10 Simple And Practical Ideas For Self-Care
Maybe you’ve heard by now that self-care is really good for you. (Maybe you’ve been hearing more about self-care than you ever wanted to.) Or maybe you’re just starting to figure out how self-care can make your life better.
Either way, I do think that most of us need to get better at taking care of ourselves. Because that’s what self-care is at its core- paying attention to our own needs and taking care of them.
But the hard part isn’t knowing that something is probably good for us. The hard part is actually doing it.
We can realize that self-care is a good idea and still not practice it because we don’t know where to start or what to actually do.
While self-care does need to look different for everyone since we all have unique needs, here are 10 practical ideas to get you started.
#1- Get More Sleep & Rest
If you find yourself feeling tired often, there’s a good chance you need to be getting more rest (not drinking more coffee). Take care of yourself by getting more sleep. Take a nap or sleep in- if you can. Or go to bed earlier. Try setting an alarm to remind you when to start getting ready for bed every night.
Or maybe you need to give yourself a break from doing too many things. Work periods of time into your day or week to sit and do nothing– even just for 10 minutes. (Yes, doing nothing does take practice, but it’s worth it).
#2- Take 5
For many of us, life is busy. We go from one thing to the next, and it’s easy for stress to start building. A simple way to care for yourself throughout the day is to stop when you feel stress building and take 5.
Sit or stand up straight, relax the tension in your body, and take 5 deep breaths. It sounds too simple to do much, but deep breathing allows your nervous system to reset and your mind to relax.
Or if it works better for you, stop and take 5 minutes to yourself. Go somewhere quiet (if possible) and let yourself calm down for 5 minutes before going back to ‘real life’.
#3- Take A Whole Day Off
Sometimes 5 minutes is all we have to spare in the middle of the day for self-care, but we need more than that long term. If you can’t remember the last time you took a whole day off (weekends don’t count), now would be a good time to take one.
And taking a day off doesn’t mean not going to work but doing chores at home or running errands instead. Take a whole day for yourself. Do something you enjoy or don’t do anything at all. Just take a big step back from the busyness of life.
#4- Find Movement You Enjoy
Most of us know that exercise is a good thing (the research is out there) but that doesn’t mean we get enough of it. Whether you like exercising or not, movement is good for us. It helps our physical health, can relieve stress, and much more.
Think about making it a regular part of self-care by finding movement you enjoy. Dance, do yoga, run, walk, lift weights, practice tai-chi, or jump on a trampoline. Find some way to get moving.
#5- Take A Bath
Taking a bath is one of my favorite self-care practices for a few reasons. It can be very good for your physical health, especially if you add in some Epsom salts. And it can also be very stress-relieving. Water has a calming effect on many of us (even bath water).
Enjoying a bath is also a good way to make yourself slow down and take a break. You can make it even more special by listening to music, using special bath salts, or just making it last a long time.
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#6- Recognize Your Emotions
Sometimes self-care needs to go deeper than something we can do and check off a list. Taking time to regularly check in with your emotions may not always be easy, but it will help you to be more emotionally healthy.
Set up a regular check-in time (it doesn’t have to be long) to make sure you aren’t holding emotions in. You can write down your feelings, talk to someone about them, or just spend time reflecting inwardly. Remember that your mental and emotional health are important, too.
#7- Eat Healthy
Don’t underestimate the power of treating your body well. Eating healthy may not sound very exciting, but it’s a good self-care practice to get into. If your body is getting what it needs, you will feel better.
This doesn’t have to mean a radical diet change because that’s usually not sustainable. Instead, try making some small changes you know will have a good impact on your health. Here are some ways to start eating healthier without getting overwhelmed.
#8- Allow Yourself To Say ‘No’
This is a self-care practice that sounds easy but isn’t. One of the reasons we don’t always take care of ourselves is because we have too many other things to do.
It’s okay to give yourself the permission to say ‘no’. We can’t do everything or please everyone, even if we want to. Taking time for yourself will sometimes mean you can’t do something that someone else wants you to do.
Of course, it’s a good idea to say ‘no’ nicely, but it really is important to protect the time you need for yourself.
#9- Take A Screen Break
There’s a good chance that you spend a lot of time staring at a screen. Maybe it’s your computer at work, the television, your phone. Whatever your screen of choice is, most of us could use a ‘digital detox’.
When we always have something to distract and entertain us, our minds don’t really get a break.
Try taking some intentional time away from screens- and maybe technology altogether. Read a real book, go for a walk, or enjoy some quiet time. Maybe even consider taking an entire day off from screen watching.
#10- Be Kind To Yourself
This might sound like a strange thing to put in a list of self-care ideas, but it’s a really important one. You can do all the self-care in the world, but if you are always criticizing yourself, you won’t feel good.
Learning to be kind to yourself might mean making a mindset shift. But little changes can make a big difference.
You could try picking out three things each day that you’ve done well and feeling good about them. Or you can repeat positive mantras to yourself throughout the day. Just think of some ways to have a kind voice in your head instead of a negative one.
If self-care sounds a bit overwhelming, just start with one new thing at a time. Like I said, it will look different for everyone, so don’t feel like you need to copy someone else’s self-care routine.
Hopefully, these 10 self-care ideas give you some practical ways to start. Taking care of yourself can really make a world of difference!
(Self-care is part of living a balanced life. If balance is something you need, read about the secrets behind living a balanced life.)