Self care is something that everyone needs, but few people actually take the time to practice. Why is that? It’s a basic necessity, but most of the time we’re too busy or too tired or too wrapped up in other people. Or worse, we start seeing self care as selfish. In reality, self care is the opposite of selfish. Without it, you’ll burn out and be no good to anyone else anyway.
Self care isn’t just face masks, cucumbers over our eyes, and professional massages like we see on tv sometimes. There are a lot of different types- from the way you talk to yourself to the food you eat to the people that you surround yourself with. But for this post, I’m going to narrow it down to ten activities you can do that will help you to take care of you, and be your best happy self. The best part? They’re (mostly) free!
- I’ve mentioned this in previous posts and I can guarantee that I’ll mention it in future ones. Journaling is a really great self care resource. Take all of the thoughts that are occupying space in your head and get them out on paper. This will help you to take stock of the things that are bothering you, process your feelings, and clear your mind. I especially like to do this before bed to quiet the noise so that I can sleep better.
Dance it out
- Nothing gets those endorphins pumping like moving your body. I have a playlist saved on my Alexa that I use every night when making dinner, so that I can dance around the kitchen like a fool. It gets my blood pumping, my heart rate up, and burns a few extra calories! I also like to play random dance music throughout the day for mini-dance parties with my daughter. Moving around to a great song with a fun beat helps shake off the troubles of the world and stretch out my muscles and it almost always gives me a little adrenaline rush.
Bath with Epson salts and a lavender candle
- A hot bath is so great for relaxing your muscles, and even more so if you add a little Epson salt to the mix. I also like to dim the lights and burn a lavender candle (My favorite candle for self-care is this Chesapeake Bay Serenity + Calm candle). The combination of low light, hot water and relaxing smell is a miracle worker after a long day. I swear sometimes I can actually feel the stress leaving my body as I soak.
Go for a walk.
- Walking is a nice gentle workout that’s great for your body and mind, while easy on your joints. I like to try to walk for about 3-5 miles a day, but at a minimum I at least do a walk around the block (weather permitting). Getting your body moving is great for so many health conditions, and doing it outside lets you breathe in some fresh air, while exhaling some of that stress that has built up. Clear your mind and take in the trees, flowers, birds, and everything else you pass. It’s another way to release endorphins and a nice easy way to burn calories.
Call or text a friend or family member.
- Sometimes all it takes to boost your mood is hearing the voice of someone that you care about. It’s also helpful to know that you’re not alone when you’re feeling down. Have a friend or family member or two on speed dial, and check in every once in a while. For me, when I need a dose of self care, I usually end up calling my mom or texting my older sister and it almost always gives me a little boost. It helps me to remember that there are people who care about me.
Take a nap.
- Society has a way of making us feel like we always need to be doing something. It’s go-go-go all of the time! If you’re not staying busy, you’re lazy. Well, I say screw that. Sometimes you need to lay down and close your eyes and not feel guilty about it! You can’t pour from an empty cup and if you don’t give yourself some time when you’re tired, you’re going to burn out. Take a nap and then you can hit the ground running after you’ve recharged your batteries.
- Yoga is one of the best physical types of self care that I’ve found so far. It’s great for stretching out your muscles and focusing on your breathing. You’ll burn calories, improve your balance and flexibility, and let some stress out. It can be hard at first if you’re not used to it, but after a while, it will be such a release!
- This is one I didn’t take seriously enough for so long. I was always feeling bloated and I would get headaches. Then my doctor told me I was dehydrated. I started drinking a lot more water and the changes were incredible. I moved easier, my muscles didn’t hurt as much, and the headaches weren’t as bad. I also stopped holding so much water weight which led to more confidence. *Just be careful not to overdue it. Weirdly enough, if you drink too much water, you’ll flush all of the electrolytes out of your system and end up dehydrated anyway. I’ve done this and the dizzy spells are a killer.
Treat yourself to your favorite dessert.
- Every once in a while, let yourself indulge without feeling guilty about it. For me, that indulgence looks like soft serve vanilla ice cream with sprinkles. Few things make me happier, and I think that means letting myself have it is a form of self care. I’m not about to ruin that with feeling guilty about the unhealthiness or extra calories. It’s not like I do it every night- I deserve a treat every once in a while. And so do you!
- One of my absolute favorite things to do is to get cozy on my couch with a soft blanket, a cup of hot tea, and a really good book. It’s the best way to lose myself- transport into another world and let myself get absorbed into the characters’ lives. I’m able to separate from myself and whatever is going on around me. Sometimes, that’s all I really need. (This is and has pretty much always been my favorite type of ‘me time’.)
What do you think? Do any of these sound like an activity you can get behind? Or maybe they made you think of another type of self care that might be beneficial for you? Which ever the case, just make sure that you are making yourself a priority because I promise you, you deserve it!!
Feel free to check out some of my other self care and mental health posts here.Want to connect further?