Life is not always easy.
Every day, people struggle to find a balance between work, family obligations, hobbies and more. It’s not uncommon to be wrapped up in trying to get everything done that we forget to take care of the most important thing of all: ourselves. Self-care is not a new concept, in fact, people have been practicing self-care for centuries. Recently self-care has found its way into the news as more people realize how important it is to take some time to make sure your needs are being met.
When you practice self-care, you do things that take care of our physical, mental and emotional needs. The ways in which you do self-care vary from person to person. What works best for someone else may not work best for you, so it is important to keep an open mind and an ongoing commitment to self-care.
I have a self-care list (I call it my Sweetness Menu) that I created for myself. This is a list of things I love to do for myself such as:
- read a good book
- make my favourite cup of tea
- call a friend
This list sits on my fridge as a reminder to do things for myself on a regular basis!
Practicing self-care helps you to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. Taking time to do the things that make you, you is important to living a healthy and balanced life as we often give so much of ourselves to others. As a worker, friend or parent it can be hard to find that balance between living up to our expectations and obligations and doing things for ourselves. You will find that if you make time to practice self-care, your happiness and health will be dramatically improved.
Here are some other ideas about the many different activities available to help with your self-care needs. Keep reading to learn about practicing self-care through relaxation, productivity, physical, and other important types of activities.
1. Relaxation Activities
Meditation is a great relaxation tool and can be done in as little as five minutes or can last as long as you want. If you have access to a quiet space, you can practice meditation – you can sit on a chair or the floor in a quiet room. You can close your eyes if you wish, or just softly look down. Practice taking in deep breaths and slowly letting them out. You can put on some calming music if you like.
There are many free apps and websites devoted to meditation coaching, so if you have never tried meditation before you do not need to be intimidated.
There are also several health benefits to meditation, including reduced blood pressure and stress relief. Meditation is great for mental health and a perfect place to start for a night of self-care.
Here’s a couple of meditation apps:
Practicing mindfulness simply means that you are aware of what is going on around you, and you are fully present in the moment. You aren’t being distracted by your phone, tv, computer or lost in thought. Being mindful means that you are giving yourself to the present moment. You can practice mindfulness anywhere! You can practice while washing the dishes, taking a walk or just sitting quietly in your room.
Being mindful has so many mental health benefits such as relieving stress, increasing memory and focus and overall improved cognitive function. It allows you take a few minutes just to yourself, to just be. Practicing mindfulness regularly can lead to improved mental health and can be a very impactful self-care tool.
Soak in the Tub
Taking a bath allows you to have a few minutes of time alone to unwind. A hot shower right before bed can also be a great alternative if you are pressed for time but still want the same benefits.
Diffusing some essential oils or even adding a few drops of lavender oil directly to your bath water can help ease your nerves and create a very soothing bath. There are several essential oils you can use to help create a very calming environment such as, lemon, orange, bergamot, or peppermint.
Create a playlist of songs that make you feel happy and play that while you are soaking, or play some soft piano music. Do what feels best for you so that you can achieve maximum relaxation while taking your shower or bath.
Moving your body so that you can truly benefit from the exercise. Don’t forget that movement has a host of health benefits, including:
- Releasing endorphins to make you happy
- Providing you with more energy throughout the day
- Giving you an activity to do outdoors, where you get vitamin D
Here are some physical activities that can be great for self-care.
Relaxing is key to keeping a healthy mind, but another component to self-care is taking care of your body. You’ve probably been told that yoga is good for you ad nauseam. Yoga really does have amazing health benefits that you can achieve by practicing a few times a week. Increased flexibility and strength are two things that you can achieve with yoga. Not only is yoga good for your body, but its practice helps you relax and can help alleviate stress.
If you have never done yoga before you can find guidance online at a number of different blogs and websites.
Yoga with Adriene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBu-pQG6sTY
Yoga Burn https://yoga-burn.net/
Yoga is a practice that is for everyone, regardless of skill level or ability so there’s no need to be intimidated. You can also got to a yoga studio near you where you’ll benefit from the social interaction and professional instruction.
Walking & Biking
Taking a walk can actually be quite a peaceful exercise that has numerous benefits for your body. If you’ve had a stressful day at work and need to clear your head, throw on your running shoes and headphones and head outside for a walk. Walking for even 20 minutes gives you time to decompress while getting some decent exercise along the way. For me I find walking in nature very calming and grounding.
If you have a bike, going for a leisurely bike ride is a great way to exercise. Biking nature trails near your home gives you an opportunity to explore places you’ve never been before. Biking is another activity that can easily be done solo or with a group.
3. Creative Activities
One thing many people forget when it comes to self-care is that it isn’t always about relaxing activities like taking a bath or trying to get better sleep. There are also a lot of creative activities that can benefit you greatly.
With more creative activities, you are reaching deep into your artistic nature and allowing it to shine. From colouring in adult colouring books to learning a new hobby, creative activities might surprise you with how therapeutic they become.
Here is a list of some creative activities to start with for your self-care.
Sometimes it won’t be possible to leave the house, but that is no excuse for not practicing self-care. There are an unlimited number of activities that you can do at home when you need some “me time.” Colouring is one such activity. Adult colouring books have exploded in popularity in recent years, and with good reason.
There are many styles of adult colouring books you can buy and I love having all kids of colouring pencils and markers to choose from. You can also get some colouring pages online such as https://bit.ly/2JCM6Us.
Not only can colouring help you with self-care and to have a quiet activity that you can do anywhere, but it can also be wonderful for relieving stress and anxiety.
Painting is a similar activity but offers more creative freedom than colouring a pre-drawn picture. Painting allows you to explore your creative boundaries and can be a very relaxing way to pass the time. Look up some pictures online of beach scenes, tropical rainforests, mountains or other landscape scenery for inspiration.
The possibilities are truly endless. If you’ve never painted before, you can watch any number of educational videos on the internet to help you get started with basic techniques. You could even take a painting class, or go to a paint and wine evening (these are all the rage now!).
4. Social Activities
Another type of self-care activity that may surprise you is that there are some situations where being more social can help. While self-care is more about taking care of yourself, that doesn’t always mean doing it alone. Sometimes, what you need is to spend time with others.
In some cases, this means spending quality time with your friends or family, while in others, it is about getting out of your comfort zone to meet new people.
Here are some social activities to consider for self-care:
- Take a Class
- Join a Running Club or Sports League
5. Productive Activities
The final category of the self-care activities is with your productive activities. Believe it or not, there are some activities that are more about getting things done, but can help tremendously with how you feel. When you have less stress and things more prepared, it really helps to feel better and like you have things under control.
Take a look at these productive activities to get involved in:
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
- Put the Phone Down – even for just an hour or two!
- Get More Sleep – stay tuned for my next blog about sleep
It seems as if there are never enough hours in the day, but it is so important to make a conscious decision to practice self-care. Taking care of your mind, body and emotional needs will help you be able to live your best life. You are your best advocate; if you are not taking care of yourself it is easy to get burned out by all of life’s demands. Taking even just 15 minutes a day for yourself to regroup and relax can have a profound impact on your well-being. Self-care begins and ends with you!
When we fuel our mind, body and soul, magic happens!
Your Health Coach,