In today’s world, we are constantly surrounded by a multitude of television screens, social media feeds, an array of negative information from the news, bustling highways, and so many more vehicles of distraction. Stimulation is everywhere the eye can see, and it seems that the busier this world gets, the harder it is to still the mind.
Most of us are pretty good of taking care of everyday tasks and even other people, but when it comes to our own self-care, we tend to put it on the back burner, and save it for later. The truth is, daily self-care is detrimental to a healthy and balanced life, and is necessary for our physical, mental and emotional health.
Below I will outline a few simple ways to self-care that everyone can implement into their day. The more we practice these behaviors, the more natural they will become and the easier it will be to combat stress and negative emotions!
- Gratitude Journaling – Simple, yet effective. Everyday minute of the day there is something to be grateful for, even if it’s as little as watching a bird making a nest in a tree, or reminding yourself of how lucky you are to have clothes on your back. Life is made up of the small details, and it could be beneficial to write down the good ones and keep a daily journal.
- Breathing Deeply – Take five minutes each day to just focus on the rhythm of your breath, this can help still the ever going mental dialogue inside our heads. If you have a hard time blocking out the mental chatter, focus on the word “inhale” as you inhale, and “exhale” as you exhale. Think of it kind of like counting sheep when you try to relax your mind at night.
- Taking breaks when working on a difficult task – If you are faced with a challenging project, don’t push yourself to the limit trying to get it done as fast as possible, instead set mini goals for yourself while you work, with every accomplishment allow yourself a break or a reward, such as a cup of good coffee, or listening to a favorite song. This can help keep you refreshed and confident about your work.
- Take the time to enjoy your food – We often scarf down our food because we are pressed for time. But it is important to be mindful while we eat, eating should be pleasurable experience, it is also an experience that brings all humans together, and taking the time to really taste each bite has been linked to incredible health benefits! Set aside an extra ten minutes to enjoy your meal, and try to refrain from using your smartphone or laptop while eating.
- Read an uplifting story – Find a character throughout history that is an inspiration to you and do some research, or keep a stack of books that always make you laugh for the times when you might feel a little down. Getting enthralled in a good story is a great way to decompress the mind.
- Have a spa day – Carve out some time to prepare yourself a hot bath, or do a face mask. Sometimes we all need a little pampering. Play some relaxing music, you can also obtain some essential oils or candles with soothing scents such as lavender or jasmine. Allow yourself a certain amount of time to relax without thinking about the future or the past, sure you might have a big research paper due later this week, but take this time purely for yourself and try to focus on the scents, sounds, and sensations instead of that pesky research paper or deadline.
- Challenge yourself to do something new – Whether it’s a trip to the aquarium or a different route to work, set an intention to do something you haven’t done before. Maybe you have been wanting to see that new art exhibit, or take that salsa class, or even take a new path while you hike. Trying new things helps us adapt more easily to inevitable changes in our environment, and you never know what you will see or learn when you try something out of the ordinary!
- Make a vision board – Ever think about all the thing you want in life? Write them down, or better yet, make it into a project! Find pictures of the things that make you happy, or the things you strive for in life. Such as a lake house, a dog, a college degree, or a beautiful garden. Seeing the things you want in life on display may help keep you motivated, and it’s also aesthetically pleasing!
- Take stretching breaks throughout the day, stretching can have enormous benefits especially if you tend to sit a lot during the day. Take time to stretch your body in whatever way feels necessary. Just remember, never force a stretch, just let it happen. Listen to your body and it will thank you for it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Whatever it is you might be struggling with, chances are someone else has been there before and would be happy to share their experience. We are stronger when we stick together!