Is self-care on your radar or are you in survival mode? Many of us today can barely find the time to pay the bills and feed the kids, let alone take time to nourish ourselves both physically and emotionally. When did we get so busy and frazzled that our own needs got relegated to the back burner? Here are 5 ways to make self-care a priority.
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It’s no wonder health care costs continue to rise, with divorce rates steadily climbing, and mental health concerns, such as, depression and anxiety increasing as never before. It’s time to bring regular self-care back on board.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is the practice of honoring your health, happiness, and well-being, especially when the pressures of life are mounting. Caring for yourself is especially vital during times of stress. None of us can give from an empty cup, so it’s important to continually work on filling our own cups to make, not only ourselves happy and healthy, but those around us, as well.
The Importance of Self-Care
The benefits of making self-care a priority are many, including:
- Improved physical health and longevity
- Better mental and emotional health
- Greater creativity and increased productivity
- Increased relationship satisfaction
- Improvements in attitude and perspective
- Expanded feelings of peace, harmony, relaxation, and self-worth
- Burnout prevention and stress reduction
- Rejuvenation and replenishment
5 Ways to Make Self Care a Priority
Self-care is a choice. Once you’ve committed to make time for self-care, take time every day to do something that nourishes you either physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Nourishing yourself does not have to take inordinate amounts of time, which could potentially cause you even more stress as many of us don’t have that much discretionary time at our disposal.
Short rejuvenating get-aways go a long way in shoring up emotional and physical reserves? Brief, but consistent bursts of enjoyment and relief, can make a significant difference in terms of physical, emotional, and psychological health and well-being. A little self-care makes all the difference if your attitude and outlook have taken a nose dive.
Creating A Self-Care Plan
Self-care is taking responsibility for yourself. It’s an attitude and a commitment to consistently care for your own needs so you can thrive and give back to others.
The first step to effectively self-caring is to realize that it’s okay to make time for yourself. Not only is it okay, it’s necessary!
Start by giving yourself permission to make yourself a priority, which will make the following steps easier to implement. Decide today that self-care will be an integral part of your life from this day forward.
Next, create an action plan where you map out activities that resonate with you. We’ll talk about ideas below. Schedule YOURSELF into your life, and then stick with that plan. After a while, you’ll realize just how much you enjoy and look forward to your self-care activities, making you wonder how you ever managed without it.
[Read More: What Does It Mean To Be Self Aware?]
Healthy Self-Care Ideas
Here are some self-care ideas to get you started. Remember, self-care looks different for each of us. Also, a self-care activity that feels good one week may not be so appealing the next – so shake things up and don’t be rigid. Do what feels good to you in the moment.
And please don’t wait until you’ve officially reached burnout before making time for yourself. Notice your own personal warning signals and heed the red flags that are screaming: “Pay attention to me now or else.”
1. Move Your Body
Exercise: I don’t know about you but exercise clears my head and puts things in perspective. Go for a bike ride, workout at the gym, or take a dance class. Movement is healing.
Walk in nature: Take a leisurely walk by yourself or go with people that you enjoy being around and are good listeners, which is helpful if you need a listening ear or an objective opinion. Talking about what’s on your heart can help to clarify issues, while strengthening relationships at the same time.
Stretch: Gently stretch for a few minutes everyday, while breathing deeply. You’ll reset your nervous system, and keep your muscles pliable.
Get a massage: Nothing is more relaxing than a massage. Consider booking a session at a local massage school, which is more affordable.
Relax in a sauna: I’m spoiled because I have my own sauna. Detoxifying is a luxury many people forego.
Many gyms and salons have saunas so consider visiting one to see how you like it. Sweating is healthy on so many levels. You can also purchase your own infrared sauna.
2. Crafts And Creativity
Art: Jigsaw puzzles, coloring, painting, ceramics, pottery: any creative act gets you into your right brain.
Crafts: Sewing, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, jewelry making; anything crafty will do. I like the sense of fulfillment I feel after finishing a project, and it gives my left brain a much-needed rest.
Gardening: Spending time in nature is rejuvenating. Get your hands dirty. Make a topiary, plant some vegetables, or pot some flowers or herbs. It’ll make you feel productive.
Baking: Bake a pie, decorate a cake, or whip up some fluffy rolls. You’ll feel resourceful. Plus, your family will love it, or give a plate away to a lonely neighbor that would welcome a smiling face and kind word.
3. Reading, Writing and Music
Journaling: Documenting your thoughts and experiences puts a new slant on things and frees up your brain power.
Writing is therapeutic, which is why it’s often recommended for anyone on a healing journey.
Reading: There’s simply nothing better and more relaxing than reading a good book.
Watch a movie: You know that movie you missed when it first came out and is now on Netflix? Go relax in the bath and watch it. Even better, do it in the middle of the afternoon. You’ll feel like you’re bucking the system.
Listen to music: Who takes the time nowadays to just relax and listen to music? Who knows, maybe a solution to that pesky problem that’s been bugging you will make its appearance when you’re still. Better yet, create your own music if you play an instrument or sing out loud to your favorite songs. If you’re really brave, grab some friends and try your hand at karaoke. Check out this set of two karaoke microphones.
4. Friends And Fun
Renew old friendships: Set up a coffee or lunch date with long lost friends and reminisce about old times.
Foster budding friendships: Reach out to that special person you’d like to get to know better. Every new person you meet has something to teach you and will add new a dimension to you life.
Picnic in the park: Grab your favorite people and spend an afternoon at the park. Fly a kite, play frisbee, do some handstands, while indulging in your favorite food. Better yet, throw caution to the wind and go swing on the swings. Remember how fun that was as a child? Get in the groove of playing like children do.
Spend time with pets: Who doesn’t love spending time with pets? Animals have no agenda and give unconditional love at all times. Go for a walk, cuddle on the couch or play fetch.
Learn something new: Learning boosts self-esteem, creativity and mental capacity. The point is to get out of your comfort zone, which will increase your self-confidence and renew your faith in yourself.
5. Finding Inner Peace And Happiness
Take a nap: Nothing else but a nap will do the trick when you’re tired. Cozy up on the couch and take that much-deserved nap. No need to feel guilty or like you’re letting things slide. Life is both easier and more enjoyable when you’re not exhausted.
Meditate: Calm your fears and frustrations by meditating to relaxing music. Strength, courage, and perspective are renewed after a period of calm and quiet. Lay in the sun, letting the warmth relax your muscles and clear your mind.
Daydream: This is one of my favorite activities. It boosts my mood, realigns my attitude, and lifts my spirits. Letting your thoughts wander in a warm bath filled with essential oils or Epsom salts is one of the most rejuvenating things you can do.
Organize: I put this one in as a self-care activity because I love organizing. I find it very restorative. You know that tin of grandma’s old buttons you’ve been wanting to organize. I dare you to take an hour and go do it now. It’s cheaper than therapy. Or if you’re really ambitious – go tackle your closet. Give items you no longer wear to Goodwill. The freed-up space will give you a new lease on life.
You don’t have to tell them you’re on your way to get a mani-pedi. It’s nobody’s business how you invest in yourself. Better yet, make a full disclosure of what you’re doing and why. It will be setting an example for others to follow.
I hope I’ve convinced you how important self-care is. Prevent illness, boost creativity, and increase productivity all at the same time by investing in a self-care schedule. The benefits will far outweigh the time and energy it requires.
You know that calendar you’re endlessly adding things to? Practice penciling yourself in, blocking out chunks of time just for you. There’s really nothing more important…
How are you doing in the self-care department? Is it a priority or have you let it slide? Let me know in the comments:)
Disclaimer: This article is strictly for informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice.