Your Daily Guide to Practicing Self-Care
When is the last time you relaxed for 30 minutes to relax or enjoy your favorite hobby? The truth is, we tend to put our personal needs (and wants) to the side for others. While the sentiment is coming from a good place, the reality is when you are not caring for yourself, you’re not able to give your best to others.
Self-care is as straightforward as it sounds: engaging in activities that improve your physical fitness or nurture your mental and emotional well-being. The beauty of self-care is in its simplicity—little actions can go a long way. The best part – the act can be small and have a big impact. By carving out a tiny bit of time each day for yourself, you can create a positive habit and improve your overall well-being for the rest of your life. There are plenty of self-care worksheets out there to help you figure out what actions you’ll benefit the most from, here are some basic ways to get started:
- Physical Self-Care: These are activities that promote the health and maintenance of your body, keeping you fit and protecting you from disease.
Small Step: Catch some rays for 15 to 30 minutes. Factors like your skin pigmentation and where you live can make you deficient in vitamin D, leading to an increased risk for certain diseases and feelings of depression. Make sure you go outside in the sunlight for a brief period every day to help boost your levels. As a bonus, walking is a great stress reliever and great for your health.
- Psychological Self-Care: This encompasses any action that helps you avoid mental burnout, distress and trauma.
Small Step: Fix a little annoyance. Whether it’s a bedroom closet that needs to be cleaned out or a squeaky office chair that irritates you all day long, identifying and correcting a small bothersome thing will keep it from lingering in the back of your mind all day. This is a great mood-boosting trick, as it also gives you feelings of productivity and self-sufficiency.
- Emotional Self-Care: This is anything that trains you to identify, understand and nurture your feelings.
Small Step: Control your social media use. It’s easy to get dragged down by the negativity, commotion and near-constant self-comparison on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks. Try unplugging for a full 24 hours to give yourself a break. Then, if you need to, set some rules for how often you can go on. Also consider hiding or unfollowing anyone who makes you feel bad.
- Spiritual Self-Care: These steps help you find and nurture a sense of connection to something larger than yourself.
Small Step: Perform a random act of kindness. Taking a moment in your day to help someone else is scientifically proven to make you happier, give you a sense of reward and even help manage chronic pain and high blood pressure over time. Focus on keeping it small—open the door for as many people as you can, smile at everyone at work, buy coffee for the person behind you.
If you’re struggling to make self-care a regular behavior, consider therapy. It can help pinpoint what’s getting in your way. For help finding a therapist, head over to Psychology Today’s therapist search tool.
Photo Credit: Futurframes