Self care is the practice of focusing on one’s own well-being, and we tend to overlook it all too often. We lead hectic lives, and thus, finding time to actively take care of ourselves tends to go on the back burner. Recently, I’ve been trying hard to prioritize self care so that I can be at my best in all aspects of my life. Here are some of my favorite ways to take care of myself, physically and mentally.
1. Put your priorities in order.
Do you know what’s most important to you? If not, figuring it out will make a lot of things easier. Focus on what makes you happy—not what other people want you to do, or what takes up most of your time. Think about what makes you feel fulfilled, and try to figure out how to build your life around that. If you’re actively working towards a life where you prioritize the things you enjoy, you’ll be more motivated overall.
2. Tell someone you need a hug.
Hugs can’t fix everything, but sometimes it sure seems like it. When I’m lonely or sad, a hug can mollify those feelings right away, and remind me that there are tons of people who love and care about me. Don’t think that you need to hide your feelings—sometimes all we need is a little comfort.
3. Do something that nourishes your mind.
I’m guilty of lying in front of the TV for hours when I’m feeling down, but it doesn’t do much to help my mental state. Often, it just makes me feel lazy, like I’m wasting too much time. Everyone has something they like to do that also makes them feel good about themselves, be it reading, playing an instrument, taking walks in nature, or anything else. Figure out what makes you feel invigorated and motivated, and remember that next time you’re having an off day.
Exercise is a powerful tool for self care, since it revitalizes your body and your mind. If you’re not a huge fitness person, don’t worry! A brisk walk or a yoga class can easily make you feel better about yourself. It can certainly be hard to feel motivated, but you’ll thank yourself when you’re done—I always do.
If you’re in a rut and it’s not immediately obvious why, take some time to think about it. It’ll be much easier to feel better when you know what’s wrong. Is there a responsibility that’s sucking the life out of you? Are there toxic people dragging you down? Examine your life, and if you want to change something, start making a plan to do so.
6. Change your routine in a small way.
Variety is the spice of life! Boredom can drag you down without you even noticing, so change something up. Take a new route home or make a new recipe for dinner. Don’t wait for your life to be interesting—take things into your own hands.
7. Do a good deed.
Help someone, even in a small way. Sometimes as we’re meandering through the world, we’re lost on autopilot, not really paying attention to others. One of these days, make an effort to be present, and if you notice someone who needs help, help them. It may not be your responsibility, but do it anyway; selfless acts are a form of self care too, because they’re guaranteed to make you feel better.
8. Focus on the beautiful things around you.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: appreciating life and its beauty goes a long way. We’re so lucky to be here at all, able to experience what the world has to offer. Be mindful, and know that if you don’t like the way your life is now, you have the power to make it better.
9. Go with the flow.
Are you a control freak? Let up a little. Good things happen when you least expect them to—it may be best for you to relinquish control for a while. Maybe once you stop trying to force things to work out a certain way, everything will start to fall into place. Letting go of full control, even if it’s scary, is a great way to de-stress and improve your mental health.
10. Disconnect for an hour.
Yes, technology is pretty much essential nowadays. But there are lulls where you can spare an hour or two. If you’re like me and you constantly have your phone in hand, putting it down even for a short amount of time can open your eyes to what you’ve tuned out. Be aware of your surroundings without the constant technological distraction, and you’ll appreciate them more.
11. Tell someone you love them.
No matter who you are, there are people in this world who love you. Even reassuring yourself of that can make you feel better. But you can also take it one step further and remind one of those people that you love them too—it’ll make both of you feel instantly warm and fuzzy, especially if you don’t say those words very often.
12. Let yourself feel your emotions.
There’s nothing worse than bottling your feelings up inside. It doesn’t help you or anyone else, and it turns you into a ticking time bomb for a complete breakdown. A hugely important aspect of self care is addressing your feelings as they arise, and not pushing them away. Be in touch with your own emotions, and you’ll be able to resolve them much better. It’ll lead to a much happier life overall.