Do you remember the days when “self-care” wasn’t a thing?
Reading a book?
Listening to music?
Taking a long bath?
Making a four-course meal that takes three hours to prepare, at least twice a week?
Those were the things I used to just… “do.” Without giving them a second thought.
As my schedule became more packed and work became more demanding, doing things like picking up a new book or trying a new recipe, became somewhat of a luxury.
Luxury I no longer had the time for. For a while, the first thing I did after I opened my eyes and the last thing I did before I closed them at night, was to check my email, reach for my laptop and work.
I didn’t really see a problem with any of those things because I love being productive. After a while though, you start spreading yourself thin and start feeling drained, overwhelmed. Your relationships start to suffer, too, because.. well, you can’t pour from an empty cup, can you?
To me, practicing self-care means doing things that make you feel good. Things and activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. I think it’s important to remember that practicing self-care isn’t a “quick-fix.”
It takes a bit more than a bubble bath and a face mask for feelings of stress and anxiety to go away. With regular self-care practice, you might find those things much easier to deal with though.
If it’s not something you already practice or find it difficult to do, think of self-care as short breaks you give yourself to re-center your focus and restore that energy.
15 SIMPLE WAYS TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE FOR YOUR MIND + BODY + SOUL
FOR THE MIND
- Meditate (try a guided meditation, if you’ve never done it before)
- Clean up your digital mess- like your email inbox
- Edit your social media- unfollow people and accounts that wake any negative feelings in you
- Get rid of things you no longer need but hold on to, for no reason
- Have a big clean-out session (clean house-clear mind :) )
FOR THE BODY
- Go for a run
- Do some yoga
- Take a nap
- Treat yourself to your favorite meal and/or dessert
- Have a long, relaxing bath
FOR THE SOUL
- Call some close, or grab a group of friends and go out for dinner
- Spend some time alone
- Make a list of things you’ve accomplished
- Try journaling
- Pick up a new book
- Listen to music (this piece is proven to reduce stress and anxiety)
SELF-CARE MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO ALL OF US
To some, self-care means taking a bath or getting a manicure. To others, it’s eating healthy, getting enough sleep and staying fit. Someone else’s idea of self-care is binge-watching a sitcom and eating ice-cream, lying on the couch, next to a loved one. Sometimes, it means taking a nap or spending some time alone. And, sometimes even having a good cry and letting yourself just feel all the things you’ve been pushing away somewhere, is a way of practicing self-care, too. It can be something (or, anything) that helps you stay sane. It’s also something that some of us have to learn to do, all over again.
I love working and I struggle with being unproductive; I don’t always know how to “turn off“. I tend to bring work home with me and feel guilty when I go out for lunch with a friend, or “waste” a Saturday by not getting any work done. I noticed that I started to feel anxious about doing things that should bring me joy and I knew I had to change that. It’s almost as if I’m feeling guilty for showing myself some love and kindness. It’s especially been a struggle over the last couple of months. For someone like me, who loves to stay productive, having your own body refuse to work with you is difficult and frustrating. All that guilt sets in and you just feel like you’re wasting time, by recuperating and getting some rest, because the truth is, I’m the happiest when I’m doing something productive. Sometimes, you just have to accept those little curves that life throws at you. There will be times where you feel almost as if you found yourself in a rip current. You don’t always have to fight against it.
The best way to avoid burnout is to know when to take a little break. It is not about self-indulgence; it’s remembering not to always put yourself last. It’s about looking after yourself and nourishing your mind and body- whatever that means for you.