Too often, we spend time and energy worrying about others or the future. We are so used to taking care of other people and our obligations that we often overlook the importance of taking care of ourselves. At the end of a long day, you might find yourself scrolling through Netflix or ordering takeout. Sound familiar? We all need to relax after a hard day—but what if there was more to it than that?
Here is a list of some self-care ideas to get you started on how to take care of yourself physically and mentally.
- Listening to music.
Practicing self-care is key to mental health, and listening to music is a great way to do so. Music can help us relax, focus, provide comfort, or distract us when we need it most. It can also help you with the perfect escape from reality, allowing you to express yourself without words and lose yourself in a world of beats and rhythms. Everyone responds differently to different types of music, so think about what type of songs make you feel good when you listen to them and curate accordingly! Maybe it’s classical piano pieces, indie rock tunes, or chart-topping rap songs - whatever the case may be, create a playlist full of tunes that make your heart soar when they come on!
- Read a book.
When it comes to self-care, reading is frequently overlooked. First, we consider taking a bath, drinking tea, and going for walks. However, getting lost in a good book can be one of the most relaxing self-care activities available, allowing us to escape our own lives and explore new ones, experience new emotions, and gain perspective on situations we may have thought unsolvable or irreparable. It's an excellent way to cultivate self-reflection without becoming overburdened or anxious about our own life experiences. Whether you prefer fiction, fantasy, or nonfiction, there is bound to be something that captivates and inspires you. So why not make reading part of your self-care routine? You'll never know what new places to visit until you turn the first page!
- Rest, take a nap, sit outside, etc.
Taking a rest can be a form of self-care. Whether sitting outside and enjoying your surroundings or catching up on those long-overdue naps, you always want to take the time for it, and it's important to take care of yourself by finding moments of relaxation. Even if you only get fifteen minutes during lunch or after work to grab some sunshine in your backyard, not only is this good for your physical health, research has shown that regular daily breaks help with creativity and can even improve your cognitive function.
- Get some fresh flowers.
Fresh flowers may not be the most revolutionary self-care ritual, but they're certainly one of the most enjoyable! Adding a brightly colored flower to your workspace can be like adding a splash of sunshine on an otherwise dreary day. Not only are flowers aesthetically pleasing, but they also come in various forms and smells that can induce calmness and peace. Studies have shown that looking at fresh flowers for thirty seconds reduces stress and increases positive emotions. Plus, it's fun to change your self-care routine from time to time, so why not try this one?
- Getting enough sleep.
We all know self-care is important, but sleep is a powerful form of self-care that is often underestimated. Today's world has so much stimulation and distraction that we can easily underestimate the value of proper rest. But when it comes down to it, creating habits around restful sleep is essential for our overall well-being — both physically and mentally. Not getting adequate sleep takes a toll on our bodies and affects how we handle stress, interact with others, and even our worth ethic. When we sleep, our bodies have time to rest and recharge, which can help us feel more alert throughout the day and ready to tackle whatever life throws.
- Work on a hobby or start a new hobby.
Another great way to show self-love is by taking the time to work on a current hobby or start something new. Whether taking up painting, knitting or learning an instrument, creating something and expressing yourself through art can be the perfect self-care activity. It can clear your mind, ease stress, and is ultimately self-fulfilling. Hobbies give us an outlet to express ourselves creatively, help us develop skills, or just drive our passions. It’s also a great way to de-stress and take our minds away from everyday responsibilities.
- Stretching and yoga.
One great way to engage in self-care is by stretching and practicing yoga. Not only can stretching help you feel better physically—which can directly impact your mental health—but yoga can be an amazing way to reconnect with yourself and do something calming. With yoga, you can stretch and take time out of your day to reflect and check in with your body, mind, and spirit. Dedicating a few minutes each day to these activities can help you to strengthen your body, relax your mind, better manage stress levels and give yourself an energy boost.
- Go through your skincare routine.
Taking care of your skin can greatly impact self-confidence and self-love. Whether that's minimizing breakouts with cleanser, toning your face in the morning, hydrating with an extra layer of moisturizer at night, or simply using masks as an indulgent treat - there are countless ways to make self-care a part of your routine. Taking the time to pamper and care for yourself is beneficial both physically and emotionally, as it offers an escape from everyday stressors and gives you some ‘me’ time.
- Cook yourself dinner or spend time in the kitchen doing something you like.
Self-care doesn’t always have to mean spa treatments and book club sessions; it can be as simple as cooking yourself dinner or spending time in the kitchen doing something you like. If you’re not keen on being a master chef and prefer something a little less complicated, try experimenting with healthier ingredients for a snack, your favorite dinner dish, or even making a smoothie. Cooking dinner can be tedious, but it doesn’t have to be. If you look at it correctly, spending some time in the kitchen can be an incredibly therapeutic and calming experience that also produces delicious meals.
Self-care is often viewed as a luxury when it should be viewed as self-preservation. Taking the time and investing energy in your mental health and well-being is essential to leading a meaningful, fulfilled life. Practicing self-care is about taking ownership of your life and controlling how your time and energy are used so that when you face challenges in all areas of your life, you're ready to tackle them head-on. It is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and finding balance in life. It's not about taking a day off or being selfish - self-care is about nurturing your well-being.
So, take some time to give yourself the love you deserve!