How to Take Care of Yourself: Simple Self-Care Tips
It can be very difficult to find the time to care for ourselves when our lives are so busy, especially if we're taking care of others. The Internet and social media are great ways to stay connected, but they also mean that we can be constantly surrounded by violent news. We're so used to talking about productivity and life planning that sometimes we don't pay attention to our present situation, and that's when self-care must come in.
In order to manage stress and avoid the development of serious health problems - both mental and physical - it is very important to ground yourself through self-care habits. In this OneHowTo article we'll explain how to take care of yourself through simple self-care tips, all of them as accessible and cheap as possible.
Before explaining how to take care of yourself through self-care tips, it's very important to actually understand what "self-care" means. Self-care is about performing daily habits that make you feel better and improve your overall physical and mental health, taking the time to breathe. Self-care, then, is individual; not all strategies work for everyone.
It has been found that care-givers - like nurses or social workers -, victims of violence and abuse and members of oppressed minorities are more likely to suffer from "compassion fatigue", low self-esteem, and high levels of stress and suffocation from high expectations about themselves. Self-care, then, is especially important for people in these groups.
Remember that self-care is not over-indulgence, and you should not feel guilty about not being productive or "giving" 24/7. In fact, self-care is about making me-time into a guiltless habit. This will allow you to slow down, return to your best capacities and learn, work, and communicate better with others.
Self-care does not consist of treating yourself for a day of full-on pampering. Instead, it's better to free half an hour a day up for any of the activities we will now list. Some of the simplest strategies to take care of yourself include learning to manage your time and break up your schedule to have some leisure, having someone to vent to and laugh with, learning to say no and being kind to yourself.
Take care of yourself physically:
The simplest self-care strategies are all about being aware of your body and the space around you, checking that everything is working properly and making the most of it. Some recommended self-care tips include:
- Look around you: Is your room or workspace tidy? Can you unclutter it a bit? Do some tidying up, but in small portions.
- Sit or lie down and do some deep breaths by placing your hand on your abdomen and feeling it push up. Enjoy that time - just sit still and let it all rush by.
- Visualize the tensions flowing through your body and imagine letting go of them. Try to visualize your muscles as they relax one by one, from toes to head. Let them loose and limp.
- Dance around your room to your favorite feel-good songs, or go really theatrical with the most dramatic ones. It'll do great for your creativity and self-esteem, even if you feel ridiculous at first.
- Exercise at least for half an hour, three times a week. Physical exercise reduces stress and improves your sleep quality and mental focus. Plus, it releases endorphins! Choose an activity that's accessible - a short walk outdoors is perfectly fine - or something fun, like a team sport or zumba.
- Be aware of your diet. Plan the week's meals and tweak your food habits slowly - add pieces of fruit, trim some meat out. Have an extra glass of juice and drink more water. Try not to multitask while eating.
- Wear soft and comfortable clothes, especially at home.
- Burn aromatic candles, plant herbs or let your room air. Pleasant smells are not that noticeable, but they are actually very important!
- Pamper with a long, hot shower or a nice bath. Take your time! If you can, go for a professional massage.
- Take a short nap. Even if you don't manage to fall asleep, your brain will free up.
- Don't put off your doctor's appointments. Taking care of yourself includes not procrastinating routine check-ups.
Take care of yourself mentally:
While physical self-care tips can help you clear up your mind, there are some specific strategies to take care of your mental health that you ought to try. General tips like "be happy" or "relax" are obviously not enough; however, there are activities that will make you feel better.
- Take a look at your routine: Be mindful of what you usually do and how you do it, and try to see if there is anything that is particularly stressful for you. Alter your routine slightly - for instance, take a different commuting route. However, if you feel like your schedule is too messy, do the opposite and plan a routine that can be easily established.
- Round up all those to-do lists that you have laying around and get a goal out of your chest.
- Do some meditation daily, even if it's one minute - or ten - right before or after sleeping. Breathe deeply, acknowledge what you feel and think, and move on. Revise your own emotions and describe them to yourself without judging them. Even saying "I feel bad about this missed chance" aloud can be useful. Remember that you're your own best listener.
- Don't be embarrassed to ask your friends what they like about you. Compliments can do wonders!
- Take yourself on a date. Yes - go see a film or make your own candlelit dinner. It's a great experience.
- When you do grocery shopping or are waiting for the bus, make small talk with a stranger. You don't need to open your heart to them, just make some contact.
Creative self-care tips:
Art and creative hobbies can make fantastic self-care strategies, since they allow for some time to yourself and exercise your mind in an enjoyable way. Remember what your hobbies were as a child and try to get back to that state of mind, or try some new self-care ideas and turn them into a daily ritual:
- Start a gratitude journal: What good thing happened today? What would you want your future self to remember? What have you learnt?
- Write down nice things other people have said about you.
- Take a moment to consider your environment and describe it as beautifully as you can.
- Start a journal: Write down your thoughts and feelings without any expectations or judgement. If you're not a writer, consider a scrapbook.
- Take some time to read. It will enhance your imagination and focus.
- Make a board of cute images on Pinterest or put a real-life collage together.
- Make a feel-good playlist - or any kind of playlist, really.
- Build your own care package. Include whatever you prefer: Pampering lotions and soaps, photos, poems, candles... Whatever it is, have it at hand.
Daily habits for self-care:
No matter your lifestyle, it is a good idea to take care of yourself by reviewing and tweaking your daily habits. Not only will you enjoy the process, but your daily schedule will become easier and less stressful over time.
- Revise your social media friend list. Trim your inputs of information down to the essentials, and make sure you delete all toxic contacts. If you don't want to delete someone but they drain you, or make your social media feed too negative, you can just mute them.
- Turn off social media every now and then, especially late in the evening. Tune out.
- Soak in some sunlight everyday and make sure you get vitamins and fresh air, especially in places where you're likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
- Cook dishes from scratch and make sure they include fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of juices and water.
- Don't be afraid to turn back from news sources when you feel drained. There's only so much one can take in.
Finally, it's very important to connect with others and have a support network in order to take care of yourself. Ask your friends for self-care ideas, for instance, or round them up with your workmates.
Even if you don't feel that bad, don't be afraid or embarrassed to go to a professional for therapy or counseling; having someone to listen to you will make all the difference. Do your best to become free from the stigma around discussing mental health - everybody will thank you for it.
These are some simple self-care tips so that you learn how to take care of yourself. If you have any ideas, please tell us in the comments section.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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