Taking care of yourself seems like a big task. You might not know how to start caring about yourself because it seems overwhelming. The truth is, self-care isn’t a task at all. It’s something that can make you happy and increase the quality of your life. There are a lot of ways to treat yourself well. We’re going to give you some tips and advice about how other people do it. Surely, you’ll find something that works for you too.
Everything else can be put on hold but not taking care of your health. Managing mental, physical, and emotional health is crucial to leading a happy life. From setting healthy boundaries to keeping yourself in good shape, you need to prioritize your wellbeing. You can’t help others to the fullest either if you’re neglecting yourself. Start caring about yourself today, so you’ll have a bright future full of generosity activities to look forward to.
The beginning of the day can pretty much determine its outcome. To kickstart your day try:
- Meditation. A short 5-10 meditation can go a long day. It helps you visualize positive things in your life and minimize negativity. Meditation gives you the energy boost you need to tackle the day in front of you.
- Morning yoga. Doing yoga in the mornings along with meditation will make your body energized. You’ll wake up easily without needing coffee! Yoga alone will lift your mood.
- Having a morning ritual. Take the time to enjoy waking up slowly. Sit on the terrace and enjoy a cup of tea (or coffee if you must). If you live in a house and have a backyard, even better. Get some fresh air into your lungs.
What is actually self-care?
This word became popular lately. Everybody keeps talking about self-care methods and offering advice but what does self-care actually mean? It’s actually pretty simple. Everything you do that preserves or improves your health is considered self-care.
Self-care choices can range from eating and sleeping right to exercising regularly (with necessary breaks). Taking care of your body and your mind, especially in stressful periods, is crucial for leading a healthy and happy life.
The most important thing in the process of self-care is being gentle with yourself. The result is learning to love yourself with all your strengths and weaknesses.
Self-care is not a chore
This isn’t one more task on your to-do list. Face it – the list is already long enough. Even though self-care is a priority, don’t treat it like a dreadful chore. You’re not “supposed” to care about your wellbeing, you want to, right?
All the “shoulds” become pretty stressful and the whole point of self-care is reducing stress in your life. Cut all the “shoulds”, so you can finally start to feel better (and guilt-free). If you want to know how to practice self-care, start with making it something you actively choose to do, something fun and enjoyable.
Focus on mental health
As we said, be gentle and kind towards yourself. Forget about self-doubt and insecurity and start talking to yourself about positive things. Even if you don’t mean it, say something good about yourself and to yourself. You can even write it if you think it’s easier. Make this a part of your daily self-care routine. We identify with the things we say. If you give yourself positive statements, you’ll start to believe them. Encouragement and affirmation go a long way to make us feel good.
Reframe your thoughts. Instead of saying “I can’t do this, it’s too hard”, try saying something like “The most important thing is trying even if it’s hard”. It can take a long time to stop talking negatively about yourself, so be patient. Give yourself time and take baby steps. You’ll eventually learn how to reframe your thoughts and look for the silver lining.
When we only consider the skills we don’t have, we forget about those skills we mastered. In difficult times, remember those things you already conquered. Nothing was out of your reach. Think about all the exams you’ve passed, successful job interviews, complicated puzzles you’ve solved – anything at all. Be proud of it and congratulate yourself! If you’ve done all of that, you can do so much more.
Do the things you enjoy
You have so little time on your hands, so spend it doing the things you love. Commit to the activities that bring you joy. That can be listening to music, dancing, doing yoga, and many other things. Find something you enjoy and don’t let it go.
If you love making gourmet treats, what’s stopping you? Make a nice healthy meal and invite your friends to a fabulous dinner party.
If you’re a book nerd, why do you feel guilty for diving in another novel? Let yourself dream and be happy. You’ll have even more time to read if you stop endless scroll through the stressful newsfeed.
If you love video games, why do you care if people judge you? Games are not only for kids and teenagers. After all, there are so many game genres and nobody can claim that only certain types of people can play.
Setting healthy boundaries is crucial for preserving your mental health. It’s not easy to learn how to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally but setting the limits is a good start. A boundary can be established between you and another person, or you can set it up to protect your “me time” from yourself. We often sacrifice our self-care time to do other things. It’s time to stop with this and put yourself as a priority.
Some ways to establish needed boundaries are:
- Turning off your phone, so notifications don’t bother you. You don’t have to be available all the time.
- Tell your friends that you’ve got things planned. (Yes, you can plan to have the time for yourself.)
- Leave work in the office. Don’t check e-mails and don’t bring the work home. You’ve done your 8 hours for the day. Everything else is overtime (and should be acknowledged as such).
The most important thing about setting healthy boundaries is learning to say “no”. Don’t feel obligated to do something you don’t want. When someone asks you for a favor, check your calendar (and your gut) to see if you should do it. You have the right to reject any invitation, favor, etc. Nobody can hold it against you as long as you’re polite about it.
Reduce stress in your life
We all have stressful things that we can’t cut out of our lives. However, there are lots of ways to reduce the amount of stress. You can try something simple like meditation. If that doesn’t work, book a spa weekend. Just imagine the relaxation you’ll get from massages, baths, steam rooms, etc. If the money is the issue, get a little creative, and make a home spa.
You can’t always escape stressful situations but there are some things you can control. For example, you probably can’t quit your stressful job. However, you can set boundaries we talked about to prevent the job interfering with every aspect of your life.
A lot of strategies for self-care revolve around collecting your thoughts. For example, journaling gives you the needed time to check in on yourself. Write about your thoughts, feelings, or frustrations. Writing has therapeutic effects, so make sure to always have a notebook prepared.
Spending time with your friends is very important for your mental and emotional health. Having a strong support network made of people you trust can help you through difficult times in your life. Besides, if you enjoy someone’s company, you’ll have fun which will make you feel good.
Try to find time in your busy schedule for each other. You can call or text, but meeting up in person is important too. You can have a quick coffee on your lunch break or just go for a walk in the park. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Caring about your physical health
If you want to take better care of yourself, exercise is always a good choice. Keeping your body in shape will help you both physically and mentally. We know it gets difficult to start but there are a lot of ways you can motivate yourself. When you start the endorphins will kick in and you’ll feel amazing!
You don’t need to push yourself over the limits. Exercising 3 times a week is just enough. You don’t have to go through exhausting repetitive workouts. Instead, do something you enjoy, or try a new activity. Jogging, cycling, and swimming are excellent outdoor activities. For ideas about indoor workouts, browse the internet for inspiration. You can find various videos about dance workouts, Zumba, Kickbox aerobic, HIIT workouts, and so much more.
Catch up on your sleep
If you don’t know how to take care of yourself physically, start with getting enough sleep. We often underestimate the amount of sleep necessary for our wellbeing. Coffee alone can’t help you if you lack sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours if you can, but make sure you don’t sleep for less than 6 hours. When you’re rested you can tackle new challenges with ease.
Keep your room dark and cool for a higher quality of sleep. If you can, try to cut screen time for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. You’re also more likely to fall asleep faster if you get rid of distractions in your bedroom like television and laptops.
It is said so many times that it became cliché advice. However, water does help your body immensely. Drinking enough water helps your organs run more efficiently which results in you being more energized. If you’re like us and often forget about water intake, consider downloading a water tracking app. It’ll do wonders for you.
Spa and relaxation
Spa treatments won’t just help you reduce stress. They’ll be amazing for your body too. Pamper yourself a bit with hair masks, face masks, manicure, baths, massages, and anything else you can think of. Men enjoy baths too, so don’t be afraid to do something special for yourself (or your partner) once in a while.
Have a break
You need it and you deserve it, so take a break! Put your responsibilities on hold and take a self-care trip. You’re allowed to have a weekend getaway to disconnect and relax for a while. These small trips don’t have to be hard on your budget. Drive to the nearest town and go sightseeing or explore the nature nearby. How long ago was your last camping trip?
Spending time outside can help you reduce stress. You catch fresh air and feel so much better. It is also known that spending time in nature helps you lower your blood pressure and reduce fatigue while also relieving some symptoms of depression.
Ask for help when you need it
Asking for help is crucial because sometimes we can’t overcome problems alone. If your emotion and mental health are jeopardized and you can’t get out of bed or enjoy the things you used to love, try scheduling a therapy session.
The most difficult part is taking that first step. You can consult with your friends and family to seek their advice on the matter. There are also SOS phones you can call when you’re feeling down. Others are experiencing a lot of similar stuff like you, so you’re not alone in this. Help is reachable and we strongly encourage asking for it.
We hope that these self-care tips helped you learn how to start caring about yourself. Remember that the most important thing is putting your health as a priority. When you do this, everything else becomes much easier.
It’s hard to be productive and to nurture your health when you’re feeling down. We talked about this topic in the article How to get motivated to study when you’re depressed, so be sure to check it out to learn more.
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