The holidays are wrapping up and with so much focus on family, travel, and celebrations, it is likely that your need for self care is dire. It’s nice when we can take a vacation or a whole day to ourselves, but it’s important to incorporate a little daily self care into our bustling lives. We all need it, right?
Self care, meaning attending to your physical, mental, and emotional health, is necessary for our quality of life and for forming and maintaining healthy relationships. Daily self care has to be simple, then accessible, and above all, enjoyable.
We’ve pooled together this list of ideas for self care, but make sure to find things that you love. If you want to be a long-distance runner but kind of hate running, then that isn’t self care–at least not yet. Baby steps toward a goal can become a form of self care because of how great it feels to accomplish something. (See #16). The end result should be a mixture of relaxation, a sense of accomplishment, and a stronger sense of your unique presence. You should breathe deeper, smile, belly laugh.
18 Ways to Self Care in 2016
- Mix it up. Turn off the TV or social media or gaming for a day and do something different. Wake up earlier than normal and go grab coffee or breakfast. Make dinner plans with a friend. Do something different.
- Get outside. Sunshine and fresh air are natural healers.
- Read a book or magazine. You know the one that sat on your coffee table all year? It’s time.
- Journal. Writing about what is on your mind or the emotions you’ve felt can be extremely cathartic.
- Take a de-stress bath. Epsom salts, essential oils, and either reading material or good tunes can relax and revive you at the same time.
- Massage Therapy. Book a massage for yourself. If you can, give yourself some free time before and after.
- Road trip. Personal preference really drives this one (ahem), as a road trip is stressful for some people but counts as self care for others.
- Non-traditional therapies like art therapy, trauma-informed yoga, and animal therapy can equip us to cope with depression or trauma. Know yourself; know when to ask for help. (And know asking for help is respectable.) This post has a fuller list of non-traditional PTSD Recovery Methods.
- Color. Adult coloring books are everywhere now, in case you haven’t noticed, as a trendy form of self care. There are probably a hundred different versions and subjects, so find one you like and color on, people.
- Pinterest time! If you aren’t for the coloring but have a crafty or DIY gene, following through with a Pinterest project can be a valuable and productive me-time.
- Help someone. If you’re in your own head too much, this is a benevolent way to get out of it!
- Move. Take your precious body and move it around in a way that is fun to you. Walk, run, swim, swing, dance, garden, throw a disc. Stretch. Do 5 half sun salutations. Just move around somehow, some way.
- Meditate. Don’t be intimidated by what you think this should look like. You could look up a simple mantra (word or phrase to repeat) or set a timer for 5 minutes and follow this mini-meditation breathing guide:
- Take a nap. 10-20 minutes for a good catnap can revive you when you don’t have much time.
- Revisit a hobby you haven’t had time for in awhile.
- Knock out a nagging to-do. When a task hangs over my head for weeks or months, it is stressing me out even when I’m not thinking about it. Sometimes self care can mean relieving a stressor.
- Get rid of clutter. Clean out the junk drawer or get rid of the old bookshelf you’ve been meaning to fix for a year. While you clean out the physical clutter, consider what mental clutter you can toss out. An old wound? A feeling that you can’t do something that you want desperately to do? An unrealistic expectation? In the now infamous words of Elsa, let it go.
18. Affirm yourself. This can be so hard for us to do, but it’s is a simple and quick way to improve our self-esteem or set out our goals in an intentional way.
We don’t all have time for copious leisure activities, but spending five minutes–or ten or twenty–can be more refreshing than you might think. In 2016, I dare you to self care!