Self-care is all about looking after you, so you can lead a happy lifestyle, maintain good relationships, be confident and healthy. To do this, you need to take into account the four categories: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental care.
When it comes to self-care activities that help with all the above, you have to start somewhere. The following are some simple ideas and practices you can implement now to kick-start your self-care routine.
Exercise is key to feeling good, with a higher heart rate having an abundance of benefits on your overall physical health, and mental wellbeing. Scientifically, it reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, helps to reduce anxiety, and it stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the chemicals in the brain that enhance your mood and lower your pain levels.
You don’t have to exercise at the same time each day, but it’s recommended you do at least 20-30 minutes of light exercise daily to get the most benefits.
Your self-care list doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have a spare hour to yourself, why not head to your local coffee shop and sit, relax, read a book, and enjoy a delicious cuppa. Choose a coffee shop that makes you feel comfortable and take a moment to breathe in the aromas in the air.
By putting yourself into an environment that makes you feel happy, you’re starting off your self-care day the right way. Invite a friend if you like, and you can also chat about any stress you might be experiencing for some bonus emotional care as well. Don’t like coffee? Take yourself to the local library to explore the shelves for a good book, or head to a local patisserie for a cake instead.
The idea of mindfulness is allowing yourself to become focused on the present – what’s happening now, rather than worrying about what happened yesterday, or what might happen tomorrow. It helps you to dedicate your time to what you need to get done today and allows you to stop procrastinating and wasting valuable time.
THE IDEA OF MINDFULNESS IS ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BECOME FOCUSED ON THE PRESENT, WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW.
Meditation and yoga are ideal for getting your blood pressure down so that you feel great as part of your care routine. If you have young children or a busy family life and don’t feel like you even have time for that, take a long shower instead and try deep breathing while you’re under the water. Even if it means you have to wake up earlier, or lock the door behind you provided a responsible family member is taking care of the kids, it’s worth it just to have those few minutes to yourself. It could be as simple as going to bed early, or doing anything that makes you happy.
There’s so much beauty in nature, including how amazing it is and the options available for your self-care activities. Fresh air allows you to escape technology, and because you’re getting exercise at the same time, it can prevent or assist with a multitude of health issues.
TAKE A PICNIC TO YOUR LOCAL PLAYGROUND AND YOU CAN USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND TIME ON YOUR OWN, WITH THE KIDS SO YOU CAN CHILL WHILE THEY PLAY.
If you’re not sure what to do once you go outdoors, why not head to a local national park and enjoy a hike or bike ride? Take a picnic to your local playground and you can use this opportunity to spend time on your own, with the kids so you can chill while they play, or to arrange a playdate with a friend you can chat with while the little ones are busy. Or you might head to a nearby park for an early morning yoga session.
Money makes the world go around, and as such, it’s only natural that at some point, most of us have financial stress of some sort. Financial self-care is all about taking control of your financial situation so you can understand your habits, and make necessary changes to reduce stress and invest in the long-term.
Start by writing out a list of the things you spend money on each month – and try to eliminate some of those, where possible. If you have a credit card, keep an eye on that spending – understand how credit cards work, what your interest repayments are, and make sure you pay your credit card on time so you aren’t not hit with late-payment fees. Finally, set yourself some financial goals to keep you motivated.
Although keeping up with friends and family is good for self-care, keep in mind that social media can present a lot of drama and stress as well. What you see isn’t always what you get. If you spend your days mulling over the perfect life your friend brags about, remember behind the scenes could be a very different story.
Also, don’t let your social media pages dictate your life – if you find yourself doing something just so you can take a photo of it, like standing on the edge of a cliff; it’s time to step back from the edge. And while it’s okay to be on social media, if you want to take better care of yourself, consider switching off as well.
Use the above tips and start caring for the person who matters the most – you.