I see things online all the time about taking a self-care day. Most of what I have read makes self-care out to be a last resort. These days are for when you are feeling over-worked, under-rested, unmotivated, or for when life is just is a little more than you can handle. When it gets too hard, you can retreat for a day to get yourself back together, which is sometimes necessary, but I don’t think everyone has the opportunity to just spend an entire day on themselves. I mean, we all have responsibilities, right? I want to get down to why we need these days in the first place.
We absolutely should be taking care of ourselves, but we shouldn’t put it off until we are at the breaking point. Self-care should be a daily necessity. I’m not saying you won’t still have days when it all feels like too much, but if you take steps to keep your cup full, you won’t get to the point where you feel so empty.
What is self-care?
Self-care may seem like an obvious word, but taking care of yourself can come in so many different forms. I think the main aspects of health and happiness come from physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual needs. Most of these are intertwined, so working on one will help in other areas as well. You only get one body for your whole life, so you better take good care of it.
Exercise– Walk your dog, stretch before bed, dance to your favorite song, try a new workout routine, get busy with bae 😉 Yeah, I said it. Find something that will get you moving a few times a week.
Diet – Eat fruits and veggies & drink plenty of water. I think this is a serious challenge for a lot of us, so I recommend you meal plan and keep a water bottle with you.
Sleep– Actually get some. Seriously though, create a bedtime routine that is exactly the same every night and put down your phone.
Relax– Laugh a little, I heard it’s the best medicine. Or soak your bones in a hot bath. That doesn’t mean go out and buy bath bombs and bubbles (unless that’s your thing), just a tub and some water will do.
Stop comparing yourself to others– As much as I love social media, it has a tendency to make us feel inadequate. We have a direct line to the personal lives of other people, but I think we forget that people are only sharing what they want the world to see. You never know what someone else is going through. Mind your business and focus on you!
Let it go– Anger, regret, resentment, stress, it can all build up inside you and it gets pretty heavy carrying all that around. Recognize that pain, give yourself permission to be mad or upset, and then let it go. Don’t dwell on the past. This happens with the little things as much as the big ones. We all have days where something goes wrong and instead of enjoying all the positive things that could come from the day, we continue to focus on the few minutes that were bad.
Don’t waste your time lingering on the negatives.
Be thankful– Start a gratitude journal. Research shows that people who express what they are thankful for regularly tend to be happier and healthier. Happy people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of what they have.
Talk to someone– Sometimes we just need to vent about things or get another perspective, so if somethings bothering you, talk it out with a friend.
No negative self-talk– Stop talking down to yourself. It can be hard to recognize that we do this, but pay special attention to your thoughts throughout the day to see how many of them are negative. If you wouldn’t want someone to say it about a friend, don’t think it about yourself!
Positive affirmations– Positive affirmations are basically just a way to keep your focus on something that brings you motivation or allows you to reach your goals. It’s keeping a mantra or phrase in mind to push you through the hard stuff.
Show your skills– I think confidence is a great boost to emotional health, so do an activity you enjoy and that you do well.
Read– It doesn’t really matter if you’re escaping to a mythical universe or learning historical facts, reading generates creativity and increases knowledge.
Listen to a podcast– There are podcasts out there about everything, tune into one while you get other tasks done.
Watch a documentary– You don’t have to be into conspiracy theories to enjoy documentaries. There is so much information out there that can open your eyes to aspects of the world you have never even thought about, all from the comfort of your couch.
Take a class– The best way to learn something new is to take a class. There are lots of opportunities for free classes online or check to see if there are any skill-building seminars your local community.
Join a discussion– If you’re in need of some intellectual stimulation join a discussion thread about topics you enjoy. Please don’t go troll on social media. There are sites like Reddit and Quora specifically made to explore interesting topics. This can also build your critical thinking skills.
Call someone important to you– It’s easy to say we’re too busy to keep in touch, but if something or someone is actually important to you, make time! I feel so much more connected to my family and friends when I have regular conversations with them. I actually hate talking on the phone, but once a day I make it a point to call someone to see how their life is going.
Go to a class– Going to a class doesn’t have to be all about learning. I have seen event promotions for fun things like painting and wine. Find something you can enjoy doing with others and maybe meet some new friends while you’re at it.
Join a group– There are groups out there for everyone. Join a book club or find a weekly gaming group. Chances are if you enjoy a hobby, other people are doing it too!
Volunteer– Volunteering is a perfect way to connect with people who care about a similar cause and you can get all the good feels from knowing you are helping others in the process.
Pray– Rid yourself of worries and give praise for all the wonderful things in your life.
Meditate– Rest your mind and you will be surprised by how in touch you become with how you feel physically and emotionally.
Listen to uplifting music– Something about music can just make everything right in the world.
Get out in nature– Taking a walk out in nature to see all the wonderful things that make up this world will help you feel connected and possibly make your worries seem a little bit smaller.