In order to live a healthy and happy life you need to put yourself first. Self care is not selfish or inconsiderate. The way that I understand it today is that if I don’t love myself to take care of myself, then how can I be of maximum service to anyone else in my life? Self care is something to practice, not something to perfect. It may sound inaccurate, but the truth is that many people, including myself, struggle to take out the needed time for self care. Love yourself and treat yourself in the same way you would show up for the ones you love.
Self care can show up in many different ways in your life. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend an hour getting a massage, although I’m sure that sounds nice. Self care can be habitual practices like eating healthy and sleeping well. Self care can mean positive self talk and spending the needed time outdoors. Check out this list to help stir your mind for self care ideas.
This is my favorite way to self care. Turn of your cell phone. Turn off your computer. Turn off the television. Sometimes when I am in the midst of stressful and overwhelming times, I start to feel scattered and unable to keep up with life. The best remedy that I have found for that overwhelming feeling is to disconnect for a short period of time. This has helped me to quiet the noise and the demands of society just enough to get me back on track at my own pace.
2. Work out
If you are like me, then you hate it when people recommend working out as a solution. I’m sorry to be the person on the other end, but also if you are like me, then you always feel better after you work out. Sometimes the most helpful thing for me is the last thing that I want to do. Exercise is a well known self care practice that is good for both your mind and your body. When I am in a regular work out routine, I feel better in and out without question.
3. Draw, doodle, paint
Whether you consider yourself and artist or not, a great self care technique is the practice of creating visual art. In the process of creating, you are stimulating your mind and your senses by honing in on one thing, which essentially quiets the rest of the noise in your mind. I believe that everyone is an artist innately. Mindful activities like painting, drawing, and coloring are great ways to ease your mind and often bring forth the sense of satisfaction when you are done.
4. Write a love letter to yourself
I have done this in many different ways throughout my life. I have written a love letter to myself in general, which basically turns out as a list of things I love about myself combined with gratitude. I have written a love letter to my body, to my inner child, to the angry side of me, the happy side of me, sad side of me, you name it. I have experienced some profound shifts as I write love letters to the parts of myself that I struggle with the most. It is a cool way to see a different perspective on you without having to go to another person.
5. Create positive cards/sticky notes/memos
I am a big fan of positive affirmations. Sometimes it is nice to have a simple reminder that “the only way out of a feeling is through it,” or that “I am enough.” Sit down one afternoon and write out some cards that pertain to you and your needs as an individual. Ignore the need to be humble for this exercise, the idea is to love yourself and to remind yourself to be the best that you can be. When you are having a hard day having these cards scattered around serve as a helpful reminder to love you for you.
6. Say no when you need to
Understanding that it is okay to say no is one of the best lessons that I have ever learned. Saying no is such an important aspect to self care. Practice it in small scenarios if you struggle like I did with saying no to people. I no longer feel like I have to bend over backwards to please everyone else because I have learned that I am important too. I am allowed to decline a request. Listen to your heart for the answer to a decision, it will come if you wait for it.
7. Play some music loudly
I love the moments when I am alone and can turn the music on loud. Sometimes that is accompanied by singing and dancing, other times it is accompanied by cleaning. Music is an amazing self care tool because it has a way of changing moods and allowing you to feel through the music being played. Dancing releases endorphins and singing is said to be an expression of the heart. The three combined is a great way to help you practice self care.
8. Call a friend
There is a catch to this one. Call a friend and ask them how their day is going. Don’t mention you and when they ask continue to deflect back to them. This may seem contradictory to self care, but it is a practice of getting out of self. Sometimes the main reason for being in a funk is getting caught in your own head. At times self care involves caring for others too.
Meditating is one of the most beneficial self care practices that you can do for yourself. I meditate for a relatively short amount of time each day. Some days I need more than that and some days I forget to meditate entirely, but when I sit for a few minutes, my entire day changes in a positive direction. Burn some incense and quiet your mind. It is always amazing to me how freeing this experience is.
Taking good care of myself is number one on my priority list. It simply has to be, otherwise I can’t be of any use to anyone else. That does not mean I do any of this perfectly, in fact I am far from perfect self care practice. However, I am consistent with trying to move forward towards a better relationship with myself. Self care teaches you how to love yourself and everyone needs to love themselves before they can love externally.