Self–care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something people very often overlook. It’s easy to get busy or find excuses to neglect your well-being. The thing is, good self–care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.
So are some self-care activities that I can do to improve my mental, emotional and physical well being? Well, that has to do with your passions. What do you love? Some people love to read. Some people love to paint. Some people love to sit on the couch and watch Big Bang Theory marathons. Whatever it is you’re doing, make sure that it’s satisfying. Make sure that it’s contributing to your happiness, not anyone elses.
These may sound stupid, or they may not, but here are some suggestions for integrating self-care into your life more often than you’re doing now. (Please note, these suggestions may have been mentioned before. If you’ve read them in previous posts, just keep in mind that means they’re really great ways for practicing self-care)
- Look into the mirror each morning and say ‘Today is going to be a good day. I can do this. I am amazing’. Perhaps if you remind yourself of this enough, it’ll start becoming true.
- Get a good night’s sleep. I’ve talked about this before, but sleep is such an important facet to how a person sees the world. A good night’s sleep helps regenerate the body for another day. If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, consider different options you can take to change that.
- Reward yourself. This one is immensely important. If you do something good, treat yourself. If you accomplish something that was difficult for you, treat yourself. Think of it like how happy dogs get when they complete a trick and you give them a bone, pat them on the head and say ‘Good Doggo’. They’re in pure bliss for the moments following. Find what kind of a reward you would like and make sure you integrate that into your days.
- Only use positive language when you’re talking to yourself/about yourself. While it’s incredibly easy to point out your faults, if you never speak those faults out loud, it doesn’t give them credibility. Showcase your positives and let those good thoughts see the light of day.
- Do something, at least one thing, per day that makes you happy. This one is stressed to me by my Psychiatrist every time that I see her. By focusing on something that makes you happy, at least once per day, you’re forcing serotonin into your brain. Serotonin is what will boost your mood and allow you to feel better. Even if it only lasts a half hour, or a few hours, that’s still a lot better than no good mood at all.
- Find a hobby! Hobbies are great. Especially great if they involve interactions with other people. Whether it’s basketball in the park, a pottery class, or volunteering at the old folks home, find something that you like doing. If you like doing it, it’ll give you a purpose, a place to be and make you feel grateful for the time you get to do said hobby.
- Get a manicure. Female or male, I can’t recommend this enough. It sounds so trivial, but it’s extremely relaxing to just sit down in a comfy chair for a half hour or an hour and let someone else give you a manicure. Your mind slips away from you, the whole world stops for a few minutes and you just get to relax in the present. I know that it’s typically thought of as a female activity, but I highly recommend it for men as well. Everyone can always use clean, hydrated, manicured hands. You don’t have to get polish on your nails.
- Get in your car and drive. If you have some extra time, and you can afford the gas, get in your car, turn the radio up and drive down streets you’ve never been down before. Learn some new parts of your city/town and look at what you like/don’t like with respect to the houses and how they’re built. Perhaps stop at a park and go for a swing, or down the slide. You never know where you might end up when you get in the vehicle.
- Walk your dog. Or a dog. If you don’t own a dog, ask if you can walk a friend’s dog, or a neighbours dog. Or, if you’re in a big-city, sign up for WAG and get paid to walk dogs. I’m a firm believer in the value of dog therapy, and the benefit becomes two-fold when you’re getting exercise for yourself in the process.
Whatever you end up doing, ensure that you’re putting yourself fist. Don’t succumb to the negative connotation that self-care is selfish and not necessary. Perhaps if you advocate a certain amount of time each day (be it ten minutes or thirty minutes or however long you can spare), then you won’t get as stressed as often. Perhaps you’ll feel better. It’s a proven fact that when you look after yourself, you feel better about yourself. So look after yourself.
Practice self-care every day.
What are some activities you practice for self-care?
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