It’s not always easy to find time for yourself. As a result, you press on and make excuses. You’ll do it when you “have the time”, as though time will magically appear someday on your schedule. Besides, self-care isn’t really very important, is it?
This kind of mindset is based on flawed thinking on two points. First, self-care has to take a lot of time. Second, self-care doesn’t really matter.
The problem is we tend to think of self-care in terms of indulgence. As though a little time out for ourselves somehow translates into partying all weekend, or a trip to the Bahamas. If so, you’re not even close.
Self-care is about doing what’s best for you. It’s doing something to knock a little stress out of your day. So, while fantasy vacations sound great, the reality is much closer to taking a walk in the fresh air. Or drinking more water, not more alcohol.
Nor does it involve a huge time investment. In fact, you can try any one of these quick tips right now, to make self-care a priority in your life.
The effects of nature upon your health have been documented in many different areas. So much so, the builders of modern hospitals incorporate as many natural materials and greenery into the rooms of the patients as it has been proven people heal faster when exposed to nature. With this in mind, is it any wonder getting outside should be at the top of your list? Make a point to get outside as often as possible, especially in green spaces. If you find you can’t do this easily, an alternative might be to create an indoor garden or to incorporate nature somehow into your décor.
Grab a Compliment
When was the last time someone said something nice about you? Take note of compliments. Write them down. Anytime you need a boost of self-esteem, go back and read over what other people have had to say about you. Enjoy the reminder of just how great you are.
Not every workout has to be arduous and time-consuming. But everyone needs to get up and stretch once in a while, especially if you’ve been spending a lot of time at your desk. Make a point to get up at least once every hour and move around a little. Try some stretches. Take a short walk. You’ll find even your thinking improves when you move around from time to time.
Savor the Moment
When was the last time you paid real attention to what you were doing? Take a minute to enjoy this moment right now. If you are eating something, close your eyes and save her the tastes, textures, and flavor upon your tongue. If you are at your desk, close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. What do you smell? What do you feel? The world becomes a much more magical place when you start paying attention, doesn’t it?
Do Something Nice
There is a huge impact on our mental state every time we do something for someone else. Look for ways to make someone else’s world a little bit better. Hold the door open. Randomly pay for a stranger’s coffee. Tiny acts of kindness have a way of instilling positivity into even the worst of days.
Feeling a little stressed? Stop whatever you’re doing. Close your eyes. And take several long, slow deep breaths. The act of just breathing will center yourself again and create a circle of calm within yourself. Want to give yourself an extra boost? A drop or two of essential oil can do wonders for changing your mood, energy level, and productivity.
Deal with a Thing
There is likely some tiny little thing that has been irritating you for some time. A light bulb that is burned out. A tiny little repair in your home. An overdue library book that needs to go back. Whatever is bugging you, take a few minutes today to deal with it. You will feel so much better when it’s done.
Take a Happy Break
You know you better than anyone else. When you need to pick me up, turn to the tried and true. What makes you happiest? Take a moment to snuggle a pet, recall a favorite memory, talk to a dear friend, or indulge in a favorite hobby. Even a short break doing something you love can change the tone of your day.
Speaking of happiness, when was the last time you truly laughed? Laughter is so good for a person both mentally and physically. What’s really interesting, is how a fake laugh very quickly becomes a real one. So even if you’re not feeling like the world is funny, give a laugh a try. if this seems too silly, grab your favorite comedy on TV or read your favorite comic strip.
How hard is it to meditate? Actually, it’s easier than you think. Meditation, even done in short bursts no longer than 5 minutes, has a profound impact on how you feel. The key is to find a quiet place where you can focus inward without interruption. Be mindful of your breathing, and relax, letting your thoughts drift in no particular direction. By practicing mindfulness to return to this moment here and now you can reduce enormous amounts of stress with only a little practice.
Drop the Stress
Easier said than done, right? Truthfully, we all know the things which cause stress in our lives. This might be a good time to question whether or not it might be time to set a boundary. We don’t need to let stress rule our lives. Start small by saying no to something you have no wish to do. Protect your time, and more importantly, protect your mental health from those who would be energy vampires. if your job is causing you stress, start making a plan for how you can change this. Maybe it’s time to be working toward a new career.
Grab a Snack
What you eat when you get the munchies really does matter. The next time you’re feeling hungry, consider a healthy snack. Create options that are easy to grab and go. Hummus with a few crackers or some vegetables to dip makes for a filling and satisfying snack. So do nuts, dried fruit, yogurt, or other simple and yummy treats.
Change Your Tune
You would be amazed at how much music influences moods. Try picking out a playlist and be sure to have upbeat and bouncy songs you can add energy to an otherwise dull day. Indulging in your favorite album can be a quick way to stir positive memories and bring a happy smile to your face.
Sit in the Sun
Our bodies crave sunshine naturally. This is why some people experience seasonal affective disorder in the wintertime when the skies are gray. If today is a sunny day, why not go outside and sit for a few minutes? Tilt your head back and enjoy the feel of the sun on your face.
Our bodies absolutely require rest on a regular basis. If you are like most people and have been cutting short your sleep for the sake of getting things done, you’re probably a little sleep-deprived. A short nap will do wonders for your energy levels.
Read a Book
The best part about books is how they take you somewhere else entirely. Get lost in a different world by sinking into a good book. Need help figuring out what to read? Why not join a book club and combine the idea of reading with some much-needed socialization?
Clean Up Your Act
It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re always surrounded by a mess. Taking a few minutes to clean up the clutter will make a huge difference in how the room feels, and in how you feel. Decluttering does not have to be a big deal. Make a point to put away a few things every day. Keep a box in the closet for items you wish to give away. When the box is full, it’s time to drop it off at your favorite charity.
Take Yourself on a Date
What is your perfect date? Think about taking yourself out to enjoy your favorite day. Go to the park or catch a movie. Eat at your favorite restaurant. Go hiking. Whatever you enjoy most, today is your day.
Human beings need physical contact. This is just a simple fact of life. Today, make a point to cuddle with your favorite warm body. This might be your significant other, or your favorite pet. The nice thing? The one being cuddled also gets a nice boost to their day as well.
If you’re in the mood, consider taking cuddling to the next level. Sex builds deep and intimate connections to the one you love. But did you know, it’s also good for your health? Frequent sex will reduce pain, build your immune system, and has a profound benefit to your mental health. It’s also a great deal of fun.
OK, a trip to the Bahamas (or whatever your favorite vacation destination is) sounds pretty good after all. Sometimes, you really do just need to get away. Why not plan a weekend jaunt somewhere fun? Or if you have the time and money, put that big vacation on your calendar. Just having a trip to look forward to can do wonders for your mental health.
With self-care, the key is consistency. Doing something right for yourself today isn’t going to be enough to carry you through for the rest of the month, or even this week. You need to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to practice self-care. The good news? Most of these items are so easy they’ll quickly become habits. This is where the magic happens, where you feel good inside and out, no matter what you’re doing today.