“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort. “Deborah Day
Our physical, mental, and spiritual health are deeply connected and work together to create discontent or harmony in our lives. No matter how popular or fancy the term may sound, self care practices are important for our overall well-being. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a big wake-up call or a feeling of being burnt-out for us to notice the toll our lives have on us.
Finding the time to take proper care of ourselves can be tricky. But if you don’t, it won’t be long before exhaustion hits and you start to operate in a mental fog. To avoid this, it is important to take small and consistent steps in taking care of your mind, body and soul. Let me share with you some ways in which you can practice self care habits and how you can make them a priority. You can also find a free printable Self Care Bingo at the end to help you stay on track 😊.
WHAT IS SELF CARE
Self care in an essence is the time you take to pay attention to YOU. Not in a narcissistic way – but in a caring nature for yourself. Self care practices are necessary to remind yourself that your needs are important as well. Over time you will find your own rhythm and habits which form your self-care routine.
WHAT SELF CARE IS NOT
Self care practices do not include any activities which feel stressful or take anything away from you. Self care is also not a selfish practice. Taking care of yourself means you will have more to give to your loved ones.
SELF CARE IS NOT A ONE TIME THING
Self care practices are not something you do once and tick off the list. It is about practicing habits often and developing a rhythm that works for you. This can range from daily exercise to weekly meetings with friends, family or loved ones. It can also be taking 10 minutes a day to yourself to have some alone time. Create healthy habits that can fit in with your lifestyle and make a conscious effort to practice self care often.
SELF CARE IDEAS
1. Listen to an inspirational podcast
Podcasts can be funny, entertaining and educational. They can also be inspiring. Have a selection of podcast channels you genuinely enjoy listening to. This can be anything that is funny or informative. This year I have been listening to podcasts that educate me and open up my imagination. My absolute current favorite is listening to the Food For Thought podcast hosted by Rhiannon Lambert. I also love Deliciously Ella hosted by Ella and her husband Matthew Mills. The Health Code is also a fun and inspirational podcast to listen to by Sarah and her partner Kurt. Recently I have also been tuning into the Trainbrave Podcast by Rennee McGregor and Kriss Hendy as well. I love to listen to podcasts on my walk, it is one way in which I find joy and relaxation.
De-cluttering can become an important way to practice self-care because it helps you take control of your home, your space and your “stuff”. Having a de-cluttered space can bring you mental clarity. Every odd week I am looking to see how else I can clear my space. For me, this is a way of removing negative energy from my environment. Removing clutter doesn’t always mean ‘to get rid of’ items, it can be putting things in their place or where they belong. Essentially, this is like tidying up. For all other items like extra clothing, find a place where you can donate so that others can benefit from those items instead.
Most of us would agree that technology adds a lot of ease, convenience, entertainment and even happiness to our lives. But it is worth remembering that some distance can be a good thing too. I have been making it a daily habit to switch off my phone and shut down my lap top. Try and practice this for at least an hour a day to start off with. This will help free your mind from the constant updates and pings from social media and e-mails. In doing so you will become more focused on where you are and what you are doing. You will find that your mind will be clearer, your conversations deeper and your real world experiences richer.
We all know the many benefits of exercise. They range from improving our mood, building strength and endurance to reducing stress and diseases. Exercise can be a walk, a run, a class, bike ride, gym or yoga. Make physical movement a part of your daily life and set some small goals. I tend to make it a goal to walk daily and to spend time outdoors because this is what makes me happy. However setting this goal does not mean I achieve it all the time as not all days are the same. Whichever way you enjoy exercise, make it a goal to move daily.
Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health. I will admit, I prefer longer sleeps and function poorly on lack of sleep. Skimping on sleep can mess up more than just your morning mood. More information is now emerging to show the true importance of sleep for our physical and mental well-being. Sleep can help regulate our appetite, improve our concentration, immune system, heart health and so much more. Make sleep a priority because your mind and body will thank you for it.
6. Treat yourself
Treating yourself may sound like a self-indulgent strategy, but it is not. When we take care of the little things that make us feel good physically, we feel better emotionally. Make it a priority to get your hair done, have your nails done, get a massage, go shopping or enjoy a facial. This is most certainly an area that I need to work on. Something as simple as a hair cut can drastically improve my mood and give me that extra bit of confidence. When we pamper ourselves, we feel more energized and cared for.
7. Spend time in nature
Sounds cheesy, I know. But spending time outdoors can help lower our stress levels. It is also great for our brain, body, soul and our immune system. Create a habit where you go for walks outside, this way you are out in nature and exercising at the same time. Find time to spend at least one hour outside. It can be a hike, going to the beach, a forest or a park. Alternatively it can also be fun to sit outside and observe nature and your surroundings.
8. Practice being true to yourself
Being true to yourself means that you do not worry about pleasing other people. It means that you lead a life that fulfills your soul. Your goals and ambitions will never be the same as someone else. Work on a career that truly makes you happy. In your spare time also add activities that bring happiness and warmth to your heart. Recently, I have been trying new recipes, cuisines and trying to learn new things in the kitchen because this brings me a lot of joy and a sense of accomplishment. I enjoy being creative and cannot live my life without being creative in some way. Being self aware and doing things that truly please you is important so that you are living a happy and fulfilled life.
9. Coffee & Brunch
We are biologically hardwired to have relationships and connections. Having friends and loved ones prevents loneliness and gives you a chance to also offer needed companionship, too. All types of relationships can increase your sense of belonging and purpose. It can also help boost your happiness. Meet up with friends on a regular basis, even if it’s just for a quick catch-up. If you haven’t seen someone in a while, why not reach out and try to arrange a coffee meet up?
10. Take a road trip
It goes without saying – travel has so many benefits. One of the greatest rewards of travel is taking empowering steps in self-development. You can learn more about personal growth here. Plan a trip with your family or friends. Go for just a day or two. I have taken a few road trips with my brother this year and a more recent one with my partner. A deeper bond can happen when you spend time with people outside of comfort zones. You get to explore, experience, meet new people and get to know your friends, family or loved ones in a different way.
11. Creatively express yourself
Creativity in general is associated with positive emotions and well-being. We tend to feel more happy and energized when we engage in creative activities everyday. Try and incorporate more creativity into the week— take up cooking, sing, dance, draw, paint, or play music. It is an amazing feeling to create something that comes purely from YOU. My goal has been to be more creative and inventive in the kitchen. Anyone and everyone can benefit from introducing creativity into their daily lives.
HOW TO USE THESE SUGGESTIONS
You may find you do not identify with all of the above self care practice ideas I have shared and that is okay 😊! Pay attention to the ones that jump out at you. Some ideas may tug your attention more than others. Remember that with self care there is no rush, you set your own pace. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, as long as you keep going. Do as little or as much as is comfortable to you.
Be patient & consistent but don’t let a day go by without practicing an act of self-care ❤️.
Below you will find a free printable Self Care Bingo which can help you along the way.
I hope you have found some inspiration for self care practices here 😊. If you have any other suggestions on how you practice self care you can comment them below.