The unfortunate reality is that it is impossible to avoid such toxins. The takeaway from such studies is to perhaps be more mindful of the potential airborne particles and attempt to avoid it the best we can – similar to the way we protect other parts of our body.