In a world where we are preoccupied with the thoughts and actions of others, it’s alarmingly easy to forget about yourself. We admire those who work all day on a few hours of sleep or those who get by on a granola bar and six cups of coffee. We move like robots through our responsibilities morning to night and we forget we also have responsibilities to our mind and body. We burn out and feel stagnant, tired and sad. We have lower levels of energy and we eat and sleep poorly. It can become a vicious cycle, but it’s easier than you think to break free. All you need is a little self-care.
Acts of self-care are any acts you make intentionally to better your mental, physical or emotional health. Good self-care can be a challenge for many people; think of the millions of excuses you give yourself daily why you can’t indulge in a little something for yourself. You’re too tired, there’s no time, you don’t have money, it’s too much work and so on and so forth. Sometimes when you’re stressed, it’s hard to notice how your experience is affected by how your most basic needs are being met.
However, it is an important part of living a healthy life and is unique to everyone. While it sounds overwhelming, like you may need to overhaul your entire life, it’s easy to start with a few simple acts and see the amazing results it has on your life and health.
Physical care is often the most neglected. However, it’s easy as drinking a glass of water! Acts of physical care will rejuvenate your body and keep you energized for the day, and include activities like:
- Go for a walk
- Eat a healthy snack
- Exercise for 30 minutes
- Eat something for all three meals of the day
- Drink a glass of water—remember you need eight a day.
- Take a shower or bath
- Take a nap
- Get seven and a half to nine hours of sleep a night
- Indulge in your favorite treat
- Seek care when you are sick
- Dance like no one is watching
Emotional care is more subjective. It can mean many different things to different people, but can include:
- Seek professional counseling if you need it
- Keep a journal or diary
- Open up to a friend, parent or loved one
- Spend time with your pet
- Relaxation exercises
- Make spending time with family and friends a priority
- Avoid people who use you, make you feel unhappy, sad or don’t ever listen to you
- Engage in meaningful conversation
- Spend time away from social media when you feel overwhelmed
Mental care is another critical piece of your holistic health. It will keep you from suffering from anxiety, depression and improve immune function of your body. Acts of mental self-care include:
- Doing puzzles, crossword, Sudoku and other brain games
- Painting, drawing, coloring or other creative activities
- Listening to music
- Singing along to your favorite song
- Observing nature
- Reading, especially your favorite book
- Knitting, woodwork, beading and other crafts
- Cooking and baking
- Watch your favorite movie or TV show
- Watch a documentary
- Play an instrument
These are suggestions of things to do, but anything you do that makes you feel healthier is self-care. While we can’t stop and do all of this at once, even the busiest people can squeeze a few of these activities into their daily lives. No one knows you better than yourself, so find what makes you feel good and add a little more of it to your life. You deserve it!