In a world that glorifies exhaustion and side-hustle culture, it can be incredibly difficult to feel healthy and well-rested. The constant activity and noise has enabled us to ignore our own well-being for the sake of making more money and prioritizing everyone but ourselves. All of this can lead to feeling burned out, unhappy and constantly overwhelmed.
Incorporating self-care practices into every area of our lives is key to being happier, healthier and more fulfilled. Here are some ideas to practice self-care and improve every part of your life.
Taking care of your body is an essential part of any self-care plan. When you prioritize your physical health, it benefits your mind as well. Exercise is a particularly effective mood booster that can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Sneak exercise into your day. Regular exercise won’t happen unless you intentionally make time for it. The next time you’re watching TV, set a reminder to get up and do squats or pushups every 15 minutes. Knock out some lunges on your way to the bathroom and dance as you wait for your food to heat up in the microwave.
- Wind down before bed with a warm bath. Take a warm bath to help you relax and catch more Zzzs at night. While you’re at it, treat your tresses — and the planet — with a nourishing shampoo bar made with plant-based ingredients. Follow up with a moisturizing conditioner bar or use it as a leave-in treatment.
- Eat without distraction. Research has shown that mindful eating can help people lose weight and manage chronic pain. Pick one meal a day that you will commit to eating without looking at your phone, watching TV or listening to a podcast.Mental Self-Care
Mental self-care involves making time for activities that stimulate or relax your brain. Here are a few self-care practices that can help you stay mentally healthy:
- Do a craft project. Crafting can ease stress, boost happiness and keep your brain healthy as you age. You don’t need to be good at crafts to reap the benefits, so pick up a paintbrush and go for it!
- Make time for relaxation. Schedule relaxation time for yourself every day. Do some yoga stretches, get lost in a good book or practice meditation. Don’t forget to turn off email and phone notifications!
- Immerse yourself in a new topic. Watch a documentary or read a book on a topic that you know little — if anything — about. Learning new things keeps your mind engaged and healthy.Emotional Self-Care
People often lump mental and emotional self-care together, but the two are distinct forms of self-care that deserve their own separate categories. While mental self-care involves nurturing the functioning of your brain, emotional self-care involves nurturing, well — your emotions!
Emotional self-care is allowing yourself to channel your feelings in a way that benefits your overall health. Crystals are often used for stress relief, focus, and to heal the mind, body, and soul. Different meanings and types of crystals are excellent for incorporating them into your emotional healing practices. You can prevent negative energies from eroding your aura with their help.
- Keep a journal. Journaling is a fantastic way to deal with overwhelming emotions. Set aside a few minutes every day to write down your thoughts and feelings.
- Pay attention to your breathing. The next time you’re feeling stressed or angry, try to be mindful of each breath you take. Research shows that focusing on your breathing can help reduce the emotional response in your brain.
- Notice what you’re grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful brain tool that can help you stay positive even in negative or difficult situations. Jot down a few things you’re grateful for each week. And remember: They don’t need to be “big” things. Practicing gratitude is all about appreciating the little things in life!
You don’t need to be religious in the traditional sense to nurture your spiritual self. Practicing spiritual self-care can be anything that helps you feel connected to something greater than yourself (think: serving your community and supporting environmental causes). Here are a few simple ways to nurture your spiritual side:
- Practice mindful walking meditation. Go for a walk in the woods and engage all five senses: touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. Practice breathing techniques while appreciating your surroundings.
- Give back to the earth. Putting your energy into caring for the earth feels good and can give your life a sense of purpose. Start giving back to the planet by switching to sustainable bathroom products, conserving water and spending more time in nature.
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- Say daily affirmations. When you’re feeling lonely or uncertain, empower yourself through meaningful words. Repeat positive affirmations in the mirror to boost your confidence and give you strength.Social Self-Care
As humans, we need social interaction to improve our health and happiness. Social self-care involves prioritizing your social life, whether it includes your family, your friends or your local community.
- Make plans with friends and family. Call a family member for a quick chat or grab lunch with an old friend. Always try to honor your commitments.
- Meet new people. Striking up a new friendship can be nerve-wracking, but it’s well worth the effort for your social and mental well-being. Consider joining a Meetup group or taking a class to expand your social circle.
- Get involved in your community. Find ways to give back to your community, whether it’s by volunteering at a local organization or setting up a litter pickup outing with friends.
Focus on Taking Good Care of Yourself
Many of us are guilty of putting self-care on the back burner. But if you don’t make time for yourself, you’ll eventually feel burned out and overwhelmed. To get the most from life, focus on incorporating self-care into every aspect of your life. You’re bound to feel happier and healthier!