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Have you recently found yourself feeling mentally, physically, or spiritually drained? Do you feel tired, sick, or emotionally fatigued? If so, it’s possible that you haven’t engaged in enough self-care lately!Self-care practices are activities that we purposefully engage in for the sake of our health and wellness. Though self-care is a simple concept, it’s something that many of us neglect. We often spend too much time and energy focusing on task-oriented accomplishments, the well-being of our families, and more. By focusing on the external, however, we are neglecting our internal selves, leading us to feel unhappy and unwell.
By discovering and engaging in positive habits and practices that refuel us, we can improve the way we feel about ourselves, as well as the ways in which we interact with others. Improve your life by re-focusing on self-care in the following areas.
Set Aside Time for Personal Care & Grooming
It’s often true that looking good makes us feel good. Even if you’re a “low-maintenance” person in regards to your appearance, there are many simple ways in which you can tend to your body and your appearance. Instead of taking a rushed shower and quickly washing your face, set aside at least one day a week to properly tend to your body. Draw a bath for yourself and add a nicely-scented bath powder or oil. Both men and women can tend to their faces by using a face mask or scrub once a week. Tend to your fingernails; if you love stylish nails, treat yourself to an occasional manicure, or paint them yourself. If you prefer clean nails, use a nail buffer and an orange stick to shine your nails and improve the appearance of your cuticles. Consider investing in one or two perfumes or colognes that you really love. Smelling good is sure to make you feel good, too!Though self-care can be challenging to engage in when you’re feeling blue, it’s almost always a time investment that’s worth making. Pay attention, however, to the way you’re feeling about your self-care practices. If you’re prone to depression, for instance, you may struggle with getting started, but ultimately discover that you enjoy your self-care practices once they’re underway. If, however, you dread engaging in a particular activity, it’s time to find something new! Not all grooming practices, for instance, will suit all individuals. Find what feels good to you, and stick with it!
Regularly Engage in Low-Stress Hobbies
In our daily lives, we often spend our time focusing on task-oriented activities. It can be mentally and spiritually rejuvenating to engage in enjoyable, low-stress hobbies. Set aside at least 10 to 15 minutes a day to do something you enjoy. Read a novel, do something artistic, listen to a few songs and dance around the house, take a walk, journal, or bake or cook for pleasure. If you have another favorite hobby, commit to practicing it daily. Be sure to focus on the joy of engaging in the activity, rather than concentrating on a “successful” or “productive” outcome. Doing so will allow you to truly relax.
Commit to Daily Structure & Routine
Though self-care shouldn’t feel like a chore, organizing and structuring your daily routine can help you stick to your self-care schedule. Without a routine, it’s easy to fall behind on sleep, neglect exercise, and put off pleasurable self-care activities until another day. Before you know it, you’ll likely find yourself spending your time in ways that are taking away from your sense of well-being, rather than contributing to it. Try to create a daily schedule for yourself that’s firm yet flexible. If you know that you thrive on eight hours of sleep and healthy, home-cooked foods, make sure to schedule adequate time for cooking and sleeping. Set aside blocks of time in the morning and evening for exercise, hobbies, and personal care. Make sure you retain some blocks of free time, too, for spending quality time with friends and family or simply relaxing on your own. By doing so, you can ensure that your own cup remains filled while also finding the time to spontaneously enjoy life.
Find a Form of Physical Activity You Enjoy
All of us know that we “should” be exercising and taking care of our bodies. Many of us will admit, however, that we don’t enjoy working out or going to the gym. Being active, however, benefits the body and mind in innumerable ways. Since staying active is an essential part of caring for yourself, it’s important to find a form of physical activity that’s enjoyable for you. Don’t feel like you need to be running marathons or lifting weights in order to be healthy. Instead, start by finding something enjoyable and simply committing to a regular practice. Do you enjoy being outside? Start walking or biking for 15 minutes each day. Do you want to focus on your mind-body connection? Consider learning more about yoga, qigong, or tai chi. Return to a sport you enjoyed as a kid, or try a beginner’s course at a local fitness studio or community college. Taking care of your body should ultimately be something that puts a smile on your face. Find something that works for you!
Eat Nourishing Foods & Stay Hydrated
As with exercise, a nutritious diet is essential to maintaining a calm mind and a healthy body. Many of us have a complicated relationship with food; it can be easy to slip into habits of eating foods with little nutritional value, as snacks packed with sugars, carbs, and fat can temporarily boost our moods. Swinging in the opposite direction and eating an extremely “clean” and regimented diet, however, is also dangerous. Instead, strive to eat nourishing, nutrient-dense foods that you enjoy. Consider taking the time to make a meal plan each week, filled with tasty and filling meals that also meet your macronutrient needs. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to allow yourself a few small treats throughout the week. If you love salty snacks, don’t feel guilty about enjoying a bag of chips or a fast food meal. Try to drink lots of water, and limit your consumption of sugary and alcoholic beverages. You know your body better than anyone, and you likely know how the foods you eat affect the way you feel. Pay attention to your body and your hunger cues and honor them accordingly. You’ll be glad that you did!
Take Care of Your Home
Don’t let the pictures in magazines fool you; nobody has a perfectly tidy, spotless home – at least not without the help of a cleaning service! Don’t feel pressured to conform to a minimalistic existence! Your home, however, should be comfortable, and should ideally feel like a sanctuary to you. If you’re stressed out by dirt and clutter, your mind will likely remain stressed and cluttered, too. Strive to create a manageable cleaning schedule. Commit to cleaning household surfaces regularly, and keep things orderly. Throw away papers and stay on top of dirty dishes, laundry, and other daily and weekly household tasks. By simply spending 10 or 15 minutes tidying your home each day, you can save yourself from the stress of exhaustive deep cleaning later on. Though no one loves doing chores, just think of household work as something you’re doing for your future self. Keeping your outer world in order will bring you inner peace.
Detox from Media
In the modern world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by impressions from both the mainstream media and the social media realm. Too much media can lead us to panic about politics, our health, and the state of our world. Too much time on facebook can lead to a comparison game, making us feel as though we’re never enough. Though most of us enjoy consuming media content and using social sites to stay in touch with friends and family, consider re-evaluating how much time you spend on these activities. Is the media you consume interesting or informative? Are the people and pages you follow online inspirational, or are they taking a toll on your self-esteem and general well-being? Try becoming more mindful of exactly how much time you’re spending on media consumption and how it affects you. Though not all of us are hooked on television and social media, many of us spend more time engaged with digital media than we’d care to admit. If you’re not feeling good about your media usage, consider planning a digital detox of sorts. Watch only your favorite shows and movies, and consider cutting back on the time you spend online each day. Unfollow people and pages that bring you down. Though it can be hard to break these habits, you’ll likely find that you feel better about yourself by doing so. You can use your rediscovered free time to invest in other self-care practices, too!
Perhaps the most challenging part of mastering self-care isn’t practicing it, but practicing it on a daily basis. No matter how busy your day is, you always find the time to eat, sleep, and take care of your personal hygiene. Try executing these daily tasks more mindfully. Protect your well-being by prioritizing all aspects of self-care, both essential and non-essential. If you’re short on time, simply schedule in 10-minute blocks of time for self-care. A few minutes of meditation before breakfast, a brisk walk after lunch, and a few minutes of reading at bedtime, for instance, can easily be integrated into anyone’s daily schedule.Stop neglecting yourself, and start making more time for self-care! Your body, mind, and soul will be grateful that you did.
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