These days, it’s very common for people to have too many commitments, to be constantly connected via technology and to feel stressed all the time. Unfortunately, constant stress leads to illness, injury and just plain unhappiness. But what if there was something you could do each day to combat those overwhelming feelings and make things better for yourself now? There is. It’s self-care.
The definition of self-care is … “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.” And self-care is not a selfish thing, in fact, it’s an incredibly honorable endeavor, because the more you take care of yourself — your mental, physical and emotional states — the better you can show up for people in your own life. And when you value your own well-being and self-worth, you’re an all-around happier and healthier person.
Here are five ways you can practice self-care this week.
Set a bed-time alarm and give yourself the opportunity to get in bed early. Getting quality sleep, and enough of it is one of the best gifts you can give yourself in order to improve your mood and overall health. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to overeat, skip workouts and be irritable too. Sleep is truly everything. If you need tips on how to sleep better, visit this post.
Take an Epsom salt bath and read for pleasure. When was the last time you read a book just for fun? Head to your local library or place an Amazon order for something that looks interesting to you, because reading opens up the mind and creates a lot of joy — while giving you an opportunity to imagine and escape reality. Once you’ve got the book in hand, plan a steamy bubble bath also filled with Epsom salt — no technology allowed. The hot water and Epsom salt are great both for sore muscles as well as for promoting overall relaxation.
Make an appointment for pampering. A haircut, a manicure, whatever it is that you need, actually create time to go and indulge in the service this week. Give yourself enough time to stop at your favorite local coffee shop before or after your appointment and soak up the time focused on doing something that makes you feel good about yourself.
Go off the grid in nature for the morning or afternoon. There’s science behind why you feel so centered after being out in nature, and that’s because there’s a true calming vibe to the wind blowing, trees, fresh air and sunlight. What better way to give yourself a stress-relieving treat than to turn your phone on airplane mode, put it in your pocket and stroll outside in nature or lie down on a blanket at a quiet park and get lost in your thoughts? You don’t have to think about work or responsibilities but try to think about happy memories and things you are thankful for in the present. Solo quiet time in stillness and in nature does wonders for both the mind and body.
Say no to commitments that don’t bring you joy, instead stay home and cook yourself a healthy meal. We’re accustomed to staying busy and saying yes to everything that comes around, in order to get ahead at work and in our social lives. But when you start putting yourself first and considering your own needs above others, you will find that it’s easier for you to say no to things that you don’t want and don’t need to do. Look at your calendar or wait until something new comes up and flex your “no muscle” when appropriate. Take that extra time to visit the grocery store, buy some produce, healthy fats and lean protein, and cook yourself a delicious and nutritious meal, which not only fills you up but also makes you feel amazing. Not only can cooking be therapeutic, but spending time preparing something that will nourish your body is a true self-care pleasure.
Whatever you do, remember that filling up your own tank, giving yourself the ability to handle stress and focusing on your own needs are not selfish acts. Good luck and take care!