11 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care

In today’s busy world, when everyone wants something from us, it’s hard to remember that we need to take care of ourselves first in order to give the best to those around us. Always being focused on goals and achievements, and all of the things you need to accomplish for everyone else is a one way street to exhaustion and burnout.

I know when work is crazy and life is crazy, I start feeling terrible – stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed. That’s no way to go through life, and I made a promise to myself that I would start doing something to take care of myself. But what? Who has time for all-day shopping trips or spa days or vacations when you’re in the middle of a crisis? I can barely remember to shower on those days.

Lately, the idea of self-care has taken hold and become a buzz word that means different things to different people. At its core, self-care helps us remember to take care of ourselves and that sometimes doing the simplest things can be great ways of taking care of ourselves. The best way to ease into self-care is to do small things every day, rather than big things only once in a while. That way we don’t run the risk of running out of time or forgetting, and we teach ourselves and others that taking care of ourselves is a priority. And sometimes, self care is doing something that’s good for us, even though we don’t want to – like going for a walk or eating a salad.

But how do you fit in self care when you’re taking care of kids, working a full time job and taking care of a house? Here are 11 easy ways you can take care of yourself but still have time for everything else.

 

  1. Take a different route to work. Mixing up your routine in small ways creates new neural pathways in the brain to keep it healthy. I know I end up zoning out on my morning and afternoon commutes because I’ve driven that route so often it’s become habit. Taking a different street forces me to be present and aware, and shakes me out of that complacency. Different scenery can make a huge difference.
  2. Take time for a mini-meditation. Stepping away from your desk, or just closing your eyes and performing a one minute meditation where you focus on being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations can make a huge difference in bringing down stress levels and just being aware of your emotions often helps resolve them.
  3. Take a couple of deep breaths. I know when I get busy and stressed, my breathing goes shallow and sometimes I even forget to breathe all together. Focusing on deep breathing for 60 seconds forces me to slow down and refocus, and getting that extra oxygen makes a huge difference in how I feel.
  4. Unplug for an hour. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself from the constant bings of social media and email. It’s amazing how much stress being on those sites can cause. Taking a short break and stepping away is a great way to take care of yourself.
  5. Take a walk or run outside. Getting some fresh air and sunshine is good for both the body and soul.
  6. Take a hot shower and moisturize your body. The warmth and sensation of  warm water, followed by your own touch can activate your self-soothing system and is a great way to care for yourself.
  7. Have a self-date. Spend an hour alone doing something that nourishes you (reading, your favorite hobby, visiting a museum or gallery, a nature walk, etc.). Being alone and taking time to do something you love can soothe your soul and recharge you.
  8. Take a relaxing moment. Take ten minutes, light a candle and drink a mug of tea, while staring out the window. Doing absolutely nothing frees up brainwaves to think of things differently and look at life from a different way.
  9. Wear clothing that is soft and feels good next to your skin. People often underestimate the sensory details of their lives. Wearing something comfortable and soft rather than stiff or scratchy can be a great way to practice self-care throughout the day. I’ve moved most of my  business wardrobe to knits and ponte where I can. There are lots of good options out there now that look professional and are comfortable.
  10. Cuddle with someone you love. This could be a kid, a partner, a pet, even a pillow. The act of physical touch can make a world of difference in de-stressing and feeling more grounded. Make the contact at least 60 seconds if you can, to help your body release those feel-good chemicals.
  11. Eat your vegetables. Eating well can make a world of difference in how you feel. Self-care isn’t always indulging, sometimes it can mean cutting back on the sugary, high fat comfort food you think is helping. There have been several studies on how much food affects mood and eating nutritious, whole foods can help both mentally and physically.

What are some other things you do for self-care to help take care of yourself during stressful times?

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